Sunday, January 18, 2009

Barack Obama: A Racial Stepping Stone?

As we all know by now, Tuesday, Inauguration Day, brings with it an historical moment in US history, the first African-American President. Before the election, and since, we have seen African-Americans across this land and even in other countries smile with pride as they await this history-changing event. I too watched the night Obama was elected, and I felt a little bit of that pride. Every time I saw the camera pan to an older African-American person, I would think to myself, "What joy must be coming to that person." When I saw the camera pan to a young African-American child, I thought, "What hope must come to that child. He can now really believe he can be anything he wants to be." I admit, being a White American, I DO NOT understand the true feelings that go on in a person of color's mind and being! I can't! I grew up in a middle class white household, and I realize the advantage I have because of that; not necessarily because of my own doings, but because I just happened to be born in the family I was.
One of the things I have heard time and time again from the African-Americans interviewed on TV is that they never really thought this day would come. Donna Brazile said the other day on CNN that even though her parents told her as a child that she could grow up to be anything she wanted, Brazile said as soon as her parents left the room, she and the other children knew they were lying. They were Black, and could not really be anything they wanted. An African-American coworker and I were discussing the "patriotism" that is pounded into American children from the time they are very young that the US is the best country in the world and that nobody compares to Americans. She stated to me that in her culture that was not the case. She was told first and foremost that she was Black, American second. I hear this quite often.
So, why was Barack Obama, an African-American, not told this? Or, if he was, why did Barack Obama not believe it? What makes Barack Obama different, and why is his time now? Could it be that Barack Obama grew up in a White household? Perhaps, much like my life, Obama was not told he was black first, but he was an American. Maybe Barack Obama, like me, was told he could be anything he wanted, and Obama believed that. What if Barack Obama had been raised by two African-American parents with African-American grandparents? Would he be where he is today?
Is Barack Obama a racial stepping stone? Is the fact that Barack Obama, part African-American, and part White American, what has put him in the position historically he is in? Would America have been ready to elect an "all African-American" President? There have been other African-American individuals try to be elected President, but they never made it very far.
Will Barack Obama pave the way for a future African-American President. I hope so! I hope that by electing Barack Obama, all White Americans will finally realize that color is only skin deep!


Anonymous said...

No matter what color President Obama's skin is, no matter what his heritage is, he is the President that we so desperatelty need, now. I do think that the race/color barriers in the US are finally being broken.

But, as historic and wonderful as that may be about our current President, he is still also someone who is in tune with our highest ideals.

Indeed, he is in tune with the highest ideals, and also with the most basic needs, of our world. Is there a President anywhere else in this world, who has garnered as much love and goodwill among our globe, as has Barack Obama?

Perhaps karmically, the US president who will bring our world together, who truly walks the high road, is both an African American, and someone with an international heritage, because the world needs to know, and needs to elevate, the people who have suffered for so long under an unjust European colonial rule.

Perhaps only in the heritage of someone who has relatives who have known both slavery and have been slave holders, as well as known and lived in the cultures of other lands, could someone like Obama-Obama--Obama(sorry, just chanting what I heard and yelled, on Inauguration day ;))

have apppeared. He is truly cosmopolitan. and the fact that he is eloquent, intelligent, a terrific orator, and tall, dark and handsome, well.....

It really is not just a black white issue, though. That is old school. It is about globalization.

But how wonderously proud all of those African American's, who suffered such horrible atrocities under a racist white Amerika, just a few short years ago, must feel---that it is someone who carries their enormous sacrifices, thier wondrous achievements, thier sense of faith and solidarity, thier continous path to the high road, that it is one of thier sons, who will lead not just the US, but the world, to a better future, to the best of all possible worlds, how wonderful a feeling that must be.

Barack Hussein Obama is indeed a special person; let us all take the high road, as he does, and see what we can do to help him, and help our world. Forget the other stuff. Work the best that we can for what is right for everyone.

mommanator said...

very insiteful