January 8, 2008

I've uncovered the identity of Obama's estranged half-brother

Perhaps the most poignant and telling episode in Barack Obama's 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, is the story of his first and last meetings in Kenya two decades ago with his doppelganger, his half-white half-brother Mark, who was then a physics student at Stanford.

As any of the handful of people who have read all 442 superbly-written but humorlessly obsessive pages of Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance" can attest, extended family is central to the would-be President's psychology. Moreover, Obama has encouraged voters (for example, in the opening of his famous keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convetion) to make up fantasies about how his complex family background means that Obama holds whatever views on race that they do. Thus, we constantly hear all the chatter about how Obama "transcends race."

In reality, it is Mark who "transcends race," and Obama rejects him for doing so.

Like Obama, Mark is also a son of Barack Obama Sr. and a white American woman. But, as the excerpt from Obama's memoir below shows, Mark's realism, well-adjusted response to being of mixed racial background, and lack of ethnocentrism disturbed Obama because, while Mark looks much like him, Mark's values are different. After their lunch in Nairobi in the late 1980s, Obama cut off ties with Mark.

I've now figured out who Mark is. Here's his picture, with his eyes blanked out to preserve his privacy. [I've now taken his picture down -- enough people have seen it to know I have it, but leaving it up much longer would just allow somebody enterprising to try to track him down.] He has had a long career in high technology and other industry. He lives and works abroad, neither in America nor in Africa. I'm not going to reveal his surname. It's not "Obama." And I'm not going to tell you how I found him.

There's no evidence on the Internet that Mark has ever attempted to boost his career by calling attention to the fact that he's the half-brother of a potential President of the United States. This is in sharp contrast to Billy Carter (Billy Beer and a dubious loan from Col. Gadaffi) and Donald Nixon (Nixonburger and a dubious loan from Howard Hughes). So, I'm not going to drag him into the madness of the campaign.

Unlike Obama, who long dreamed of Kenya but knew little about it, Mark spent his summers off from his American studies in Kenya at his mother and step-father's pleasant Nairobi home, where Obama met him on his first trip to Africa in the late 1980s. Here's what Obama wrote about him (pp. 341-345):

"'So, Mark,' I said, turning to my brother, 'I hear you're at Berkeley.'

"'Stanford,' he corrected. His voice was deep, his accent perfectly American. 'I'm in my last year of the physics program there.'"

They meet once more, for lunch:

"I asked him how it felt being back for the summer.

"'Fine,' he said. 'It's nice to see my mom and dad, of course. … As for the rest of Kenya, I don't feel much of an attachment. Just another poor African country.'

"'You don't ever think about settling here?'

"Mark took a sip from his Coke. 'No,' he said. 'I mean, there's not much work for a physicist, is there, in a country where the average person doesn't have a telephone.'

"I should have stopped then, but something -- the certainty in this brother's voice, maybe, or our rough resemblance, like looking into a foggy mirror -- made me want to push harder. I asked, "Don't you ever feel like you might be losing something?'

"Mark put down his knife and fork, and for the first time that afternoon his eyes looked straight into mine.

"'I understand what you're getting at,' he said flatly. 'You think that somehow I'm cut off from my roots, that sort of thing.' He wiped his mouth and dropped the napkin onto his plate. 'Well, you're right. At a certain point, I made a decision not think about who my real father was. He was dead to me even when he was still alive. I knew that he was a drunk and showed no concern for his wife or children. That was enough.'

"'It made you mad.'

"'Not mad. Just numb.'

"'And that doesn't bother you? Being numb, I mean?'

"'Towards him, no. Other things move me. Beethoven's symphonies. Shakespeare's sonnets. I know -- it's not what an African is supposed to care about. But who's to tell me what I should and shouldn't care about? Understand, I'm not ashamed of being half Kenyan. I just don't ask myself a lot of questions about what it all means. About who I really am.' He shrugged. 'I don't know. Maybe I should. I can acknowledge the possibility that if I looked more carefully at myself, I would …'

"For the briefest moment I sensed Mark hesitate, like a rock climber losing his footing. Then, almost immediately, he regained his composure and waved for the check.

