Background and Beliefs: Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama Jr. was born on August 4, 1961 to a Kenyan father and American mother in Honolulu, Hawaii. When he was two years old, his parents separated and later divorced. After his father received his Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from Harvard, he moved back to his native country of Kenya, where he became a finance minister until he was killed in a car accident in 1982. His mother remarried, and Obama moved with his mother and new stepfather to Indonesia in 1967. There, Obama attended local schools from ages six to ten, where he received weekly lessons in the Catholic faith. After moving to a new neighborhood, he attended a secular government-run school and then received weekly lessons in Islam, the predominant religion of Indonesia. When he was in the third grade, Obama wrote an essay saying that one day he would like to become President, and the reason being he wanted to make everyone happy.
When Obama was in fifth grade, he returned to Honolulu to live with his maternal grandparents. There, he attended a private college preparatory school until his graduation in 1979. Growing up in Honolulu was not easy for Obama because of his struggles to come to terms with the social perceptions of his multiracial heritage. In his book, Dreams from My Father, Obama wrote that he used alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine during his teenage years to push questions of who he was out of his mind. Some of his fellow peers from his preparatory school in Hawaii have also said that Obama was very mature for his age as a high school student and that he sometimes attended parties in order to be with African American college students and military service people. Living those adolescent years in Hawaii, where there is a variety of cultures and a mutual respect for the different cultures, became the basis for the values that Obama holds today.
After high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he attended Occidental College...
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