She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me.There's no doubt that Madelyn and Stanley Dunham loved Barack and sacrificed for him, but they also deserve to be recognized for their courage. Ta-Nehisi Coates touched on that quality in a moving meditation at The Atlantic. Here's an excerpt:
Likewise, 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 can all learn something from Madelyn and Stanley Dunham's example.
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.
(Check out the picture of Obama's grandparents. His resemblance to his grandfather is remarkable.)
(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)