"'Who knows?' he said. 'What's certain is that I don't need the stress. Life's hard enough without all that excess baggage.'

"… Outside we exchanged addresses and promised to write, with a dishonesty that made my heart ache."


Notice that it's Obama's own dishonesty that is (supposedly) making his heart ache -- he can't know what's in Mark's heart as they exchange addresses, but Obama knows that he will not write to his own half-brother. The physics student is Obama's intellectual equal, but his realism about Kenya, his lack of an identity crisis, lack of black ethnocentrism, and lack of illusions about their mutual father leave Obama so uncomfortable that he doesn't want to hear from Mark anymore.


Their family tree, which is complicated by Kenya's traditional polygamy, looks like this: Barack Obama Sr.'s bigamous second marriage to the Presidential candidate's mother Ann dissolved when he chose to abandon his new family in Hawaii to take up a Harvard scholarship rather than the more generous New School of Social Research scholarship that would have paid enough for Ann and Barack Jr. to come with him to New York City. He then married Mark's white American mother Ruth and brought her to live in Kenya (where the Senator's polygamous pop introduced his surprised American bride to her co-wife Kezia, whom he had married at age 18).

Obama Sr. and his third wife had two sons, Mark and David, before their bitter divorce. Their American mother then married an affluent and genial man who had moved to Kenya from a different African country, had sons of their own, and all the boys were educated at a prestigious international school in Nairobi.

Mark absorbed his mother's values, but the younger boy, David, rebelled as a teenager against his mother's Western ways. Obama wrote: "He told her he was an African, and started calling himself Obama." David, who was Mark's full brother, ran away from home. Months later, the Senator's hard-drinking half-brother Roy (Obama Sr.'s first son by his Kenyan first wife -- Roy later took up the name Abongo when he became an Afrocentric teetotaling Muslim) happened to see David begging on the streets. Roy took him in.

One night, not long before Obama's 1987 visit to Kenya, Roy and young David went out drinking on Roy's motorcycle. Roy got into a drunken brawl and was jailed, so he lent the boy the key to his motorcycle. David crashed it and died.

Roy/Abongo's complicity in the death of Mark's full brother David left relations between Keiza's family and Ruth's family even frostier than before. Upon his visit in 1987, Obama spent almost all his time with Keiza's relations, such as his half-siblings Roy/Obongo and Auma.

The details about Mark in Obama's memoir all check out. Obama didn't include his last name, but he also didn't alter any details about Mark to protect his identity, so I can ascertain with virtually absolute certainty that the Mark pictured above is the Mark depicted in Obama's bestseller. For example, I've found a paper in a physics journal authored by Mark and others at Stanford. I've been able to determine that for the Mark shown above, his parents live in Nairobi; his youngest half-brother's first name is the same as that given in Dreams; and that his step-father's family comes from a different African country, the same one Obama reported.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

44 comments:

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: I don't think I'm going to reveal his name, at least not at present.

Then you need to quit linking to the picture at the guy's wedding album site - download the picture to your harddrive, then upload it to some neutral site like PhotoBucket or Flickr, and link to it from there.

Bill said...

How come nobody is asking Obama about reparations?

You know that's what blacks are thinking about when they vote for him. Africans are probably hoping for the same.

What is really amazing is how political correctness has given him a huge advantage in the Democratic nomination campaign. The worst thing his opponents can come up with is "experience," which is equivalent to saying "he's younger and not associated with all the things that make you nervous about me."

It's like I said: he's the Sydney Poitier of the Democratic Party's own Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

Steve Sailer said...

Lucius:

Thanks. I've fixed it.

Steve

steve rox said...

this is a coup ... kudos steve

Truth said...

"You know that's what blacks are thinking about when they vote for him. Africans are probably hoping for the same. "

How do you know Bill? Are you a psychic?

Lucius Vorenus said...

Here's a trivia question for you history buffs: Has there ever been a US President whose father [or mother] was born in a foreign country?

