REVIEW: 'The Obamas'

REVIEW: 'The Obamas'

Kantor's Flattering Portrait of the First Couple Misses the Mark

Zerlina Maxwell

by Zerlina Maxwell, January 24, 2012

REVIEW: 'The Obamas'

seriously the Obamas take their role as the first Black First Family, yet it doesn’t feel like she herself understand the weight, the pressure and the significance of that title.

My favorite anecdote from the book details President Obama practicing his bowling game.  Obama got a lot of flack during the campaign for bowling a lot of gutter ball; he’s been quietly practicing ever since: “After an embarrassing low bowling score became public during the presidential campaign, he practiced in the White House basement alley, his wife poking fun at him for wanting to stay for just a few more frames.” (p. 119) President Obama, like his wife, is on a continual quest for excellence in everything. The First Couple both expect those around them to perform at a very high level- Mrs. Obama more so than even the President-and there are times in the book where this feels misinterpreted. This is not a revolutionary concept but it is indicative of how they rose to their position in the first place.  Many Black folks struggle with needing to be just a little bit better than White counterparts to simply be treated as equals, something that seems to be completely lost on Kantor. As she can't adequately speak to what it means to be the first two people on the planet to do what Barack and Michelle have done, her attempts to get to the heart of this couple simply misses the mark.

Overall, The Obamas isn't a slanderous account of the First Couple; however, the heavy reliance on editorial license and lack of recognition for certain core Obama values render it a less-than-essential look at history that is still in the making. 

‪Zerlina Maxwell is a political analyst and staff writer for The Loop 21.You can follow her on Twitter: @ZerlinaMaxwell

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