Identity And Collective Identities

PARIS - OCTOBER 03:  Paintings of Democratic U...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeOne of the highlights of Obama 08 for me was this conversation I had with Barack's sister Maya at the downtown Manhattan headquarters late in 2007. I talked to her about a very personal connection I felt with the guy. I asked her about her name. It is an Indian name, Maya, I said.

It was Maya who articulated it for me. She said, "He walks between worlds." That captured it for me. It was then I realized why I connect with the guy so very personally.

Barack Obama walks between worlds.

There is this chapter in his first book where his father shows up in a dream and speaks the simple words, "I love you." Reading that part I felt like I feel when I watch the thimble scene in the movie The English Patient.

That dream scene in his book made me want to more than volunteer. I felt the need to shower some love his way from a distance. It must have pained growing up not have had a father in his life. I felt for the guy.

The distance part was also important. I refused to sit on committees. I met Michelle once, Maya once, Barack twice, the second time he recognized from the first meeting, that was a surprise.

Barack spent a significant part of his childhood in a Third World country. I related to that. He was one of me. He was like me. He was me. The feds went after his Kenyan aunt and me.

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Barack was born to a white woman from Kansas, and a black man from Kenya. The second man his mother married was from Indonesia. That gave him his sister Maya. That sister is married to a Canadian Chinese. That leaves out the grand continent of Antarctica.

My identity is actually harder to explain than that of someone who is half black, half white.

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