I supported Obama during the 2008 US presidential campaign for his policies, intelligence, thoughtfulness and world view. That he will make history as my country's first self-identified black president is a tremendous bonus, though "bonus" seems too cheap a word.
Prior to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many African Americans were barred from voting; less than 50 years later, a man with African ancestry has been elected president. For black Americans, this is an undeniable sign of progress. A functional black family in the public eye can help "normalise" blackness in a society that still views us as "other". And I love having a fiercely intelligent, outspoken and beautiful black woman as first lady. Most of all, I appreciate what Obama means for younger generations.
Americans tout our egalitarian democracy to the world: anyone can be president, we say. But some of us know this isn't quite true. Ask the parents of little girls or gay teens or Muslim, Hindu or Jewish children whether they believe it is possible for their children to one day rule the nation. But now things might be different for little black boys. As my parents did for me, I will tell my son that he can be anything he wants to be. And I will have more confidence that this is true. This is good for my country. We can say that we are one step closer to achieving the ideals we hold dear.
One step closer, but not there yet. That is why my elation over an Obama presidency is tempered with worry. Read more...
Friday, January 16, 2009
Please head over to The Guardian's "Comment is Free" blog to read my post on the meaning of Obama's ascendancy. Leave a comment. And join me to further discuss this issue on The Best of What Tami Said, this Sunday at 4 p.m.