Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More Obama Relatives in the News

First Obama's half brother, Mark Ndesandjo, enters the world stage after living a quiet life in China, to announce the publication of his semi-autobiographical novel Nairobi to Shenzhen. And now it has been revealed that Obama's aunt (his father's half sister) is living in the United States as an illegal immigrant pending deportation.

Like Ndesandjo, Obama's aunt, Zeituni Onyango reportedly is expecting no special treatment because she is related to the President of the United States. In fact, she told the Associated Press, "I carry my own cross. [Barack] has nothing to do with my problem."

You can read Onyango's complete story on The Grio and decide for yourself if you think she's going to get special treatment or if she deserves it. I think whether she deserves it or not, who wants to be the immigration official who deports the president's auntie?

In some ways, I don't think it is realistic or even possible to try to be completely objective when dealing with issues of celebrities or public figures. If someone is related to a super star, it is almost human nature to want see if their superstar qualities flow through the DNA of the rest of the family. Inquiring minds just want to know. And that's not always a bad thing. For example, Obama's mother's 1992 anthropological dissertation has just been released by Duke University Press as the book, Surviving Against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia. It's a totally academic tome, yet the author's connection as Obama's mama is slapped on the front of the book. You can read more about the book here.

So, considering Obama has a handful of other half-siblings and relatives around the world I don't suspect this is the last family skeleton to fall from the closest. I just hope the American public and media don't get too caught up in the hype. What do you think?


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