“I’m saying yeah, I might not get the breaks on the team that some guys get, but they play like white boys do, and that’s the style the coach likes to play, and they’re winning the way they play. I don’t play that way.” (pg74) In the conversation between him and Ray we can clearly distinguish the two boy’s personalities. Obama is more mellow and sophisticated while Ray is the complete opposite, Obama slowly learns that in the world they live in it’s better to conform to other people’s standards. It’s obvious enough that in the story Obama is the one slowly finding his identity constantly battling the concept of what it means to be black in America.
“I couldn’t croon like Marvin Gaye, but I could learn to dance all the Soul Train steps. I couldn’t pack a gun like Shaft or Superfly, but I could sure enough curse like Richard Pryror.” (pg 78) This quote is significant to Obama’s development as a person because you can tell he’s trying hard to fit in with other’s. Unlike Ray who has found his identity Obama still struggles so he either tries to fit in or follows the crowd.
Obama learns about what it means to be abnormal in an area that can be considered normal. Identity is one one of the main factors in Obamas life because he’s constantly flip flopping between being his own man or following others just to do it. Character’s such as Ray is a foil to Obama for example, while one is erratic in thinking and saying Obamas is the opposite. Obama at the end learns to accept the world he lives in by perceiving in a way he want to.