Have you ever noticed how some white Americans go all giddy around some pompous ass with a British accent? I suspect that in the late 1980s Obama saw that some Chicago blacks acted the same way around educated black African immigrants. It was during this period that those like Jesse Jackson were pushing to have the collective moniker "African American" replace "black" in polite circles, and all things genuinely African were golden. An African birth would be the in thing on Chicago's South Side, where Obama was fashioning his political future.
One of those Chicago Blacks who went weak in the knees around a genuine African was Obama's Hyde Park neighbor and fellow progressive, State Representative Carol Moseley Braun. It actually became an issue late in Moseley Braun's 1992 US Senate race and was a large factor in her subsequent failure to get reelected in 1998. After her upset primary win in 1988 she hired on Kgosie Matthews, an immigrant from South Africa, as a $15,000 a month campaign adviser. As far as I can tell Matthews' credentials as a genuine African were his sole qualification for the job. He claimed to have been an advance person and chief of staff for Jesse Jackson's 1988 presidential campaign but the the New Republic's Ruth Shalit later totally demolished those claims. Matthews also became CMB's boyfriend later fiancé, and ultimately contributed to her downfall. From the start there were rumors that Matthews' first move was to squeeze out a lot of the women and white liberals who felt they had been responsible for her primary win and much of the momentum she had going into the general election in the Year of the Woman. Some of them accused him of sexually harassing them. Mismanagement almost swamped her late in the 1992 race. Afterwards came the official charges of Matthews having messed up her campaign's financial reporting.
Such are the perils of fashion.