Meet Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Barack Obama’s first fiancée. Wait, wut? A first fiancée?

This new detail comes to us from the just-released biography on Barack Obama by David J. Garrow titled, “RISING STAR: The Making of Barack Obama”:

Why would she lie? According to the book, her being “of Dutch & Japanese” ancestry interfered with Obama’s political plans for the future:

You see, Obama wanted to “fully identify as African American” and he couldn’t do that with Jager by his side. From the WaPost:

In early 1987, when Obama was 25, she sensed a change. “He became. . . so very ambitious” very suddenly,” she told Garrow. “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.”

The sense of destiny is not unusual among those who become president. (See Clinton, Bill.) But it created complications. Obama believed that he had a “calling,” Garrow writes, and in his case it was “coupled with a heightened awareness that to pursue it he had to fully identify as African American.”

Although Obama did change his mind right before he headed off to law school and decided it was OK to marry Jager after all, but there was a catch. Jager had to give up her career for him:

Just days before he would depart for Harvard Law School — and when the relationship was already coming apart — Obama asked her to come with him and get married, “mostly, I think, out of a sense of desperation over our eventual parting and not in any real faith in our future,” Sheila explained to Garrow. At the time, she was heading to Seoul for dissertation research, and she resented his assumption she would automatically postpone her career for his. More arguments ensued, and each went their way, although not for good.

And there you have it. It wasn’t race that doomed the star-crossed couple — it was Obama’s misogyny.

Read the whole thing here.

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