We Were Eight Years in Power
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Contributed by Andrea Barraza

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Chapter 3
Summary

In this chapter, the author specifically focuses on some of the notable accomplishments of President Obama during his third year in Office. The author starts by discussing how, in this year, he missed seeing Trump becoming a future president of the US. According to Obama, Trump was openly giving out derogatory remarks against other racial groups such as blacks and Mexicans. Thus, there was no possibility that people would see him as fit to be President of the US. He reflects on Obama’s third year in office and the high level of appreciation and respect that people had for Michelle Obama. In this regard, the author points out that the US was “trying to reach for the best part of itself” at that time because of the efforts the Obama Administration played in helping the country since Obama was in power (Coates 86). Coates considers Obama’s presidency to be more than a symbol in itself. He suggests that Obama’s presidency was not just a win for black people but also for the Democrats as it brought a lot of hope to them. He, however, indicates that the great of admiration for Obama majorly led to some level of white resentment against him. However, the Asians, blacks, and Latinos had come up to “sink the Republican Party” (Coates 128). Owing to the effect that Obama’s presidency had in making the racial minorities feel part of the US, blacks Asians and Latinos, therefore, felt that they needed to show more support for the Democratic Party and suppress the conservative ideals of the Republican Party.

Coates also discusses his time in the seventh-grade year in Chapter Three of the book. It was during this time that blacks happened to openly talk more about various issues that they were facing in the society. For instance, during that time, black people happened to have recognized the salient idea of HIV being a plague and thus happened to talk about it more as they became more aware of it. It was also during this time that there existed a lot of murder cases in the country as people struggled to survive and seek help from the relevant authorities, from wherever they lived. However, very few black people talked about the American Civil War in which they fought in and made an impact in the country’s nationalism. Coates points out that the Nationalism ideology demonstrated a “great physical, philosophical, and moral truth” about black people’s roles in the American society (135). However, the sacrifices that the African Americans had made in building America appeared not to have been taken into consideration as far as the American story is concerned.

Analysis

This chapter demonstrates some of the aspects that Coates deemed to have made African Americans feel like they have never been regarded as part of the American society for a long time. He suggests that through the presidency of Obama, black people could get some hope and have something to be proud of. According to the author, Obama’s presidency enabled black people to get some level of recognition in the American society, something which they had waited to have for many years (Coates 137). For this reason, a lot of opportunities were waiting for black people since their role in the American society was being recognized. Thus, in this chapter, the author tends to suggest that, although black people have always had a negative story about their history in America, over time, the Obama’s presidency brought about the positive side of it. Additionally, the chapter demonstrates black people have also, often, had a positive part of their story to make in the American history, but this has never been realized. For instance, the fact that African Americans played a huge role in fighting for America during the Civil War is one important positive side of the story that black people always have although it is always forgotten. All in all, Obama’s leadership provided an opportunity for black people to gain hope for the possibility of getting recognition on the role they have always played in building a desirable American society.

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