Obama’s Young Mother Abroad

Ann Dunham with her husband Lolo Soetoro and c...

Image via Wikipedia

Stanley Ann Dunham at Borobudur in Indonesia, in the early 1970s.

By JANNY SCOTT
Published: April 20, 2011

The photograph showed the son, but my eye gravitated toward the mother. That first glimpse was surprising — the stout, pale-skinned woman in sturdy sandals, standing squarely a half-step ahead of the lithe, darker-skinned figure to her left. His elas­tic-band body bespoke discipline, even asceticism. Her form was well padded, territory ceded long ago to the pleasures of appetite and the forces of anatomical destiny. He had the studied casualness of a catalog model, in khakis, at home in the viewfinder. She met the camera head-on, dressed in hand-loomed textile dyed indigo, a silver earring half-hidden in the cascading curtain of her dark hair. She carried her chin a few degrees higher than most. His right hand rested on her shoulder, lightly. The photograph, taken on a Manhattan rooftop in August 1987 and e-mailed to me 20 years later, was a revelation and a puzzle. The man was Barack Obama at 26, the community organizer from Chicago on a visit to New York. The woman was Stanley Ann Dunham, his mother. It was impossible not to be struck by the similarities, and the dissimilarities, between them. It was impossible not to question the stereotype to which she had been expediently reduced: the white woman from Kansas.

The president’s mother has served as any of a number of useful oversimplifications. In the capsule version of Obama’s life story, she is the white mother from Kansas coupled alliteratively to the black father from Kenya. She is corn-fed, white-bread, whatever Kenya is not. In “Dreams From My Father,” the memoir that helped power Obama’s political ascent, she is the shy, small-town girl who falls head over heels for the brilliant, charismatic African who steals the show. In the next chapter, she is the naïve idealist, the innocent abroad. In Obama’s presidential campaign, she was the struggling single mother, the food-stamp recipient, the victim of a health care system gone awry, pleading with her insurance company for cover­age as her life slipped away. And in the fevered imaginings of supermarket tabloids and the Internet, she is the atheist, the Marx­ist, the flower child, the mother who abandoned her son or duped the newspapers of Hawaii into printing a birth announcement for her Kenyan-born baby, on the off chance that he might want to be president someday.

The dark side of chocolate

CNN’s Richard Quest talks to filmmaker U. Roberto Romano, whose documentary “The Dark Side of Chocolate” investigates child labor and cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast.

Read a statement from the Global Chocolate and Cocoa Industry |
From the International Cocoa Initiative

But before you bite into a chocolate bar or take a sip of hot cocoa, consider, where did it come from?

It may be that the treat is the product of someone else’s hard labor. The person who may have sold it or who may have made it may not even be an adult.

The International Labour Organization estimates between 56 and 72 million African children work in agriculture, many in their own family farms. The seven largest cocoa-producing countries are Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameron, Brazil, Ecuador, the Ivory Coast and Ghana. Those last two together account for nearly 60 percent of global cocoa production.

And right now, you can still find children working in the cocoa fields as Romano and his crew did to film “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”

So, what should you as a consumer do? […]

source >> read more >>