President Elect Obama Becomes President Obama In A Week
As the old-timers would say, "who'da thunk that?" Kind of amazing when you think about it, in the sense that there still is some element of racism in this country. Now I say that without having a bleeding heart beating inside my chest, but just as a rational statement based on actual experience. Oh, and I did vote the for guy, although that vote was more based on the fact that I didn't think John McCain would represent any real change for this country (especially given his choice of Gov. Palin for a running mate).
One of my biggest hopes for real social change with an Obama Administration is what I'm going to simplistically call the "de-sensitization" of race-relations in this country. What do I mean? Well, it's my real hope that people aren't going to view Obama as a "black" President (technically incorrect, as he is actually a "half-black" President), but instead let him stand as President based on his ideas and how he transforms those ideas into positive action. The fact that he is black has nothing to do with his intellectual capacity or ability to do the job. Sure, his experiences growing up as a minority in the United States certainly shaped his character, but those experiences didn't help him pass, for example the bar exam. No, it short-changes the man to think that he's going to be President because he is black (errrr half-black), as the man is the sum of many things, just as all people the sum of all they are.
So back to this "de-sensitization" thing. I think it's time we really do stop putting people in these neat little boxes for easy categorization. "African-American Male" "White Female" "Person of Color" Enough with the tattooed stamps on people's foreheads. Instead of "African-American Male" we have Barrack Obama the person. Instead of "White Female" we have Hillary Clinton the person. Let's view people for their talents and abilities, not for their chromosomal make-up.
Now does that mean we ignore things like race and gender tools used for discrimination? Hell no. If someone is harmed simply because of their race or gender then I absolutely believe that they should have the force of law behind them as they seek recourse. In fact, that notion agrees completely with what I've written above: people shouldn't be viewed as a race or a gender...positively or negatively.
I write this as a member of the "privileged class", being a white male. But wait a minute. Let me list all of the times I've gotten a leg-up because I was a white male.
Short list, huh? In fact I don't think I've ever had someone take my "under their wing" for any reason, let alone my race or my gender. In fact, growing up relatively not-well off (you could say we were poor growing up) to the extent I have anything, it's because I've worked hard and tried to use the talents and abilities I have been given, which takes me actually back to the President Elect, who I believe has gotten where has for the same (all be it with far more talent than me) reasons. Again, why short-change the man?
So here's to the President Elect, who next week makes one giant step for all Americans when he takes the oath of office. Let's hope that years from now people will talk about what Barack Obama accomplished, with the color of his skin just being a passing comment.