Lorna Dianne Stookey
It cut deep, the aftermath of the 2008 election. I woke up to find racism splashed across the front page: “We finally got one of OURS in the White House.” Whose “ours” was he? He’s multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multiracial! He’s European American and African American. He’s “Everyman.” Could have been the best advertisement for America — we celebrate out diversity by electing him to be the President for EVERY ONE OF US! But no. Thenceforth, he was only and always called a ‘Black’ President, because he had brown skin. And despite my vote, I felt deep loss. History will record that he was the first “Black” President and overshadow any and all he has accomplished. Are we back to the days of, “The eighth crossing clears the blood?”
I wanted to scream out, “HE’S MY PRESIDENT, TOO!” But forget it. He’s clearly been claimed by his perceived race. News flash: if approximately 20% of Americans are Black, then it also took a he!!uva lot of “us” to elect him! Why are we still “us-ing” and “them-ing?”
I got on his website and typed out my message, “If it’s still all about race, then we’re still all wrong.” But for the last four years, every argument on the internet brands the dissenters “racist.” Seriously? All his other virtues, all the things that could be said in praise of him, and he’s only as good as half his racial heritage? My heart breaks. He’s at least as great an orator as Kennedy. He’s a visionary. He has a broader perspective to bring from experiencing other countries and cultures. His first campaign was all about successfully injecting hope back into the ordinary American citizen, hope of being heard, hope of everyone being counted as worthwhile, hope of ending the pseudo-aristocracy that has been formed by rampant capitalism and lifetime politicians, and hope of working together, heedless of race, to elect this fresh new face whose words resonated in the hearts of the citizenry. Anybody thought of that stuff lately? Nope, he’s only “Black,” and disagreement is equated to being a racist. How many centuries until we get to have a real dialogue??
Or is he still only allowed to be “black?”