DREAMS FROM MY FATHER Book Review By Andre Austin My self-made homeless uncle was tramping around from porch to porch reading Barack Obama’s book Dreams From My Father, (DFMF), pleading with me to read his book, way back in the summer of 07. I was unfazed and unimpressed with Obama because he skipped out on Tavis Smiley’s State of The Black Union and picked Lincoln as his guide and background to announce he was running for president of USA. Lincoln gave one speech for Black Civil Rights and that was supposed to cancel out all of the political maneuverings he made during his entire political life. I wouldn’t buy his books until he won the presidency. I like to be behind the winners and don’t have extra cash to burn around. I picked up the paperbacks three days before he took the oath of office. I’m proud Obama won and reading DFMF has been an everlasting treat. DFMY is Barack’s story of himself feeling like an outsider trying to find his purpose and place in the world. He was encouraged to write the book in 1995 after becoming the first African-American president of Harvard Law Review. Why did Barack feel like an outsider? Partially because his blood is mixed with Kenyan and Caucasian. His Grandfather (Gramps) is white and his step-dad is Indonesian (Lolo). They can teach him about manhood but they can’t teach him how to be a Blackman and this lead to him feeling like an incomplete outsider. Because of these circumstances of life led Barack to smoke and drink a little bit in high school. But nothing got out of control and he still took care of business and maintained his educational goals. His Black friends indicted the whole white race and Barack tried to reason with them. Barack argued with his Black peers that some of his white colleagues on the basketball squad wanted to be just like Doctor J (Julius Erving). Barack argued with them that you could be a Black nationalist and not hate white people at the same time. In 1968 the FBI saw MLK has a potential threat if he embraced Black Nationalism and its cousin Black Power. Barack’s inaugural address spoke down on those with closed fists a symbol of Black power. King didn’t want Black power only because it would be mistranslated by whites as Black Supremacy. However Barack has supported his former church’s Black value system” which has a lot of Black power ideas but not the militant name brand. The Black value system pledge to work to improve the black family, and education and other positive goals. Barack admired Malcolm X for his autobiography but disagreed with Malcolm for desiring to see the white blood expunged from his veins due to his mother being raped by a white man. This mixture of blood gave Malcolm his red tint and nickname “Detroit Red”. Once again Barack would feel like an outsider after he feel in love with a green eyed white girl college. After he met his girlfriends parents and visited their home the inner feelings of being an outsider came back to haunt him like a ghost because he wasn’t in his own world. Obama wanted his world to be in the concrete jungle of the Ghetto in Chicago being a community organizer. When he ran for president his opponents made fun of his new found job but those job skills as an organizer led to him knocking out and outsmarting everyone to his quest to the White House. So just what is a community organizer? A leader, not a superman, devoted to changing the conditions poor people were living in. Just like Jesus came to assist the poor. But Barack knew change would only come when the whole community had the faith/hope that their condition would change and improve. A theme he outlines in DFMF and picks back on in his other best seller The Audacity Of Hope. I invite all to listen to the 70s jazz song Ain’t no such thing as Superman where Gill Scott Heron sings that the community not an individual will change our way of life. The Community Organizer worked with Churches, private org and City officials to improve upon the basic services of those living in the Ghetto. As a community organizer Barack dealt with issues like police brutality, asbestos in the housing projects, bad pipes poor service, educational issues, voter registration, the list goes on and on. As a matter of fact the only Black family TV show that closely resembles Obama’s work and problems as an organizer in the TV land can be found in Good Times from the Evans family and not The Cosby Show. Good Times dealt with poor quality of service, police brutality, Aldermen’s corruption, school officials just wanting a paycheck. I’m surprised that some white media figures like Barbara Walters, Meet The Press, the host of Chelsea Lately, and a myriad of others are trying to make Obama synonymous with Cosby Show. Obama had forsaken Corporate American just so he could help people who had the problems that Good Times sitcom had. There was no bridge between the Ghetto and The Cosby Show. With Barack’s work as a community organizer he no longer felt like an outsider because he was home at last. I see Barack as a disciple of King wanting a poor peoples march and dying for garbage workers. Cosby left the junkyard of Fat Albert a very long time ago and never came back. The last part of Obama’s book deals with his homecoming to Kenya. According to Anthropologist Kenya has the earliest remains of human beings. This is where the first human tribe may have began. His father wanted him to come back to his tribe and be a Prince. Barack Sr planted a seed for Obama to be a Prince not in Kenya but in America but just didn’t know it. Barack Jr. only met his father once when he came back to America after getting into a car accident from being drunk. Barack Sr’s drinking problem started after he was blacklisted by Kenya president Jomo Kenyatta (from 1964-1978). Barack Sr criticized Kenyatta for retribution land taken back from the British to friends and relatives. So Barack lost his job with the ministry of Tourism and finance. Malcolm X spoke highly of Kenyatta. Most Blacks (especially prisoners)only know of Kenyatta from Donald Goines fictionalizing his name into one of his crime novels. Malcolm X flew on a plane with Jomo Kenyatta in 1964. He like him because Kenyatta took a stand and used the Mau Mau to free Kenya and scare whites out of other countries. Jomo told Barack Sr he would have to go naked before he would work again. Like father like son Barack Jr. had to confront some members of his community organizing for wanting jobs for their family members too. Barack’s sister thought he acted like his father in many ways. One thing is for certain is that Barack is calm, cool, collective in thoughts and is highly consistent. You can piece together his inaugural speech in both of his books as a blueprint for taking control over the White House. Our shining Black Prince has arrived and we did it with the ballot and not with the Bullet. His world is our world and he has it all in his hands. Barack is for one tribe the human tribe not tribalism with no one being left out like an Outsider he once was.