Obama’s grandparentsOctober 23, 2008 at 11:17 am | Posted in Barack Obama, U.S. Politics | Leave a comment
You will have heard by now that Madelyn Dunham, Barack Obama’s maternal grandmother and a woman he describes as a huge influence on his life, is gravely ill and may not make it through to November 4th. Here, Ta-Nehisi Coates pens a beautiful tribute:
I was looking at this picture of Obama’s grandparents and thinking how much he looks like his grandfather. And suddenly, for whatever reason, I was struck by the fact that they had made the decision to love their daughter, no matter what, and love their grandson, no matter what. I’d bet money that they never even thought of themselves as courageous, that they didn’t give much thought to the broader struggles in the the world at the time. They were just doing what right, honorable people do. But the fact is that, in the 60s, you could be disowned for falling in love with a black woman or black man. There is a reason why we have a long history of publicly biracial black people, but not so much of publicly biracial white people.
We often give a pass to racists by noting that they were “of their times.” Fair enough, and I know Hawaii was a different beast, but still, today, let us speak of people who were ahead of their times, who were outside of their times. Let us remember that Barack Obama learned the great lessons of life from courageous white people. Let us speak of those who do what normal, right people should always do when faced with a child–commit an act love. Here’s to doing the right thing.
Read the rest here.