His own upbringing is a blending of diverse cultures. Born in Hawaii, where his parents met in college, [Barack Obama] was named Barack (blessed in Arabic) after his father. The elder Obama was among a generation of young Africans who came to the United States to study engineering, finance and medicine, skills that could be taken back home to build a new, strong Africa. In Hawaii, he married Obama's mother, a white American from Wichita, Kan.
Shortly after the elections, a package turned up at the law review office with no return address. Obama said he hesitated to open it because of the spree of recent mail bombings targeted at civil rights activists nationwide. When the package was finally opened, inside were two packages of dim sum, with no explanation. Some students made light of the media invasion, posting a memo titled "The Barack Obama Story, a Made for TV Movie, Starring Blair Underwood as Barack Obama."
What truly distinguishes Obama from other bright students at Harvard Law, [Laurence Tribe] said, is his ability to make sense of complex legal arguments and translate them into current social concerns. For example, Tribe said, Obama wrote an insightful research article showing how contrasting views in the abortion debate are a direct result of cultural and sociological differences.