Why This Photo Of A Young Boy Touching President Obama’s Hair Is So Important

On Monday night, first lady Michelle Obama delivered a mic-drop-worthy speech at the Democratic National Convention, full of quotable lines ("When they go low, we go high"), jabs at Donald Trump (without ever mentioning his name), and calls for citizens to get out there and ensure Hillary Clinton becomes the next president of the United States. During her speech, she recounted memories of her family's time in the White House, including one that has touched many Americans. "With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are the most important role model," Obama said. "Let me tell you, Barack and I take that same approach to our jobs as president and first lady because we know that our words and actions matter, not just to our girls but the children across this country. Kids who say, 'I saw you on TV,' 'I wrote the report on you for school.' Kids like the little Black boy who looked up at my husband, his eyes wide with hope, and he wondered, 'Is my hair like yours?'" That interaction — which shows President Obama bending down to allow 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia to touch his hair — was captured on film by White House photographer Pete Souza and has been hanging in the West Wing for years.
For some, this was simply a sweet snapshot of the President and a little boy. But for others, it meant more. David Axelrod, the President's longtime adviser, explained to The New York Times: "Really, what he was saying is, ‘Gee, you’re just like me.’ And it doesn’t take a big leap to think that child could be thinking, Maybe I could be here someday." Having a Black president in the Oval Office for the past eight years has given so many minority Americans exactly what he promised back when he first ran: hope. Hope that, if they work hard enough, they, too, could shatter glass ceilings. According to The New York Times, Jacob has a desire to be president one day (that, or a test pilot), and thanks to President Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, this is no longer a pipe dream for many boys and girls.

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