In Dreams from My Father, what difficulties does Obama describe having as a child?

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When Obama lived in Indonesia as a young child, he encountered the problem of trying to understand the violence and tragedy that he saw and heard around him. For example, he saw a man with a hole where his nose used to be come to his mother's door to ask for food. He also heard about the death of his friend's little brother and saw the despair of poor farmers waiting for the rains to arrive. He also witnessed an endless tide of beggars arriving at his door asking for help. 

Later, he came across a photo in Life magazine of a black man who attempted to peel off his skin. Obama described this moment as an "ambush attack" (page 51), as he never before realized the power of bigotry. Obama wondered if there were something wrong with himself, as he looked like the man in the photo. He also wondered if the people around him were delusional, because they didn't point out anything different about his looks.

When he attended Punahou, an elite private school in Hawaii, he felt isolated because he was one of very few black kids at the school. He spent his teenage years trying to figure out how to be a black man in America, as his father lived far away in Kenya and none of his white family members could guide him in this regard. He even found that his grandmother was afraid of black men, as much as she loved him, and this caused him a great deal of pain. His identity as a multiracial person caused him a great deal of distress in his youth because he felt isolated and unable to reconcile the black and white worlds he belonged to in Hawaii.

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In Dreams from My FatherBarack Obama describes the difficulties of not fitting in with others and being a social outcast as a child because of his racial identity.

The difficulties that Obama experienced as a child because of race are documented in different portions of his narrative.  One such moment is when he was a ten year-old new student.  The homeroom teacher, Mrs. Hefty, spoke glowingly about "Barry's" Kenyan heritage in front of the other students. Obama communicates the difficulties of being different from others when she asks him about his tribal affiliation:

Her question brought on more giggles, and I remained speechless for a moment. When I finally said 'Luo,' a sandy-haired boy behind me repeated the word in a loud hoot, like the sound of a monkey. The children could no longer contain themselves, and it took a stern reprimand from Miss Hefty before the class would settle down and we could mercifully move on to the next person on the list. 

Obama's difficulties in fitting in with the other children are due to his racial identity.  When the other children "could no longer contain themselves" from laughing at him being African, he felt like a social outcast.  He describes how he was "in a daze" for the rest of that day. Children asked to feel his hair, as if he were a pet, while another child asked if his father "ate people."  When Obama goes home after that first day, he cannot answer his grandfather as to how his day went.  He simply closes the door to his room, knowing that he does not fit in with white children.  The personal and emotional details that Obama employs to describe this experience communicate his difficulties in being "different" than the cultural majority.

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