Strangers in Their Own Land

Strangers in Their Own Land

by

Arlie Russell Hochschild

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President Barack Obama Character Analysis

The 44th President of the United States, who was in office for the duration of Hochschild’s fieldwork in Louisiana. Many Tea Partiers saw Obama as both himself a ‘cutter’ in the line for the American dream and a leader who would prioritize the line cutters over themselves. They were variously suspicious of his true religion, his affinity for the EPA and refugees, and how he could have ‘risen’ from his single parent upbringing to Ivy League universities and the Presidency. Hochschild carefully emphasizes his middle name, Hussein, to reflect her acquaintances’ distrust for him.
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President Barack Obama Character Timeline in Strangers in Their Own Land

The timeline below shows where the character President Barack Obama appears in Strangers in Their Own Land. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1 – Traveling to the Heart
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
...has been especially strong among white Southerners; in Louisiana, only 14% of whites voted for Obama and more congressional representatives have joined the Tea Party Caucus than any other state. (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
...to church, adherence to mainline Tea Party views, and suspicion of the poor and President Obama. But Louisiana was still a world apart from Berkeley, from the aisles of Bibles in... (full context)
Chapter 3 – The Rememberers
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...and family values,” they even voted for Louisiana’s Republican governor Bobby Jindal, who accused President Obama of “holding our economy hostage” with environmental protection standards and who cut $1.6 billion from... (full context)
Chapter 4 – The Candidates
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
The Environment and the Economy Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...commercial seafood in the Gulf of Mexico and put 90,000 fishermen out of work. President Obama imposed a moratorium on drilling after the accident, since BP was using unproven technology, and... (full context)
Chapter 9 – The Deep Story
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...the rules, and taking advantage of affirmative action. It seems to Louisiana conservatives that even Barack and Michelle Obama rose up the ranks unfairly, overtaking the whites who were “supposed to... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...to enter the country or “snuck in” illegally, and their cheap labor lowers American wages. Obama is letting refugees in, but most are young men—maybe even terrorists—who are “poised to get... (full context)
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
How are these groups getting ahead? It appears that “President Barack Hussein Obama” is on the line cutters’ side, waving to them and “telling you that... (full context)
Chapter 10 – The Team Player: Loyalty Above All
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
...would “solve their own differences” and create democracies. Hochschild notes that many Louisianans panicked after Obama’s election, when they started to suspect that “he would take away people’s guns,” and stores... (full context)
Chapter 11 – The Worshipper: Invisible Renunciation
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
...her namesake but thinks today’s government “has gone rogue, corrupt, malicious, and ugly.” She thinks Obama is neither “a real Christian” nor “a true American” and has come to distrust the... (full context)
Chapter 14 – The Fires of History: The 1860s and the 1960s
Government Regulation and Individual Freedom Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
...time as its “carpetbaggers” moved South to profit from Reconstruction. The Civil Rights Movement and Obama’s presidency seemed like new iterations of the same pattern of domination by the North. (full context)
Chapter 15 – Strangers No Longer: The Power of Promise
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
Capitalism, Media, and Class Conflict Theme Icon
Personal Identity and Emotional Self-Interest Theme Icon
...conservatives felt like “a besieged minority,” united against the “line cutters” and their patron, President Obama. (full context)
Afterword to the Paperback Edition
Trust, Empathy, and Political Progress Theme Icon
...“Rich confuses talk with surrender and empathy with weakness.” In fact, many voters went for Obama and then Trump; many Trump supporters—a quarter—felt positively about Bernie Sanders and some initial Sanders... (full context)