I finished Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In my latest reading, Obama talked about introducing Michelle to his family----on both his father's side (in Africa) and his mother's side (in the U.S.). Barack's white grandfather thought that Michelle was quite a looker, and his white grandmother considered her to be a woman with good sense!
What I want to focus on in
this post, however, is a discussion that Barack had with Dr. Rukia
Odero, a friend of his father and a former teacher of his half-sister
Auma. In my last post, I talked about Obama getting in touch with his
African roots and the catharsis that was for him. In my latest reading,
Dr. Rukia mentions another side to that. She says that many young
African-Americans romanticize Africa, when----in her younger
years----she and others tended to think that the answers were in
America, as people sought inspiration in Harlem, Chicago, Langston
Hughes, James Baldwin, and the Kennedys. She says that
African-Americans come to Africa looking for authenticity, but they are
disappointed because there is no purely African culture. Kenyans like
tea, but this was a habit that they got from the English, and their
spices for the fish meal that she and Obama were eating came from India
or Indonesia. Moreover, while you'd think from the fish-meal that the
Luo ate fish, that wasn't the case for all Luo, and it wasn't always
true because the Luo were pastoralists before they settled by the lake.
In short, the culture is in flux, and it has been subjected to foreign
Moreover, Dr. Odero says that colonialism made many
black Kenyans defensive about preserving their African culture, when, as
far as Dr. Odero is concerned, there are elements of Kenyan culture
that should probably go, such as polygamy and collective ownership of
land, which have been abused.
I'm not sure what to say about
these points, but I found them to be interesting. Overall, this was an
excellent book to read, and I can see why it gained the renown that it
Was Jesus a pacifist?
2 hours ago