A recently unearthed essay co-written by Barack Obama in 1991 stated that the American dream is to be Donald Trump.
Penned while the former president was a graduate student at Harvard Law — with the help of fellow classmate Robert Fisher — “Race and Rights Rhetoric” summed up the American mindset as “a continuing normative commitment to the ideals of individual freedom and mobility, values that extend far beyond the issue of race in the American mind.”
“The depth of this commitment may be summarily dismissed as the unfounded optimism of the average American—I may not be Donald Trump now, but just you wait; if I don’t make it, my children will.”
The excerpt of that previously unpublished law school paper found its way inside Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama, the new 1,460-page biography written by Pulitzer Prize winning historian David Garrow that focuses on Obama’s early years.
The paper argued that black Americans should “shift away from rights rhetoric and towards the language of opportunity.”
Though Obama would later channel the “language of opportunity” during his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention that skyrocketed him into the public spotlight, his legacy has since been tarnished by criticisms of his failure to help African Americans.
Donald Trump is now President of the United States.
Davis Richardson is a writer whose work has appeared in VICE, Nylon Magazine, The Daily Caller, and WIRED. Follow him on Twitter.