Is a Black President Ready for America?
Obama and the Revelation of Racism
Min. Paul Scott
The date is November 5, 2008 and Barack Obama, who has just been elected president of the United States, heads to the jewelry store to buy his wife a trinket of appreciation for her support. He enters the store and the sales person doesn't acknowledge him. "Well, she must be preoccupied," he thinks as he leaves. He tries to hail a cab but the driver speeds away, splashing mud on his new suit. "Poor guy must be in a hurry," Obama rationalizes as he heads into Denny's to grab a quick bite. After waiting 45 minutes to get a seat, he heads for the exit, accidentally bumping into an elderly man who mumbles a barely audible racial epithet. "Hm, I wonder why that nice gentleman thought that I was "Nigerian" he ponders as a white family who just arrived at the restaurant is immediately seated...
While many have posed the question over the last year whether or not America is ready for Obama, the real question is whether Obama, with his colorblind message of Peace, Love and Happiness is ready to face the reality of institutionalized racism still present in America in the upcoming months.
As the possibility of America's first black president goes from being a pipe dream to a probability, it is sure to open up the Pandora's Box of racism that is padlocked in the hearts of even the most liberal minded white folks. Kinda like the cool white dude who, even though he donates money every year to the United Negro College Fund, goes ballistic when his daughter brings her black boyfriend home to dinner for the first time.
(Personally, I'm just waiting for Hillary to drop the N word, accidentally during the heat of battle.)
Let's face it. A white president is one of the two things that America holds sacred, with a white Jesus running a close second.
Just because young white kids buy the majority of Snoop Dog CD's does not mean that their parents are gonna welcome a black resident into the White House.
A black mayor, maybe or even a black senator but the head of the free world? Don't be ridiculous!
Some will argue that a black president will upset what they call the "natural balance of nature," whites on top, blacks on the bottom. Also, known as the "master/slave" relationship.
The aesthetic beauty, alone, of a black president will create a sense of empowerment in African Americans, cutting across economic and social boundaries. How will CEO Bob Whitman react on November 5th if Tyrone Jackson, who has been vice president for 20 years loudly announces that, "It's time to make some changes 'round here !" Or when Shawanda who usually brings him his coffee every morning with a smile tells him that it ain't in her job description and he should fix it his darn self !
The possibilities boggle the mind.
Even without using race as a platform can the Obama campaign avoid inspiring a heightened sense of black awareness as an unattended by- product such as the '84 and '88 Rev. Jesse Jackson campaign which, arguably, gave energy to a black cultural renaissance courtesy of Spike Lee movies and Public Enemy rap records?
Also, will black Hip Hop artists be able to again use slogans like "Vote or Die" if Obama gets the Democratic nod without being charged with promoting "reverse racism" by the talking heads on Fox News?