I (Heart) Obama

Posted By: Mo Akintunde

In his nearly two terms as president, Barack Obama has solidified his status as something African Americans haven’t had for fifty years: a folk hero. The 1960s delivered Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, forever twinned as larger-than-life outsiders and truth tellers who took on racism and died in the process. Obama is different: Not an outsider but president, head of the most powerful state in the world; a centrist Democrat, not the face of a movement. Yet he is every bit a folk hero, doing battle with the beast of a system created to keep people like him on the margins. He is unique among presidents and entirely unique among black people, who never expected to have a president so soon.

Erin Aubry Kaplan has been a journalist covering black issues for twenty-five years, including nine years as a staff writer for LA Weekly, and two years as a weekly op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Her work has been anthologized, and she is the recipient of a PEN Center West award for literary journalism.

In ‘I Heart Obama,’ journalist Kaplan offers an unapologetic appreciation of our highest-ranking “First” and what he means to African Americans. In the process, she explores the critiques of those in the African American community who charge that he has not done enough, been present enough, and been black enough to motivate real change in America. Racial antipathy cloaked as political antipathy has been the major conflict in Obama’s presidency. His impossible task as an individual and as a president is nothing less than this: to reform the entire racist culture of the country he leads. Black people know he can’t do it, but will support his effort anyway, as they have supported the efforts of many others. Obama’s is a noble and singular story we will tell for generations. ‘I Heart Obama’ looks at the story so far. (Credit to YOURBLACKWORLD.COM)

The UBAA Literary Club will be reading I (Heart) Obama on 3/18, 4/15, 5/20 in Los Angeles via in-person gathering, FB Live Streaming and Skype.  Inbox us @ uclablackalumni@gmail.com to RSVP for the series. 


© UCLA Black Alumni Association 2022. Powered by PeopleVine. Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy