Janny Scott

  • Aired:  06/14/11
  •  | Views: 19,534

Janny Scott thinks the real story of Barack Obama's mother is far more interesting than the oversimplified version. (6:28)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT HAS WRITTEN A

BOOK ABOUT BARACK OBAMA'S MOTHER

CALLED "A SINGULAR WOMAN."

WHAT A COINCIDENCE.

I READ A SINGULAR PAGE.

(LAUGHTER)

PLEASE WELCOME JANNEY SCOTT.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

THE NAME OF THE BOOK IS, AS I

SAID "A SINGULAR WOMAN: THE

UNFOLD STORY OF BARACK OBAMA'S

MOTHER."

WHAT IS THE UNTOLD STORY AND IS

IT POSSIBLY A SCANDAL THAT HIS

OPPONENTS CAN USE AGAINST HIM IN

2012?

(LAUGHTER)

>> NO, THE IDEA OF THE TITLE IS

THAT WE KNOW A LOT ABOUT BARACK

OBAMA'S FATHER.

HE WROTE A MEMOIR ALMOST

ENTIRELY "DREAMS FOR MY FATHER."

BUT HE SAID VERY LITTLE ABOUT

HIS MOTHER.

>> Stephen: DID SHE HAVE NO

DREAMS?

>> I BELIEVE SHE PROBABLY DID.

ALL WE'VE REALLY KNOWN ABOUT

CHER THAT SHE WAS THE WHITE

WOMAN FROM KANSAS, THE WHITE

MOTHER FROM KANSAS ALWAYS PAIRED

TO THE BLACK FATHER FROM KENYA.

DURING THE CAMPAIGN WE HEARD

ABOUT HER AS THE SINGLE MOTHER

ON FOOD STAMPS OR, YOU KNOW, THE

IDEALISTIC WOMAN WHO WENT OFF

THE INDONESIA AND THAT'S THE

VERSION HE TELLS IN THE BOOK.

>> Stephen: THE BRAVE WOMAN WHO

RAISED HER CHILD IN KENYA

(LAUGHTER)

>> EXACTLY.

WE HAVE HEARD THAT STORY.

IN FACT, THE REAL STORY IS FAR

MORE INTERESTING THAN

OVERSIMPLIFIED VERSION WE'RE

AWARE OF.

THIS WAS A PERSONALLY WHO WAS

THOROUGHLY UNCONVENTIONAL.

OVER AND OVER MADE REMARKABLE

CHOICES THAT WOULD BE HARD TO

MAKE EVEN NOW BUT THIS IS BACK

IN THE '60s.

YOU KNOW, SHE AT 17 CONCEIVED A

CHILD WITH AN AFRICAN MAN AND

MARRIED HIM AT A TIME WHEN THERE

WERE NEARLY TWO DOZEN STATES

WITH LAWS AGAINST INTERRACIAL

MARRIAGE.

SHE THEN WENT OFF TO INDONESIA

WITH HIM AT AGE SIX WITH HER

SONS, HAD MARRIED AN INDONESIAN

MAN.

SHE WENT TO INDONESIA AT A TIME

OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL UPHEAVAL

IN THAT COUNTRY.

SO OVER AND OVER AGAIN SHE MADE

REMARKABLE CHOICES AND HER STORY

SAYS A LOT OF LIFE... SHEDS

LIGHT ON THE PRESIDENT, THE

PERSON WHO I THINK MANY

AMERICANS DON'T FULLY

UNDERSTAND.

>> Stephen: WHAT DROVE HER TO DO

THESE THINGS?

IF IT WAS SUCH AN UNUSUAL THING,

WHY WOULD SHE GO TO INDONESIA?

>> I THINK SHE REALLY... SHE

FELL IN LOVE WITH AN INDONESIAN

IS WHAT HAPPENED.

SHE FELL IN LOVE FIRST WITH AN

AFRICAN, THAT MARRIAGE BLEW UP

VERY QUICKLY.

SHE THEN FELL IN LOVE WITH AN

INDONESIAN AND HE HAD TO GO BACK

TO INDONESIA, SHE WENT WITH HIM

AND DISCOVERED A FASCINATING

COUNTRY WHERE SHE FOUND HER SORT

OF... HER FUTURE CAREER AS AN

ANTHROPOLOGIST AND LATER IN

DEVELOPMENT AND IN MICROFINANCE.

SO SHE WAS A PERSON WHO WAS VERY

OPEN KIND OF EMOTIONALLY AND

INTELLECTUALLY AND ALLOWED

HERSELF TO BE TAKEN PLACES BY

THAT.

>> Stephen: WAS SHE A FEMINIST?

>> I THINK IT WOULD BE SAFE TO

SAY THAT.

BUT SHE DIDN'T ADHERE TO LABELS.

SHE DIDN'T CHOOSE ANY LABELS.

IN FACT, ONE PERSON SAID TO ME

THE ONLY LABEL SHE EVER EMBRACED

WAS ANTHROPOLOGIST.

>> HER OWN SON SAID SHE WAS A

LEFTY.

>> I DON'T KNOW IF THAT'S QUITE

HOW HE PUT IT.

>> I THINK HE DID.

I THINK HE SAID SHE WAS A LEFTY

BOMB THROWER.

(LAUGHTER)

>> THERE WAS NO....

>> Stephen: YOU DON'T MARRY A

KENYAN AND YOU DON'T MARRY AN

INDONESIAN IF YOU'RE

PRO-AMERICA.

A LOT OF GUYS OVER HERE, YOU

KNOW WHAT I MEAN?

WHAT'S WRONG WITH SOME KANSAS

GUYS?

KIND OF INSULTING TO ALL OF US

HERE, US GUYS WHO....

>> Stephen: SHE ACTUALLY WHILE

SHE WAS BORN IN KANSAS SHE NEVER

REALLY LIVED MUCH OF HER LIFE IN

KANSAS AND SHE ENDED UP IN

HAWAII WHERE THESE THINGS

HAPPEN.

HAWAII IS A VERY DIFFERENT KIND

OF SOCIETY THAN EVEN CONTINENTAL

UNITED STATES AT THE TIME.

VERY MULTIETHNIC, NO RACIAL

MAJORITY.

WHAT DROVE HER IS A SET OF

CIRCUMSTANCES.

SHE WASN'T SOME KIND OF

VISIONARY.

I DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT SHE WAS

PARTICULARLY LEFTY.

AND SHE CERTAINLY WASN'T

ANTI-AMERICAN.

SHE REMAINED AN AMERICAN CITIZEN

FOR HER ENTIRE CAREER.

SHE SPENT THE BULK OF HER... THE

MAJORITY OF HER ADULT LIFE IN

INDONESIA, BUT NEVER GAVE UP HER

CITIZENSHIP.

>> Stephen: DID SHE RAISE BARACK

OBAMA OR WAS IT HIS

GRANDPARENTS?

>> NO, SHE DID.

SHE WAS THE DOMINANT INFLUENCE.

CERTAINLY IN THE FIRST....

>> Stephen: BUT SHE LEFT HIM

BEFIND THE UNITED STATES AND

WENT BACK OVER TO INDONESIA.

>> THAT'S SORT OF THE

OVERSIMPLIFIED VERSION.

SHE WAS IN INDONESIA WITH HIM

WHEN HE WAS TEN, SHE WANTED HIM

TO HAVE AN ENGLISH LANGUAGE

EDUCATION SHE COULDN'T GET

THERE.

SHE SENT HIM BACK TO HER PARENTS

SO HE COULD GO TO A GREAT

SCHOOL.

SHE JOINED HIM, STAYED WITH HIM

UNTIL HE WAS CLOSE TO HIGH

SCHOOL, THEN SHE HAD GOTTEN TO A

POINT WHETHER W HER GRADUATE

WORK IN PURSUIT OF HER Ph.D.

WHERE SHE HAD TO GO BACK TO

INDONESIA AND HE DIDN'T WANT TO

GO.

AND HE STAYED WITH HER PARENTS

FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND SHI DID GO

BACK THERE.

I THINK A LOT OF AMERICANS FIND

THAT HARD TO SWALLOW.

>> Stephen: I DO.

(LAUGHTER)

>> SHE WAS JUGGLING A NUMBER OF

CONFLICTING OBLIGATIONS.

>> Stephen: SHE JUST SEEMS LIKE

SOMEBODY, YOU KNOW, HEY, LISTEN,

I DON'T WANT TO STEREOTYPE, BUT

SOMEBODY WHO LEAVES THEIR CHILD

BEHIND TO, YOU KNOW, PURSUE

THEIR OWN PERSONAL GOALS: LOOK,

YES, I WORK VERY HARD, I PURSUE

MY OWN PERSONAL GOALS, I HAVE A

VAGUE SENSE THAT I HAVE THREE

CHILDREN.

(LAUGHTER)

BUT I'M A GUY, OKAY?

AND I'M BRINGING HOME THE BACON.

DON'T WOMEN-- AND, AGAIN, I

DON'T WANT TO STEREOTYPE AND I

AM AS MUCH OF A FEMINIST AS ANY

GUY WHO DOESN'T SUPPORT FEMINIST

CAUSES.

(LAUGHTER)

BUT ISN'T IT... ISN'T THERE A

SPECIAL TUG ON A WOMAN TO BE

WITH YOUR CHILD?

AND SHE DIDN'T DO THAT.

>> NO, SHE WAS WITH HER CHILD.

>> Stephen: YOU JUST SAID SHE

WASN'T FOR A LOT OF IT.

>> NO, ACTUAL PLAY I SAID WAS

SHE WAS WITH HIM FOR THE FIRST

13 YEARS OF HIS LIFE BUT THEN IN

HIGH SCHOOL....

>> Stephen: THE KEY, FORMATIVE

HIGH SCHOOL YEARS.

>> PERHAPS, PERHAPS NOT.

MANY PEOPLE SEND THEIR CHILDREN

TO BOARDING SCHOOL.

PEOPLE WHO ARE ABROAD.

SHE MADE A CHOICE TO SEND HIM TO

HER PARENTS FOR A PARTICULARLY

GOOD SCHOOL.

>> Stephen: LISTEN, YOU'RE A

WOMAN.

WOMEN JUDGE OTHER WOMEN, RIGHT?

HARSHLY.

HARSHLY.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: HOW DO YOU... GIVE

ME YOUR JUDGMENT ON THIS PERSON.

(LAUGHTER)

>> HEY, I'M A JOURNALIST, YOU

KNOW?

MY JOB WAS TO WRITE HER STORY

AND TO PUT IT OUT THERE.

>> Stephen: YOU WON'T JUDGE HER?

>> I THINK SHE'S A FASCINATING

CHARACTER AND I THINK SHE SHEDS

A LOT OF LIGHT ON THE PRESIDENT

AND TO UNDERSTAND HER STORY IS

TO UNDERSTAND HIM BETTER.

I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU SHE

WAS A GREAT MOTHER OR TERRIBLE

MOTHER.

THAT'S UP TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO

READ THE BOOK.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: THEY HAVE TO BUY THE

BOOK FIRST.

>> THAT WOULD BE GOOD.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING US.

JANNEY SCOTT.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

THE BOOK IS "A SINGULAR WOMAN:

THE UNFOLD STORY OF BARACK

OBAMA'S MOTHER."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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