Here are some early presidential parents:

Augustine Washington
Mary Ball Washington

John Adams
Susanna Boylston Adams

Peter Jefferson
Jane Randolph Jefferson

Most of them appear to have been born in the Colonies, although it looks like Jane Randolph Jefferson was born in London, England.

Lately, though, I've been thinking a lot about the circumstances of Obama's birth.

If Obama's father really did have another wife back home in Kenya, then Obama's father's marriage to Obama's mother was bigamous, and not valid under American law.

Ergo, if you were to read the 14th Amendment as it is actually written:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

then you could plausibly argue that Obama's father's marriage to Obama's mother could only possibly have been valid in a country which recognized polygamy [like Kenya? - presumably Obama's father was a Muslim Kenyan if Obama ended up with a middle name like "Hussein"], hence the child of that bigamous marriage could not have been subject to the jurisdiction of the the United States, hence such a child, not being born a citizen of the United States, would not be eligible to become President, as per Article II, Section 1:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

So, by that argument, if you wanted to be able to install Obama as the American President, then you would have to declare that Obama's father's "marriage" to Obama's mother was null & void, ergo Obama is a bastard, at which point the trivia question becomes: Has there ever been a bastard who was President of the United States?

I guess there's a lot of disagreement about Clinton's true paternal ancestry - most people who have looked into the matter feel that William Jefferson Blythe Jr could not have been in the country to have impregnated Virginia Dell Cassidy nine months prior to Clinton's birth [Army records have him stationed in Italy at the time], hence some other man must be Clinton's biological father.

Still, though, Bill Clinton is not officially recognized as a bastard.

Although, speaking of ethnic solidarity, I remember that Bill Clinton went out of his way never to have to anything to do with his "official" half-brother, Henry Leon Blythe [by William Jefferson Blythe Jr, out of Virginia Adele Gash].

PS: This idea of these [essentially] polygamous family arrangements that kids like Clinton & Obama had to grow up in are just utterly foreign to the typical GOP voter.

William Jefferson Blythe Jr was married to Virginia Adele Gash, then divorced her, then married her little sister, Faye Gash [ostensibly to avoid having to acknowlege paternity with some third girl who was pregnant at the time], and gosh only knows how many other women Blythe may have been involved with, not to mention whatever Roger Clinton Sr might have had going on the side, much less whoever it was who was Clinton's actual biological father.

Anyway, you end up with half-brothers, like Henry Leon Blythe, or, in Obama's case, this Stanford physics guy, whom these politicians have never met - or, if they have met them, it was for one and only one occasion.

Does anyone on this board have to deal with a family mess like this?

For that matter, do you even know anyone who has half-brothers or half-sisters in the first place, much less half-brothers or half-sisters they have never met?

"Two Americas", indeed.

Steve Sailer said...

I wouldn't be surprised if several 19th Century Presidents had half-siblings. People died young a lot then, and widows and widowers were always remarrying.

Bill said...


How do you know Bill? Are you a psychic?

-truth


If that's what you want to call reading and research, I guess so:

"Nearly 50 activists from across the country answered the call to discuss operational unity and a consolidation of efforts, in order to enhance and fortify the movement for reparations for Black people’s suffering in the trans-Atlantic slave trade[...]

Representing Trinity Church and its pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Dr. Iva Carruthers spoke of equipping ministers beyond worship, and enabling them to effectively network, empower people and impact policy. Within the next year, she intends on working with over 400 preachers, with a focus on connecting theology, technology and transnational public advocacy. She termed it: "intentional communication."


I'm sure you guys know about Rev. Wright already, but in case you're not "psychic" like me, he's Obama's preacher.

Anonymous said...

Lucious: He was born in Hawaii. Hence he is non-naturalized. I think someone would have caught that by now.

Bill said...

Oh, I forgot to mention the issue over Obama's warlord cousin in Kenya. According to last I heard on NPR, Obama is denying any relation to him.

