As I watched everything unfold yesterday and in the days leading up to the inauguration I began to really think about the significance of the election of Obama. He is the first African American/Black/Coloured/Non White person to be elected to the highest office in the land. For many people in this country and around the world this is something that they did not think would ever happen in their life time if at all. The November election saw some of the biggest turn outs ever recorded in some areas and major participation in the voting process by the youth of the country. For all of the achievements and barriers that have been broken in this electoral season I cannot help but realise that President Obama faces serious challenges and hindrances to his presidency, namely black people. Yes you read correctly. In my opinion the biggest obstacle facing President Obama right now is black people.
During the course of the election and also during the inauguration yesterday and its ensuing celebrations, I saw a lot of people crying, and really the only question that came to my mind was "what you crying for?". Now as I was telling one of my older sisters yesterday, if Coretta was alive and she shed a tear, I would have no problem with that, or if it was Rosa, but to see these young people all teary eyed and what not... Well call me cynical, call me cold, call me whatever you like (cause it is not what you call me but what I answer to) but I just cannot understand the tears. It made me question if they really understood the significance of it or if it was the bandwagon mentality.
Now I know that statement will probably annoy at lot of people but I happen not to care. In my opinion black people will be his biggest obstacle, stumbling block, or what have you because to far too many of them his election is seen as a free pass.
Before anyone gets too up in arms let me clarify just what I mean by "black people". I am not talking about people who expressed sentiments like Beyonce did in her post serenade interview at the Neighbourhood Ball where she stated (I am paraphrasing) that seeing what has been accomplished made her want to be a better person, a more socially involved person, and a smarter person. I am not talking about those who truly understand that "of the people, by the people, and for the people" means getting involved not sitting back and complaining. I am not talking about the people who are actively involved in their communities and cities. I am not talking about those people.
I am talking about the ignorant people who cannot see beyond the colour of his skin. This is not common only to white people but something that exists in the black community as well. There are those black people to whom Obama is just a black man so because a black man is in office "things gonna go different now cause we got a brotha runnin da show". If that is all you think when you see the President then you are not a help but a handicap. There are many black people out there who are spouting nonsense about how "the man is gone now so we gonna be able to come up". Really? Really? So the only thing that was holding you back was one man? So all the other black people that have made a way and made something of themselves and are on the path to and reaching their goals, what they just got lucky?
I look forward to the next four years. I look forward to seeing what someone who is not so jaded by politics as usual can do for this country. I look forward to seeing the black community reaching towards the dreams of Martin and Malcolm and making them more of a reality. And (yes I know I should not start a sentence with "and") it is my dearest and sincerest hope that when the real black people who truly understand the magnitude of what has been accomplished hear the nonsense being spouted, they will rise up... and throat punch the idiots that said it.