What is a specific quote from Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama?

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Barack Obama wrote the book when he had been elected to the US Senate. While he found it important to appreciate the legacy of his Kenyan ancestry, more specifically he wrote it to improve his understanding of his father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., who died when the future president was 21 years old. His aunt called to tell him that his father had been killed in an automobile accident. His parents had separated when he was only two, the elder Barack had moved back to his native Kenya, and after their divorce his mother remarried. The young Barack’s memories were concentrated around his father’s visit to Hawaii when he was in fifth grade. Those memories were fuzzy, and often he doubted them:

[W]hen I reach back into my memory for the words of my father, … they seem irretrievably lost. Perhaps they’re imprinted too deeply, his voice the seed of all sorts of tangled arguments that I carry on with myself, as impenetrable now as the pattern of my genes, so that all I can perceive is the worn-out shell.

Living in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather and then in Hawaii with his mother and her parents, as a child Barack developed his own unique understanding of race. It was not only different from what might have learned on the US mainland but was shaped by the fact that his mother was white, as were all her relatives and ancestors. As he grew older, his high school friends were black, and he learned to negotiate a single identity within what he saw as two worlds:

I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds, understanding that each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning, convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds would eventually cohere.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on September 24, 2019
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Here are a list of quotes from the book with a short explanation following each:

"I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites."

Obama is discussing his growing understanding of racial divisions in this country.  Although he is of mixed race, his appearance is African-American.  Therefore, he begins in adolescent to feel that he must ally himself with this group and separate himself from whites.

"It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names."

This quote reinforces the pressure Obama was feeling to choose between races.  With social pressure, there was a need to "pick a side" in the racial game.

"I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Dubois and Mandela."

In this quote, we see Obama moving beyond his adolescent fears and perceptions.  As an adult, he has learned that loyalty is not about the racial divide, but about character.  He has also learned that role models should be chosen for their race, but rather for their personal characteristics.

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