I heard him say on the BBC "Obama's father is my maternal uncle." It's worth listening to.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Steve Sailer: I wouldn't be surprised if several 19th Century Presidents had half-siblings. People died young a lot then, and widows and widowers were always remarrying.

Yeah, but I'm talking about this modern day culture of ours in which divorce & re-marriage & adultery & out-of-wedlock fornication & bastardy function as a de-facto form of polygamy [not to mention what appears to have been actual polygamy on the part of Obama's father] - all of these bizarre, broken homes which keep getting dis-assembled and re-assembled and dis-re-assembled and re-dis-re-assembled, like a nightmare-ish, surrealistic parody of the Brady Bunch.

So that, at the end of the day, you've got half-brothers of Presidents whom the Presidents barely know, or whom they have never met, or whom they could never have known or met - it's not clear that Bill Clinton even knew about the existence of Henry Leon Blythe until the journalists uncovered him.

The GOP folks that I know just don't live like that.

Clinton & Obama had childhoods like what Britney & Jamie Lynn Spears are about to visit upon their children.

Ugh.

Two Americas, yesiree.

PS: Obama's half-brother actually seems like a pretty interesting guy.

Why can't he be the one running for president, instead of an empty suit like Obama?

Heck, given just the little insight which might be gleaned from that excerpt you posted [assuming that Obama didn't fabricate the conversation], it wouldn't surprise me if the half-brother were a Republican.

Anonymous said...

For that matter, do you even know anyone who has half-brothers or half-sisters in the first place, much less half-brothers or half-sisters they have never met? - Lucius

Are you kidding me?

I have half-siblings with whom I am close. My half-siblings have half-siblings they've never met. One of my in-laws has half-siblings he knows but scarcely acknowledges. We're an upper middle class family.

I imagine that in the ghetto they're everywhere.

As the Sting song goes "This is a story/Of seven brothers/Who had the same father/But different mothers."

Lots of people have them. In the 1800s and before, it was common because people often died young. Today it's common because divorce is so common, also.

William said...

One thing I see has hardly been mentioned anywhere relates to Barack Obama's connection to Kenya. I see mention here and there that Barack's father was a member of the Luo tribe - the tribe on the losing side of the recent election.

What no article I've seen yet has mentioned is that Raila Odinga, the losing candidate who is currently stirring up so much violence there, is in fact Barack's first cousin. He was quoted today on NPR as saying that "Barack's father is my maternal uncle."

It will be interesting to see if this gets as much mention in the press as the fact that Mitt's great-great grandfather was a polygamist. Somehow I doubt i.

And it will be interesting to see how far Odinga chooses to go in challenging the electoral results. Barack is clearly worried - he called Odinga just yesterday, presumably to get him to tone it down, so as not to hurt his chances.

Ain't we glad that we may have imported the Afcrican style of politics into America?

fifi said...

As I read this excerpt from Dreams From My Father, two things come to mind. The first is how like a cult PC ness is. Obama thinks his reason for rejecting a relationship with his brother is self-evident but this is only true for the handful of people who have been indoctrinated in the same way. Even his wife Michelle's speech about how great it was that she benefited from AA was merely "preaching to the choir". The second is how with such a narrow set of interests, Afro-centric primarily, then the disenfranchised (according to Obama) in general, Obama can appeal to anyone who isn't black or poor or living in a 3rd world country and hoping for more American aid.

Evil Neocon said...

As Hillary's victory in NH shows, Obama-the-Messiah is not enough. Despite the media frenzy.

Obama's lack of experience will show up when he's confronted in debates, and says something stupid. Obama's lack of experience will show up when challengers take him to task for lack of any specifics (which was the reason people in NH broke narrowly for Hillary). Obama's lack of experience will show up when Iran sinks a ship of ours in the Persian Gulf (per Ralph Peters) or Pakistan falls to AQ, or something equally bad.

The world is both unpredictable and dangerous, and something unexpected is bound to happen. Exposing Obama's inexperience. Politics is no place for amateurs at the highest level. Any more than the PGA tour or MLB.

Hippogriff said...

Does anyone on this board have to deal with a family mess like this?

