Conflicted Soul

I finally broke down and began reading BO’s life story “Dreams From My Father.” The one thing that becomes very clear to me is that this man has had a very troubled early life. The fact that his mother is white and his father black screwed him up big time. He was raised white, but his soul was black. He wanted to be black.  His mother would have done him a big favor by following the father back to Kenya. His writings are filled with inner turmoil caused by his own belief that he was being rejected by whites. He saw the color attitude throught the eyes of his black classmates. He didn’t see the race difference because his mother and grandparents were white and sheltered him. When he finally learned of his grandmother’s concern about being stalked by a black man he was stunned at her reaction.

BO sought out people throughout his high school years that made him feel normal. Among them a black poet who was a freind of his grandfather’s. The poet, whose name was Frank, was a communist. Throughout high school and his early college days, BO leaned heavily toward the racist poetry of Malcolm X and Marxist teachings.

No doubt, some of this turmoil was brought on by his upbringing in Indonesia. His mother’s second husband  brought them to this country when it was in the aftermath of the overthrow of dictator Sukarno. He witnessed lots of unpleasant things, lots of poverty, lots of turmoil between his mother and her husband. Throughout his life, his black father kept in touch with him and constantly fed him a line about his black heritage and family in Kenya.

BO’s thinking was definitely shaped by inner struggles between his white and black self. His early goal to become an organizer after college pointed at his need to “change” things from the bottom up: it’s his message today.

The man carries a package of guilt about his race. He is clearly a racist, his father was also a racist. His affiliations with Jerimiah Wright, Louis Farakhan, Frank the poet, Ayres, are all the result of this guilt. It is my opinion that he is where he is today because he feels superior to the white race, and would like to punish whites in order to relieve his inner turmoil.  

Is this the kind of conflicted soul we want to lead us?

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