Did Racism Get Obama's Father Booted From US?

A close reading of his immigration file suggests so, writes Andrew Rice
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2011 1:25 PM CDT
A photograph of Barack Obama Sr. hangs on the wall of his grandmother Sarah Hussein Obama's house in the village of Kogelo, near the shores of Lake Victoria, Kenya,   (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

(Newser) – Why did Barack Obama leave the United States, and his young son, returning just once to visit the future president? The Immigration and Naturalization Service file on the elder Obama, obtained by the Arizona Independent through a FOIA request, sheds some light on the mystery. On Capital New York, Andrew Rice offers his thoughts after a close reading of the file. His conclusion: "Racism drove the president's father from the United States," in particular, the problem that American officials had with Obama's "fooling around with white women."

Numerous notes from university officials to the INS illustrate a preoccupation with Obama Sr.'s love life, with one foreign student adviser noting that he had been "warned about his playboy ways." Ultimately Harvard tells INS the university is "going to try to cook something up to ease him out." The solution: telling Obama his scholarship could no longer be funded, and thus making his student visa ineligible for renewal. "It's clear that Obama Sr. marked himself as an undesirable from the very moment he married a white woman," Rice concludes. The documents reveal "a subtle, institutionalized conspiracy that in a way seems more insidious than overt cross-burning racism, because almost surely none of its participants thought of their actions as discriminatory at all."

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