- pages 106-107: Ann had left her infant daughter, Maya, in Jakarta with a servant—a choice that startled [Elizabeth] Bryant, unaccustomed as she was to Indonesian child-rearing. She wondered, too, why Ann, with an Indonesian husband, would consider moving [back] to the United States. Over lunch, Barry [Barack Obama] sat at the dining table and listened intently but did not speak. When he asked to be excused, Ann directed him to ask the hostess for permission. Permission granted, he got down on the floor and played with Bryant’s son, who was thirteen months old. After lunch, the group took a walk near Gadjah Mada University, with Barry running ahead. A flock of Indonesian children began lobbing rocks in his direction, ducking behind a wall and shouting racial epithets. He seemed unfazed, dancing around as though playing dodgeball “with unseen players,” Bryant remembered. Ann did not seem visibly to react. Assuming she must not have understood the words, Bryant offered to intervene. “No, he’s okay,” she remembered Ann saying. “He’s used to it.”
“I’ll tell you what both of us felt,” Bryant told me. “We were floored that she’d bring a half-black child to Indonesia, knowing the disrespect they have for blacks. It was unusually bad. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, they’re more racist than the U.S., by far.’ ” At the same time, she admired Ann for teaching her boy to be fearless. A child in Indonesia needed to be raised that way—for self-preservation, Bryant decided. Ann also seemed to be teaching Barry respect. He had all the politeness that Indonesian children displayed toward their parents. He seemed to be learning Indonesian ways.