My mother did. Her mother was one of a huge number of kids with three or four different fathers and two women who were privately lesbians but who were serially married to these men. Her actual mother had five and her companion had six. This was a working to middle class Cincinnati group, the men mostly worked at the GE jet engine plant.

My mother's reaction was to marry in high school and stay married to her choice thick or thin. It worked well for her. She dissociated from her clan and with my father moved to Texas when she was pregnant with her first child. I've never met any of her extended clan-it was only after my father died recently she revealed the story. She told us she was an only child and her parents died in a car crash shortly after her birth.

Anonymous said...

What in the hell is with the black bar? You make him look like a guy in an old porno movie.

hey steve said...

The conversation between the two brothers reads like Movie of the Week dialog. Yes, that can happen in real life. But the napkin-to-the-plate action cue and other aspects of it read like total BS. Sure, we should understand a celeb-writer like Obama likely has a "strong" editor. But this is ludicrous "Man From Hope" propaganda all over again. The Clinton presidency was a catastrophe in that it demonstrated how far an expertly packaged sociopath could rise in modern American politics. I saw Obama do a very brief "Clinton head bob" last week. These jerks have been studying more film than Peyton Manning. Talk about lowering the bar. "Craptastic" is right.

And what kind of people give football stadium roars to politicians who promise "healthcare for all"? What kind of people would respond with shrieks of glee to a pronouncement like that? The Left is demented.

Remember, the Republicans are only 10-20 years behind the Democrats in their lurch toward the Left. In 2030 today's Obama platform will be described as neoconservative. In 2050 his positions will merit the insult paleoconservative.

Many in the Obama crowds in New Hampshire tonight have had politico-sexual fantasies about JFK, but are actually creeped out by JFK's relatively conservative views.

Chris said...

I just realized that Obama is the Pinkberry of American politics.

Chris said...

Aww, I just googled "pinkberry of politics" and somebody already saw that, back in July.

Steve Sailer said...

My wife calls Pinkberry frozen yogurt "Crankberry" because the two times I've had it, I felt wonderful, but then woke up the next day in the depths of depression. Life had no meaning. The only thing that could give life meaning was ... more Pinkberry!

I don't what they put in Pinkberry, but I stay away from it now.

John Mansfield said...

Gerald Ford comes to mind. He was perhaps the most normal and emotionally well-adjusted president we've seen, even though his mother separated from his abusive father days after he was born. He never had a clue that his adopted father wasn't his biological father until he was 17.

James Kabala said...

First: I confess that I have yet to read Dreams from My Father. If Obama turns out to be just another flash in the pan (which suddenly seems likely again), I'm not sure if the book is worth my time when there are so many other books worth reading out there. If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee, and certainly if he becomes President, I will read it.

But based on the excerpts Steve has repeatedly provided, I am not sure how convinced I am by the portrait of Obama as a person abnormally obsessed with his racial background. If I came from a broken home and my father was an intriguing person from an exotic background whom I hardly knew, I think it would be natural that I would have some interest in learning what he was really like and how his "race and inheritance" would affect me. Don't you think there must have been times when he was a child and teenager when Gerald Ford wondered what Leslie King was really like and what he was doing at that moment, and if King had had a substantially different ethnic background from the young Ford's friends and neighbors, wouldn't that have added to the mystery? Mark's reaction is more disciplined and perhaps admirable, but it seems in some ways less human.

P.S. Good detective work.

Concerned Netizen said...

It's all very interesting but I don't think this is what will sink Obie in the General among NASCAR dads.

His relationship with Jeremiah Wright will.

fitnessbuff said...

Strange that nobody on this blog has pointed out the genetic effects of Obama senior. Basically whites lost out. The people whose ancestors built the universities that hosted Obama seniors philandering lost two females in the inclusive fitness game. Of course, this is seen by some as all very noble, but truly this is a sort of slow motion genocide subsidized by the people being genocided themselves. Assuming they are alive white grandparents who raised and paid for Obama now have great-grandchildren who look nothing like them. Obama Senior got to spread his genes in both white American population and his native Kenyan population. Some white male probably lost out.

