Tuesday, May 21, 2024

What Barack Represents to All Americans…

November 11, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) It was truly a powerful feeling to watch history in the making.

Some said it could never occur, but it did.

A Black man was elected president of the United States, a place where racism is as entrenched as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.

The mere election of Barack Obama to president means that things have changed.

There are a few things that we can speculate on in never ending circles, but there had to be change in order for such a thing to occur.

Amongst those changes are the throngs of young voters who believe that the world can change and become better.

The change that they are focusing on is the independent thinking and action of a man who is tied by blood to the majority race as well as the most oppressed minority race, and so is perhaps best able to represent the broadest base of interests of the nation.

And it took a real shift in attitude and racial perspective to make that happen.

I believe the world will recognize this shift and accordingly, hate America less.

The world will view America with less loathing knowing that it opened the highest office in the land to a member of the once lowest group of the oppressed. That view will make the nation less hypocritical when it judges the actions of other nations in its self-appointed job of world police.

Those changes are real and are already taking place.

But in this election, there was another crucial change.

For the first time in my lifetime, white people came together with people of color to effect real change.

I know this because people of color didn’t and perhaps couldn’t have created the climate of change alone.

This event took the cooperation of everyone.

Remember—Obama didn’t beat McCain by any small margin, but by a landslide victory.

That victory was real and the unified effort it took was also real.

In the coming months, the nation will reveal its true self based on the expectations of the new president and his actions after taking the oath of office.

For whites who hold on to racist ideas and expectations, the belief is that America has finally made good on a promissory note of equality and it’s very founding premise that “All men are created equal.” For them, no other actions have to take place, because all things are now level and fair in their eyes.

But people who have their eyes, ears and minds open already know that it will take more than the symbolism of a Black president to create intrinsic equality for all Black people.

Yet, racist whites are not the only Americans under delusions of what Obama’s presidency will mean to the nation.

Many African Americans are also deluded.

For some, President-Elect Barack Obama is all things.

For others, he is the physical embodiment of hopes and dreams.

But for others, he is a nightmare waiting to happen.

Let’s examine these three scenarios.

In the “All Things” scenario, some Blacks will expect Obama to deliver everything that will make them whole, including Reparations, the end of racism and a level playing field in the workplace.

Now, any thinking person realizes that these things can never be on the top of the agenda of a man who is the leader of the free world, because he must first and foremost pay attention to the things that are dragging the nation to the status of third world nation.

In addition, he can not afford to have a “Black” agenda, because he is not the president of Black people, but of all people, which means that he can not show favoritism to Black people, because they were not the only group who voted for him.

In the second scenario, Obama can not be the hopes and dreams for everyone.

The symbolism of a Black president must be employed for Blacks who will then take their own initiative to progress and make things better for themselves. Through unity and cooperative effort, African Americans can rise to higher heights than ever before—even from the depths to which we have fallen over the past forty years.

In that scenario, I find my own pride and optimism. My son will grow up knowing that all things are possible and will make full use of that knowledge, along with the self-pride and initiative I will instill in him.

My son will grow up with the racial pride in having a man who looks like him leading the world. He will understand that even though there remain vestiges of institutional racism, the nation changed enough to allow coalition building to propel a man who looks like him to the highest office in the land.

Yet my son will grow up to learn that his hopes and dreams can not be hinged on one man, but on himself and his own desires and hard work.

In the final scenario, Obama will become a nightmare.

The nightmare will haunt the dark dreams of both stupid, racist whites and ignorant Black Americans.

Stupid, racist white Americans will be haunted by the nightmare created by their own attempt to cash in on Obama’s ascension to the highest office in the land and withdraw a pass for institutionalized racism. Their new message designed to excuse hatred and racial preference is that if Barack Obama can become president, then there is no longer a reason for the nation to pay attention to historical white privilege.

Such a message will become a nightmare when it is shoved right back up the ass it comes from.

Barack Obama is one man. And while his election clearly demonstrates progress in terms of race relations, the effects have yet to ripple through the fabric of the nation where white privilege is deeply entrenched.

My question to stupid racists is this: “Can I go to the bank and tout Obama’s presidency when I am turned down for a loan when a white man with similar credit and financial standing is approved?”

The answer, of course is no. And further questions will involve contemporary violence against Blacks, including the savage treatment found at the hands of police officers around the nation.

Some of those stupid racists have Black faces.

Obama’s presidency will also become a nightmare for some Black Americans who ignorantly believe that he owes Blacks any more than he owes the rest of the nation.

These fools will eventually turn on Obama when they realize that he will not race bait in the fashion of Jesse “Cut The Nuts” Jackson. And, for them, his candidacy will be disappointing and depressing.

But for clear-minded Americans who are focused on the future and who care about the entire nation of divergent people, President Barack Obama can be used as a shining symbol of hope for change.

All of us can take pride in what I believe he will deliver as Commander-In Chief, which will include increased national pride, an improved economy for most of us and better foreign relations, which is better for the world.

President Barack Obama can not be all things to all people, but he can be some very good things to most of us if we allow him to.

Please stand by. The world has now changed.

Written By Darryl James

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