BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new biography entitled “Rising Star: The Making Of Barack Obama,” says the 44th President of the United States proposed to another girlfriend before he met former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Apparently, Sheila Miyoshi Jager’s parents objected to the would-be winter of 1986 engagement, because they thought their daughter was too young and, ironically, were concerned about Obama’s professional prospects.
The book also alludes to the fact that one of the reasons the relationship (which continued past the failed proposal) ultimately didn’t work out was because of the former president’s focus on fully embracing the identity of an African-American politician.
Jager is of of Dutch and Japanese descent.
“I remember very clearly when this transformation happened, and I remember very specifically that by 1987, about a year into our relationship, he already had his sights on becoming president,” Jager told the book’s author, David Garrow.
Garrow previously won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“For black politicians in Chicago, [Garrow] writes, a non-African-American spouse could be a liability,” a Washington Post review of the book reads.
“[Garrow] cites the example of Richard H. Newhouse Jr., a legendary African American state senator in Illinois, who was married to a white woman and endured whispers that he ‘talks black but sleeps white.’…And Carol Moseley Braun, who during the 1990s served Illinois as the first female African American U.S. senator and whose ex-husband was white, admitted that ‘an interracial marriage really restricts your political options.'”
In 1988, Obama enrolled in Harvard Law School. In June 1989, he met Michelle while working as a summer associate at a Chicago law firm. They got engaged in 1991 and married in 1992.
Jager, 53, is now an associate professor and director of the East Asian program at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she lives with her husband and children.