Anonymous said...

I don't find it that noteworthy that Barack failed to keep in touch with his half-brother. If I found out I had a half-brother, I could see having lunch with him out of a sense of curiosity, but it's doubtful I would want or expect to maintain an ongoing relationship. Certainly, in order to take hold, that relationship would have to be based on something more than the fact of a common genetic parent.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone on this board have to deal with a family mess like this?"

My girlfriend has half-siblings: after her parents got divorced, her father re-married and had more kids. With today's divorce rates it's not all that uncommon.

Anonymous said...

At least the brother showed some human emotion and felt disgust toward his father for repeatedly and severely beating and abusing his mother(Ruth). Why doesnt Barry,for the treatment Ann recieved?? (Is it cuz Anne dumped him and sent him packing and she hooked up with some Indonesian guy??) He idolizes that psycho piece of crap. Hey I wonder,had Daddy Dearest not been killed in a drunken car crash,what part would he play in the "shenanigans" going on in Kenya now? When Steve was criricized for "being mean" to Obama originally,he said that he admired Obama,but felt it necessary to talk about him honestly. I agree...except for the part about admiring him. He's a smug asshole,and the last guy(well,ONE of the last guys-and girls :) ) I would want running the USA. -Josh

South of Texas said...

from MSN Encarta: "Elizabeth Hutchinson Jackson (1745–November 2, 1781) was the mother of US President Andrew Jackson. She was born in Carrickfergus County Antrim ..." They also have some tough tribes in Ulster.

L said...

I really encourage you to remove the photograph. The picture does much more to affect his privacy more than it does to bolster your case. Google spiders are crawling everywhere and it won't take long for a reporter to get here.

After all, you could have put up a picture of a random black dude (although I think you did not) with black bars. Get rid of it.

L said...

To illustrate my point, it's already the 2nd hit for "obama brother mark". Dump the picture.

beowulf said...

Lucius,

Woodrow Wilson's mother was born in England. Good thing Britain didn't try to drag America into war while he was president, his dual loyalty might affected his judgment, oh wait, they did! Wilson's Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan resigned in 1915 because of the president's favoritism towards Britain.

The Royal Navy had blockaded German ports and stopped American ships from shipping to Germany. When President Jefferson was faced with a similar British blockade of French ports during the Napoleonic wars, Jefferson responded by embargoing British trade on the principle we trade with both sides or neither side.

When Wilson refused to follow this precedent, the Germans were certainly within their rights to attack US shipping bound for Britain. Secretary Bryan and anti-war Senator Lafollette realized Wilson's favoritism would lead to the US being dragged into the World War.

Wilson's mother was Janet (Jessie) Woodrow. She was born in Carlisle, England, just across the border from Scotland. Her father, Thomas Woodrow, was a Scottish Presbyterian minister. In 1836 he brought his family to the United States. In time he settled in Ohio, and there his daughter and Joseph Ruggles Wilson were married.
http://history-world.org/wilson.htm

James Kabala said...

Since Mr. Mansfield and I have both mentioned Gerald Ford, but come to opposite conclusions, I will note that it is my understanding that he always knew Leslie King was his biological father, but they did not meet (post-infancy) until Ford was 17, and only once more after that. It is true that this seemed not to bother Ford as an adult, but who knows if he always felt that way, and even if he did, I don't think Obama's reaction is necessarily unreasonable.

kurt9 said...

Some of you comment on Obama's inexperience as well as his youth (age 46). However, Clinton was also 46 years old when he ran for president in 1992. His experience was governor of Louisiana starting in 1979. I'm not sure that being governor of Louisiana makes one any more knowledgeable of foreign affairs as Obama's brief career in the Senate.

Also, Jack Kennedy was 40 years old when he ran for president.

There are reasons to not want Obama as our next president. His youth and "inexperience" is not one of them.

SFG said...

