“I remember when I went with momma to the washeteria
Remember there in school one day, I learned I was inferior”
– Erykah Badu
It has happened. The 44th President of the United States beginning January 20, 2009, will be a man who looks like me. A true African-American – born of an African man and a White American Woman. One of the most articulate, charismatic, intense, focused, genuine politicians I’ve ever seen. Whenever they show reels of him and his interaction with people, I hear Ozzie Davis’ voice in my head saying, “Did you ever talk to Brother Barack? Did you ever touch him, or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him?” – taking my bit of creative license. Because that’s the power and leadership and love that he exudes. He really shakes your hand and interacts with you. He seems amazing. I hope to get to meet him one day.
I cried on the couch when they “projected” that he would be the next President of the USA. Because of SO MANY REASONS. Because they told me that we would NEVER see this day in our lifetime. Because I’ve spent a LIFETIME searching for role models beyond atheletes and rap stars. Because they DID tell me in school that Negroes were inferior… and I was sitting right there… so I fought all my life to be Better. Stronger. Faster. Smarter. Quicker. Prettier. Wittier. Fly-ER. Just so I could be considered on an even keel with those who get the spoils with less work. At 34 years old, I sat across from a woman who told me that I’m “so well spoken”… because she didn’t expect it from US. Just like Chris Rock said…
‘…you get racism at all levels,’ he goes on, straight-faced, explaining that he lives in a New Jersey neighborhood of $3 million houses. The only black people living there are himself, Mary J Blige, Jay-Z and Denzel Washington. ‘One of the greatest R&B singers of all time, one of the greatest rappers in the world, one of the finest actors in the world,’ Rock says. ‘The white guy who lives next door to me – he’s a dentist. He’s not even, like, the best dentist in the world, he’s not in the dentists’ Hall of Fame or anything. I had to host the fucking Oscars to get that house!’ His voice went so high it sounded in danger of breaking. ‘For him to be the dentist equivalent he would have had to invent teeth! Black man gotta fly to get the shit the white man can just walk to,’ he says, shaking his head.
I knew it would be an uphill battle just to reach the level of THEIR playing field.
All of this to say to non-Black America: You are going to see a lot of African-Americans and Caribbean-Americans and Black-Americans and Of-Colored-Skin-Americans prop up flags in their windows and on their yards. Maybe even rock a lapel pin. Some of us might actually look prouder now when the National Anthem is sung. Or even go so far as to say that for the “first time” in their lives, they’re Proud to be American. It’s not as a slight at all. Try not to look at the side where you feel they’re really saying that they’ve been ungrateful for America all the years leading up. Instead… try to see how the Obamas in the White house is a realization of a dream and an affirmation to us all over the nation… around the world… that The Dream never died. It was dormant, that’s for sure. But the Hope of doing more for ourselves, doing better for our family…. actually ACHIEVING the American Dream seems closer than it ever was because we watched one of our own do it RIGHT in front of us… IN our lifetime. It’s not just talk any more. We have the EVIDENCE of it being real and the PROOF of what we’ve hoped for.
It’s beyond a Dream… it’s becoming, for us, a REALITY.
Thank you Barack. Thank you America.