What is the age difference between you and Barack? I’m nine years younger. Our mother, after divorcing Barack’s father, met my father at the same place, the East-West Center on the University of Hawaii campus.
What effect do you think your mother’s wanderlust had on Barack? Maybe part of the reason he was so attracted to Chicago and his wife, Michelle, was that sense of rootedness. He elected to make a choice, whereas Mom sort of wandered through the world collecting treasures.
Do you think of your brother as black? Yes, because that is how he has named himself. Each of us has a right to name ourselves as we will.
Do you think of yourself as white? No. I’m half white, half Asian. I think of myself as hybrid. People usually think I’m Latina when they meet me. That’s what made me learn Spanish.
That sort of culturally mixed identity was seen as an anomaly when you were growing up. Of course, there was a time when that felt like unsteady terrain, and it made me feel vulnerable.
You were ahead of the multicultural curve. That’s one of the things our mother taught us. It can all belong to you. If you have sufficient love and respect for a part of the world, it can be a meaningful part of who you are, even if it wasn’t delivered at birth.
Barack Obama avoids talking about the 'race issue,' but his wife doesn't. Allison Samuels interviews Michelle Obama in Newsweek and Farai Chideya talks to Allison about the interview on NPR's News & Notes.
They call her "The Closer." As the race for the Democratic nomination turns to South Carolina and other Southern states, Campaign Obama is counting on Michelle to help close the deal with African-American voters. Obama has avoided being pigeonholed as the "black candidate" and has mostly steered clear of talking about race on the campaign trail (at least until his recent fracas with Hillary Clinton over whether she besmirched King's legacy by noting President Lyndon Johnson's role in the Civil Rights Act). But Michelle hasn't backed away from discussing her experiences of race and prejudice. At a November speech in Orangeburg, S.C., she drew a direct line between African-American women like Soujourner Truth and Rosa Parks and her husband's campaign. "These were all women who knew what it meant to overcome," she said. "These were all women who cast aside the voices of doubt and fear that said, 'Wait,' 'You can't do that,' 'It's not your turn,' 'The timing isn't right,' 'The country isn't ready'." That frankness is playing well with black voters in South Carolina, where her husband currently leads Clinton in the polls by nearly 10 percent.
Revising a Name, but Not a Familiar Slogan: More than 35 years after its debut, the slogan for the United Negro College Fund, “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” remains one of the most recognized in American advertising history.
The years, however, have not been as kind to the organization’s name, which has gradually become a source of alienation to the very people the group aims to serve. And while the fund is not prepared to drop the word “Negro” from its name, it plans to try to shift attention away from it.
A branding effort being introduced Thursday will seek to play down the full name and instead highlight the nonprofit’s initials, U.N.C.F. An updated logo will seek to communicate the changing direction of the group while putting renewed emphasis on the well-known slogan.
“Forty-plus years ago, when I started at Morehouse, I thought of myself as a Negro,” said Michael L. Lomax, U.N.C.F.’s president and chief executive, referring to the historically black college. “By the time I graduated in 1968, I was black. And then in the last 15 to 20 years I’ve become an African-American.”
Fenty's First Year Gets High Marks, But Divide Persists:
District residents have renewed optimism about the direction of the city after Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's first year in office, and most say they expect his takeover of the public schools to improve the system, according to a new Washington Post poll. But those polled were less impressed by Fenty's efforts to reduce crime and create housing for the poor.
Even as the local real estate market has slowed and the D.C. government has been rocked by a massive embezzlement scandal, 56 percent of residents surveyed said they believe the city is on the right course, a 14-point jump from a Post poll in July 2006, the final year for former mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). Yet confidence in the city continues to break sharply along racial and socioeconomic lines.
Overall, Fenty (D), who swept into office by winning every voting precinct last year, remains popular, with more than seven in 10 residents saying they approve of his performance. The mayor made the takeover of the troubled schools his administration's top priority, and, though residents continue to decry the state of the almost 50,000-student system, 68 percent said they believe that Fenty's being in charge will improve it.
But the poll also revealed that the mayor faces persistently deep gulfs of perception between blacks and whites, and rich and poor residents when it comes to the city's quality of life. While 74 percent of whites in the poll say D.C. is headed in the right direction, 45 percent of African Americans agree. And two-thirds of those living in more affluent Northwest Washington see the city on the right course, compared with less than half of those who live in Northeast and Southeast.
Black women were the most dissatisfied group, with 38 percent saying they are pleased with the city's direction.
There was not a large enough sample of Asians, Latinos or other ethnic groups to report results within those groups.