And what kind of people give football stadium roars to politicians who promise "healthcare for all"? What kind of people would respond with shrieks of glee to a pronouncement like that? The Left is demented.
You know, a lot of us are more concerned with providing for all of our citizens than with whether it's done by the government. Doesn't seem demented. 'Destroying the patriarchal family' or some of the sillier college-campus hogwash, yeah, but every other rich nation in the world has national healthcare.

Anonymous said...

Wow! It sounds like a fabulously privileged upbringing was enjoyed by the man who is presuming to be the voice of poor black Americans. How many countries was that? How many siblings went to Ivy League schools? Who paid for all this, and how?

Johnson said...

This blog has focused way too much on Obama's racial identity problems and has said virtually nothing about his policy prescriptions.

Given the lack of decent candidates in this election, both on the democratic and republican side, I understand and am starting to warm to those who support Obama. Even if his rhetoric is lofty and out of touch, he is an infinitely more inspiring person and seemingly decent than GWB ever was. His attitude towards Republicans is much more conciliatory and understanding than GWB ever was to liberals. His support among independents is robust.

Obama will not make me embarrassed to be an American like I have been over the past 7 years, even if I do disagree with his views on racial reconciliation.

If you have substantial criticisms of him that aren't PC enough to be voiced on mainstream blogs, now is the time to do it, instead of speculating on family drama.

Joe Schmoe said...

Many of us from the "white trash" wing of the contemporary GOP do indeed have half-siblings. I have half-siblings in both my maternal and paternal lines.

My mom was from an upper-middle class family of New England WASPs. They were in the Social Register and everything, although sadly for me her family's money dried up about two generations ago. My mother got knocked up while in college and gave birth to my half-sister. Her parents, my grandparents, raised my half-sister. Unfortunately my half-sister is now deceased, but I had a great deal of contact with my half-sister when she was alive. She was introduced to me as an "aunt" when I was very young, and my mother later revealed that my "aunt" was actually my half-sister.

Although I knew my half-sister quite well and liked her very much, I never really thought of her as a sibling. We were quite close, though. Interestingly, my half-sister was far closer to me than she was to my mother. Those two tried to form a relationship when my half-sister reached adulthood, but it did not work out and my half-sister kept her distance from my mother thereafter. This is probably because my (our) mother is more than a little crazy -- I am not close to her either, to tell the truth.

My dad was from the other end of the social spectrum, a taxi driver and ex-con from the rural Midwest. He had a daughter from a previous marriage when he met my mother. My half-sister is still alive. She is a nurse in Ohio and is married to doctor. They are devout evangelical Christians and have served as missionaries in various third world countries.

My dad kept in contact with my half-sister throughout his life, even though his ex-wife later remarried and her new husband adopted my father's daughter. I, however, have never my paternal half-sister. I don't want to, really. It would just be too awkward. She seems to feel the same way, as she has never made any effort to contact me. I sort of regret this because I was very close to my dad, and because my half-sister sounds like a really lovely person, but it still feels too awkward.

Interestingly, my half-sister's kids are also half-siblings of one another. She gave birth to two children as a single mother, and then married a doctor and had two additional children with him. Are these children my quarter-nieces and quarter-nephews? I don't know. Just as in Obama's case, the kids are biracial. My cousin is white, her husband is black, and all four of her children are of mixed race. My own kids are of mixed race as well -- they are half Hispanic. Therefore, the children of half-sister and I, who are both white, are from three different races.

Finally, like Obama, I am a lawyer with an Ivy League education, although I did not go to Harvard. Unlike Obama, I am a right-wing Republican.

Anyway, Steve, this just goes to show that even stalwart Republicans can have half-siblings. Those of us with roots in white trash America (and, in the case of my family, black and Hispanic America as well) can have pretty tangled family trees.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone on this board have to deal with a family mess like this?"

Yes. All of my siblings are half-siblings. There are nine of them, and span six different races and nationalities. There are five half's from my mom and four from my dad.

My bio-parents met in their early twenties...I don't know much about it except that I came to be. I'm half nigerian and half white american.

