Jodi Kantor's wonderful article "Nation's Many Faces in Extended First Family" in the NYT talks about the image President Obama's family made sitting behind him on the stage at the inauguration this week. We have not only broken the color barrier on the presidency and the White House, but even more radically reshaped the image of diversity in the first family, a diversity that increasingly marks extended families in the USA, but has not been seen before in this most symbolic family. Kantor writes:
For well over two centuries, the United States has been vastly more diverse than its ruling families. Now the Obama family has flipped that around, with a Technicolor cast that looks almost nothing like their overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly Protestant predecessors in the role. The family that produced Barack and Michelle Obama is black and white and Asian, Christian, Muslim and Jewish. They speak English; Indonesian; French; Cantonese; German; Hebrew; African languages including Swahili, Luo and Igbo; and even a few phrases of Gullah, the Creole dialect of the South Carolina Lowcountry. Very few are wealthy, and some — like Sarah Obama, the stepgrandmother who only recently got electricity and running water in her metal-roofed shack — are quite poor.
anon, and peace,