Fifth graders usually have wild imaginations so this story doesn’t surprise me. For me, it doesn’t really reveal anything sinister either because of how young Obama was.
It does suggest, however, Obama’s struggle of self-identification and struggle to cope with being deserted by his mother at a young age.
Kristen Caldwell, is Obama’s former classmate in Hawaii and said:
My understanding is that Barry was on a scholarship. And a lot of times if you’re on scholarship you had to do some work at the school.
I understand that he told his fifth-grade class that he was Kenyan royalty, but I never heard that story until years later. My sister and I remember very clearly that he was an Indonesian prince and that he would be going back there. So there was some reference to where he had come from, and the understanding was his family was there.
I can only imagine now, a 10-year-old leaving his mother and stepfather and at that point I think baby stepsister. So he lived in Hawaii from when he was born until he was 6, lived in Indonesia from 6 to 10. Arriving in Hawaii — again, having not been there — I would think he would have felt very, very fish-out-of-water, very uncomfortable, and like anybody, he’d have to have a little bit of bravado to mask the insecurities. So I think that was the prince story.