Thursday, March 4

A note from Barack Obama

Mr. Martel --

My daughter and I just finished reading Life of Pi together. Both of us agreed we prefer the story with animals.

It is a lovely book -- an elegant proof of God, and the power of storytelling.

Thank you.

(signed) Barack Obama

No matter what you think about his policies, I think it is going to take our society decades to accurately judge the impact, particularly on race relations in America, of having, as the executive power in the United States, an African-American man who reads contemporary fiction to his eleven-year-old daughter and wrote that letter to the author. This is something brand new to American History, and it's about time, particularly given the long string of completely disfunctional families from both parties that have occupied the White House in my entire lifetime.

The fact that he's Black doesn't make his intelligence or parenting special, but him being all that and President does make it historic. And it changes more perceptions than we know. I don't think we white liberals even begin to "get it" about that.

PS Yann Martel sends his own Prime Minister a book every two weeks and doesn't get this much personal response.


  1. Anonymous7:40 AM

    The impact on TV, is the most noticeable so far. The shuck and jive commercials that dominated the roles for black actors have vanished.

    African American actors now get more work than ever before as, get this, regular people.

    The end of black stereotypes on commercials will have a lasting positive effect.

    However the Dennie's Super Bowl Ad, showing upset chickens in the Oval Office, was as raciest as their corporate policy.

  2. Anonymous9:48 AM

    One of the reasons the SFL family likes the Obamas so much, is that they are really the first First family that looks like us. More than any other Pres and Fam, the Obamas are like us. Both parents have careers/jobs, both parents worked theirs asses off and more or less put themselves through school - and then more school. And they have young kids in whom they are trying to instill a respect and appreciation for things OTHER than themselves.

  3. So glad you shared this. Thanks.


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