The Washington Times - March 25, 2008, 10:39AM
Sen. Barack Obamahere SEE RELATED:


Barack Obama’s white grandmother once stopped taking the bus to work because she was afraid of a black panhandler — a story buried in the senator’s first book that helps shed light on why he used her in a speech last week broaching race relations.\ \ The revelation from his grandmother when he was a teenager hit the future Democratic presidential candidate “like a fist in my stomach,” and was just one example of the journey to understand his mixed race heritage detailed in his book, “Dreams From My Father, A Story of Race and Inheritance.”\ \ His grandmother, known as “Toot,” also has been the subject of discussion since Mr. Obama told voters in the Philadelphia speech last week that the woman sometimes said things that made him “cringe.”\ \ Mr. Obama also compared his grandmother to a “typical white person,” fueling more criticism of his views on race, little of which has focused on the details revealed in the 1995 book.\ \ In the book, published long before he became a U.S. senator from Illinois or White House contender, Mr. Obama chronicles his complicated racial history, offering a nuanced and thoughtful look at who he was and who he wanted to become.\ \ “When people who don’t know me well, black or white, discover my background … I see the split-second adjustments they have to make, the searching of my eyes for some telltale sign,” Mr. Obama wrote in the book’s introduction. “They no longer know who I am. Privately, they guess at my troubled heart, I suppose — the mixed blood, the divided soul, the ghostly image of the tragic mulatto trapped between two worlds.”
herea piece upChristina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times