Wednesday, November 05, 2008
America has Changed!
Wow! I am still almost speechless. When Barack Obama was pronounced the winner of Election 2008, I cried tears of joy. America is truly a changed place.
America has changed for the better. I credit movies and TV shows for helping lead to Obama's success. There was a time in Hollywood when blacks were protrayed as idiots, servants, slaves, and other menial things. Then they started being portrayed positively as doctors, teachers, lawyers, heroes, superheroes and even President of the United States. These images are subtly entrenched in our minds. Take this example, ask the older generations about Africa and the first thing that pops in their mind is Tarzan!
What I am really saying if that a new generation has grown up without the racism of the past. These kids have grown up in a diverse society where they see each other as equals. They don't mind living in a neighborhood with people who aren't the same color as they are. They don't mind being in the same classroom or attending sporting events together.
It's hard for a person who has not experienced racism to understand what the election of Barack Obama means. It's also painful for those who have experienced racism to hear white people saying, "get over it". Or people saying slavery happened 200 years ago. Well it may have ended but the repercussions are still felt in the treatment of blacks and other minorities in America today. So, yes it's tough to "get over it".
Most black people, including myself never imagined that a black man could or would be elected President of the United States of America in our lifetime. I have experienced racism, been called the n-word, been terrorized by the Klan. It was most profound when I lived in a small predominantly white town, in the midwest. I was privileged in the early 70's to get a decent education at a white school in which there were only 7 black kids out of 980. The teachers and the principal especially were openly racist. When I think back on that, I can only imagine how it must have been for Obama and his mom.
During the camapign pockets of racism emerged. People used the n-word liberally to describe Obama and declared that they could never live in a country led by an n-word. The internet was filled with racists hiding behind anonymity spewing hate. At one point people were saying that America was descending back to the Civil Rights era because of all the hate that was emerging. Old wounds were reopened and people asked would change really ever be possible in America. Would people attitudes towards race really change?
When I watched the results last night and saw tears in the eyes of Oprah, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Roland Martin and others, it was a momentus moment. History was made and a change has come. What will the people who have condemned America as a racist country now say. I say change is possible, change has happened. This is a new diverse America. I hope our ancestors are watching from the heavens to see that a change has taken place in America.
Now that Obama has been elected, I am sure that in the future we will see Presidents of Latino and Asian descent as well. This is the work of the melting pot. There may even come a day when one day Americans don't see themselves by the color of their skin but just as 'AMERICANS'.