BREAKING BARRIERS

For Obama, Race a Personal Matter

History is a lonely place. It’s a lesson President Obama has learned as the first black commander in chief, rarely reflecting in conversation on that role, according to those who know him. After nearly four years as president, Obama has grown only slightly more comfortable speaking publicly about himself as an important figure in the history of African-American life, and he has not often done so during a campaign season in which racial tensions sometimes simmered close to the surface. “Tragically, it seems the president feels boxed in by his blackness,” said television host Tavis Smiley.