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Barack Obama: My Back Story

June 16, 2011


In the 5th grade, my teacher had us write an essay about what we wanted to be when we grew up.  We had just learned about the requirements for becoming president (source). 

A. Be a natural-born citizen of the United States
B. Be at least 35 years of age, and
C. Be a resident of the United States at least 14 years.
    US Constitution, Art. II, §1(5)

It was the first time that I realized that I technically could become president.  What else would I want to become then?  President it would be.  I wrote about becoming the first woman president.  I was voted president because I found the cure for cancer.  Obviously, I was a pretty ambitious kid. 

When my parents came to Back to School Night and read my essay, they were a bit worried.  My mom sat me down later that night to discuss my career dreams.  She wanted to make sure I wasn’t disappointed if I couldn’t become president.  Sadly though, she said that in the U.S. people don’t vote for women to become president.  And even worse, she said that I couldn’t be president because I’m Asian.  Almost 20 years late, I still consider this one of the most pivotal moments of my life.

My mom is not to blame.  I blame the society that socialized her and got her to believe that a woman and an Asian American could not be president.  She wanted to save me from the pain of discrimination.  She could not have possibly known that there was no possible way to save me from it. 

Watching Barack Obama win the presidential election changed my world.  It’s hard to explain how it affected me personally.  It has changed my mom’s perspective too.  This is why I am so utterly proud to finally hang my newspaper of President Obama’s election on my wall.  I hope it doesn’t fade over time!


From → Life

  1. I am just catching up on blog posts after so long, but this post is so sweet, Nellie!

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