Last night, millions of people across the country celebrated as Barack Obama was re-elected as president of the United States of America. And no one may have appreciated the moment more than the African American community. My mom, dad, and sister called me to celebrate…we all just had to connect for this historical occasion.
You see, President Obama’s presidency has a very significant meaning for our community. After all of the years of slavery, discrimination, and racism; after all of the years of struggling to be seen as a human beings even; and after all of the years of fighting for our civil rights (including the right to vote), we now have a Black man holding the highest office in our country. And we are excited.
After the results were announced, Lamar and I did what many excited people do in this day and age: we posted updates on Facebook and Twitter. Last night, we posted a picture of the first family on our Facebook page and it incited an all-out race war. I can understand comments from the Romney supporters that just don’t agree with Obama’ s policies or his performance. Hey, if Romney had won, I would be disappointed too, and concerned about the direction our country was headed toward. And I just shake my head at the really ignorant, racist comments like the ones about fried chicken, watermelon, food stamps, welfare, and being lazy (because there were a lot of them). But the ones that got under my skin the most were the ones that told me that I should not label our president as Black because it’s time for us to give up labels and to become one.
“The president isn’t black!!! Do your research. Just because his wife is black doesn’t make him black.”
“Why doesn’t he claim his true race? His is not African American he is multi racial. I see one black person in this picture and that is the First Lady. Another misleading call made by this president.”
Whether he is half black, partial black, has one drop of black blood, it’s makes no difference to me. A man that is a descendent of indigenous African people is in the White House. And after all of what we have been through, that is HUGE to African Americans.
The image of Barack Obama and his family in the White House is very valuable to many African Americans. Our kids can look at those images and know that anything is possible for someone that looks like them. They can dream and aspire to be and do anything in this country, even be the president. It represents how strong and resilient we are as a people, and that the struggle was not for nothing. Just think…for part of their lives, my grandparents could not vote. For part of their lives, my own parents had to live through segregation.
Am I supposed to imagine that Latinos won’t have immense pride when the first Latino president enters the White House? What about an Asian president and the excitement that would spark in their community? Catholics felt a sense of pride when John F. Kennedy took office, and without doubt Mormons would have felt the same feeling if things had turned out differently last night. But the Black community should be different, right? Wrong!
So go sit down somewhere and stop trying to rain our parade. And don’t tell me that if the tables were turned, and it took hundreds of years for someone that looks like you to get into the White House, that you would not be celebrating.
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