23 April 2011

Stanley Ann Dunham and her son

For obvious reasons, I was intrigued when I first realized that Barack Obama's mother's first name was "Stanley."  I learned more about her today from a well-written piece in the New York Times -
The president’s mother has served as any of a number of useful oversimplifications. In the capsule version of Obama’s life story, she is the white mother from Kansas coupled alliteratively to the black father from Kenya. She is corn-fed, white-bread, whatever Kenya is not...

Intentionally or not, the label obscures an extraordinary story — of a girl with a boy’s name who grew up in the years before the women’s movement, the pill and the antiwar movement; who married an African at a time when nearly two dozen states still had laws against interracial marriage; who, at 24, moved to Jakarta with her son in the waning days of an anticommunist bloodbath in which hundreds of thousands of Indonesians were slaughtered; who lived more than half her adult life in a place barely known to most Americans, in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world; who spent years working in villages where a lone Western woman was a rarity; who immersed herself in the study of blacksmithing, a craft long practiced exclusively by men; who, as a working and mostly single mother, brought up two biracial children; who believed her son in particular had the potential to be great... never knowing who or what he would become...

As she told him, with a dry humor that seems downright Kansan, “If nothing else, I gave you an interesting life.”
Much more at the link.


  1. Nearly cliche' how anti-establishment she was.

    Interesting her son became THE establishment.

  2. Oh my god! He wasn't Kenyan at all! This proves beyond a doubt...

    that Obama is a Somalian pirate!

  3. Actually, she only partially raised him. She sent him home to her parents in Hawaii to live, while she stayed in Indonesia. They raised him from the age of 10 until college. That represents the really difficult years of a child's life.

    She obviously chose her lifestyle over her child, which couldn't have done much for his self-esteem at the time.


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