It is Obama himself who contributed to the popularity and spread of TCKs.
According to David C. Pollock, developer of the TCK Profile, founder, Interaction, Inc., co-author Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds,
“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture(s). Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background. ” (3)
Obama is the first black U.S. president and the 44th in history. Obama served as president for eight years. For as much as I know about Obama, I had never put the connection together that he had a significant contribution to the TCK culture.
Obama published a book in 1995 called “Dreams From My Father”, where he reflects on his understanding of his parents’ experiences as the son of an African father and an American mother. He recounts how his background shapes who he is today. Obama’s awareness and tribute to his culture is very inspirational. Obama is an important figure for TCK’s all around the world today. What I find especially respectable is that Obama published this book before entering his political career.
Obama has traveled all over the world and spent some of his youth in Kenya and Jakarta.
Author Craig Thompson elaborates,
“As Obama grew up, he was exposed to a variety of different cultures. He was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan father and a white American mother from Kansas, and after his parents divorced, his mother married an Indonesian man. The family later moved to Jakarta, where Obama lived from 6 to 10 years old, before returning to Hawaii, finishing out his elementary and secondary schooling there” (2).
Today, Joe Biden is the President of the U.S. Biden is formerly known as Obama’s vice president who served with him for eight years. It is interesting to see if Obama’s cultural experiences, or at least the stories he probably told him, ever impact Biden.
Though time flies and Obama is no longer president, he continues to leave a strong impact on the world today, to many generations including Baby Boomers, GenX, Millennials, and GenZ.
It has been almost two years since the World Health Organization declared a COVID-19 pandemic and we became way more confined to our homes. After Donald Trump’s presidency following Obama’s presidency, I feel like the world started to communicate more as a result of the innovation of smartphones and technology and Trump’s controversial statements.
Maybe this cultural closeness was brought together by Obama’s impact. Trump is well-known for his false accusations, including the one that Obama is not a US Citizen. However, this is false as we know, Obama is in fact a US citizen from Hawaii. Politics are seemingly now commonly always mentioned, whether at a concert by a popular band or at the Thanksgiving table. It is still uneasy to handle these situations but it is important that we acknowledge what is going on in the world around us.
- “Famous Third Culture Kids.” Third Culture Kids / Global Nomads – Lewis & Clark, https://www.lclark.edu/offices/international/third_culture_kids/famous/
- Thompson, Craig. “Barack Obama, TCK President.” Clearing Customs, 28 May 2018, https://clearingcustoms.net/2012/06/29/barack-obama-tck-president/
- Van Reken, Ruth. “Who Are Cross Cultural Kids?” Cross Cultural Kids, https://www.crossculturalkid.org/who-are-cross-cultural-kids/