Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Final Thoughts: Is America Ready for A Black President?

And. Here. We. Are. Just hours before the results come in (let’s hope). It’s been an amazing journey for us diehard Obama supporters. We have experienced the highs and lows, moments of joy and outrage alongside the Senator over the past two years.

During every major turning point in American history, there have always been the naysayers, the doubters or more conventionally “the haters” on all sides stating that America is just not ready for the emancipation of the slaves, women’s rights, fill in the blank with any subversive movement. This election presents yet another pivotal turning point in American culture and society.

There has arguably never been a better time or better candidate for such a phenomenon as a Black President to take place. Here we have a candidate who is clearly black but in a bizarre Oprah-esque fashion has the potential to transcend race and appeal to millions of white Americans. And here we have this moment in our history where the opposition party has created such a colossal mess of our foreign relations and economic standing that has allowed such a candidate to be viable in the eyes of the electorate.

Oddly enough, some of the biggest doubters in this election have been African-Americans who have lost faith in America’s sense of fairness and equality. And, in many ways, rightfully so. Call me naïve but I have an unrelenting faith in America and our commitment to justice, liberty and equal opportunity for all Americans (which could possibly change after Nov. 4). It is a faith that I must constantly defend at the dinner table with my parents who have seen some of America’s darkest days, a faith that I must defend as I knock on doors in poor black neighborhoods in South Philadelphia and a faith that I often must defend to myself as comments like “uppity” have reemerged during this election.

That’s why this election means so much more than two men running against each other at a unique time in history. It is a challenge to everything that we as a nation are and what we presume to stand for. It is an opportunity for America to prove how far we’ve truly come in the fight for equal rights – that the American people will not judge a candidate (in public or in private) by innate qualities but by their strength, intelligence and vision for America. With Obama up by a substantial lead in the polls -- this is a moment in which we will know for sure whether subtle racism still has its insidious grip on our belief system. It is a moment in which we will know for sure if we are ready to turn the next page in our nation’s history.

Cross-posted on Huff Post's OfftheBus

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