I grew up with my mom and five half-brothers. My mom married the father of the four youngest and though we get along just fine, him and his step-son never have. My eldest half brother from mom is half morrocan/arab and half white american. I believe he has unknown half siblings from his bio-father who we have not seen since he was two weeks old and he ran off (turned out to be a real scum bag)
My last four half-bros from mom are all half mexican-american and half white-american and all young. Both parents work, so I took a major part raising them and they are very close to me. These are my bros.

I only had regular physical contact with my bio-dad's side when I went off to college, partly because of distance and partly because of my mom's own feelings. My bio-dad, after me, had my eldest half-bro who is part native and grew up on or near a reservation (can't remember which) until high school where he'd spend school at bio-dad's and summers back with his mom. He has a bunch of older half siblings and a number of his half siblings have half siblings of their own. When I first talked to him he'd thought I was a cousin of his. But he doesn't win on confusion...up until a week ago I thought my second half-sibling had my same name. She is the only one I have not met at all and lives somewhere with her bio-mom and step-dad. They've cut contact with my bio-dad for some reason or another. She's part polynesian part Nigerian. And my youngest half-sibs are full nigerian and american, coming from my bio-dad's marriage.

These siblings are not as close, and though they are my brothers and sisters I have a hard time placing them as such becuase I haven't grown up with them. I do want to meet the one half-sib part out of curiosity to this one that I don't know...a desire to know what she looks like, our similarities and differences, etc. How has it effected me? I have an interest in social sciences and am adament on 1. Getting married before kids 2. abstenance. Next to that I actually enjoy the intricacies of my family bush (try drawing my immediate family tree without it looking like a bush) and people's reactions when hearing it. It's sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes a pause for thought of how little seperation there truly is between people and cultures.

Also, as someone part African, I don't feel much with Obama's identity and troubles with it. I've always had a strong association with being mixed not black, not white, but both and always have...I hold a brown identity while he holds a black. I don't understand it well, but there's nothing wrong with having a different ID. We've lived different lives and its his choice as much as mine.

politicalwonk said...

If you have substantial criticisms of him that aren't PC enough to be voiced on mainstream blogs, now is the time to do it, instead of speculating on family drama.

How about the fact that he wants to use the force of law to discriminate against my children, and in favor of his own children, on account of the respective colors of our skin? In other words, he still favors "affirmative action." (It must have taken a very Obama-like brain to invent that euphemism, which could be used to label _any_ kind of program).

Not to mention that his pastor Wright wants black people like Obama who are not descended from slaves to collect "reparations" from white people like me who are not descended from slaveowners.

If Obama wants me to think of him as anything but a disgusting racist, he will repudiate affirmative action and any other form of "reparations". He should declare that the statute of limitations in race relations is over. If he did that I'd find him quite preferable to the other Democratic candidates.

William said...

Not to mention that his pastor Wright wants black people like Obama who are not descended from slaves to collect "reparations" from white people like me who are not descended from slaveowners.

American blacks have about 15-20% white admixture, most of that being from white slaveowners or their employees. American blacks are more likely than American whites to be descended from slaveowners. Are they going to pay reparations to themselves?

That, actually, is a good idea. The government should institute a reparations tax on descendants of slaveowners. Like all entitlements they'll collect the taxes for it, diddle around with it, then return it to you with 30% missing. They should also grant reparations to descendants/relatives of those who died fighting to free the slaves. It would be a net transfer of money from blacks to whites. That's one I can live with.

Bruce A. said...

Andrew Jacksons parents were both born in a foreign country...and in fact, Jackson may have been born "at sea" during their voyage to this country. Jacksons borth certificate says he was born in So. Carolina....but in an interview he did after his Presidency, he told the interviewer he was born "at sea"...which would have made him ineligible to become President of the USA.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't this post put Obama in the same category as Romney with the right to exercise polygamy through his Kenyan citizenship?

Why is America electing someone as President with Kenyan citizenship anyway?

Wonder how his wife feels about all this?

Blode032222 said...

Kezia or Keiza? There's a couple of votes for each in your article!