OPINION/POLITICS

This One’s For The Children

History was made last week. Barack Obama is the first African American man to receive the democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States. Wow. I know that this is profound but I realized just how profound while watching the news the other night. A little black girl who was about 8 years old was asked what she thought about Barack possibly becoming president. A big question for such a small person. But she said without hesitation, “It makes me feel good inside.”

I have to admit that a big statement from such a small person caught me off guard and my eyes filled with tears. I couldn’t help it. It was like a little epiphany. Things in this country ARE changing.

Truth Be Told… (I hope I am not being presumptuous when I say)…It is a new day.

I know that this is the same country that 142 years ago enslaved Africans for approximately 246 years. I know that African-Americans were not included in the constitution as people, but property. I am aware of the fact that African-Americans have been lynched, beaten, demeaned and treated badly in every possible way since 2/3 of us survived the “Middle Passage” and got off those ships of hell. I am also aware that we continue to be subjected to racism (both institutionalized and other), discrimination, racial profiling, beatings and killing by the police. I am not sure when these things will change, but that is not the new day that I speak of.

The new day that I am talking about is within our own minds about what we believe about ourselves. We may never truly see the effects of how the children who see Barack Obama running for president will be affected, and how it will change their lives in a positive way. I saw a glimmer of this light the other night.

I was online looking at Obama T-shirts and my godson, who is 3 years old, says without any prompting, “Obama’s president”…not Obama for president, but Obama is president. His little face seemed to light up. I don’t even really know if he knows what that means. But I realized in that moment that things may be better for my two beautiful African American/black godsons. Amen. Better because they will somehow see themselves differently. Perhaps they will believe that if a black man can run for president, then maybe they can do anything…regardless of racism, discrimination and all the other injustices.

I had a conversation with my father the other day about “black men.” One of the hardest things to be in this country is a Black Man (no disrespect to us black women who go through it too, but we have been able to be viewed as less of a threat to this country).

My father and I were discussing the fact that if you are a black man in this country after all that black men, specifically, have been through and you get up in the morning, go to work, do something productive, try to raise your children and live a productive life then you should be applauded.

Yes, these are things that you should do naturally, but after being beaten down for hundreds of years (literally and figuratively), I can understand a black man being tired. Sometimes you could get up angry and disappointed at the continued racism, discrimination, black on black crime, the fact that so many of our brothers are in prison. Think about it. This country spends more money on building prisons than education, and projections for the building of prisons is based on the 4th grade literacy rates, yet education is not a priority in this country. Institutionalized racism…don’t get me started. I’m sorry…I digress. The point is maybe not just African American/black children, but also those black men who are still being beaten down will see themselves differently.

I know that in this country, the media is now trying to say that Barack is mixed race instead of African-American. He is mixed, but this is about the half of him that is African-American/black. Truly, none of that matters. This is about the effects of his history making accomplishment. I am forever changed and inspired by what Barack Obama has accomplished. I am proud of him. Little black children all over this country, who are witnessing this, will also forever be changed. We, as a people, will forever be changed. This is beyond hope… this is inspiration…this is going against all