Thursday, August 28, 2008

You're My Boy Blue: Historic Day, Historic Nomination

Tonight, Barack Obama will become the first Black person in this history of the United States to be nominated as a major party's presidential candidate.

That sentence alone could sum up the day's excitement. But there's no use having a blog if you aren't going to chat a bit on it.

When I was younger, my parents, especially DadGrace used to tell me that it didn't matter what color your skin was, it only mattered who you are inside. I used to think that he was some sort of genius for the comparison, but later learned he just coopted it from a genius--Martin Luther King, Jr. Forty-five years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. marched on Washington D.C. and delivered one of the most infamous speeches in American history. Indeeed, Dr. King had a dream that day. We all did. But the dream was just that--a dream.

Until now.

I'm not saying that we're in a post-racial society. We aren't. I'm not saying there isn't racial tension or racial divisiveness. There is. I'm not even going to make the "we're better off than we were before," comment, because until we are at full equality, it really doesn't pay to look back. But I will say this: tonight marks an important moment in that journey.

See as an inquisitive young mind, even though DadGrace told me people could be judged by their character and not their appearance, I learned differently. I looked around and saw a white-washed society in every place that mattered. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was right, but I questioned whether everyone else knew it.

Tonight that might change a little. A young Sam Grace tonight might not have to ask why things work in theory, but not in practice as a young, charismatic, Black man takes the stage and accepts the Democractic nomination for president. Even for one night, we might, just trancend our past for just a moment and look towards our future. We might just see a dream come true.

Forty five years ago today, Dr. King gave a speech in Washington D.C. that he first gave in my hometown of Detroit. Tonight in the suburbs of Detroit, a young white woman will remember why to have hope and why to dare to dream.


Kat said...

In our country's comparatively short history, this is a monumental, long overdue event.

Let's hope America finally gets it right in November. We cannot lose to the McBush fear-based ideology ever again.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

I was thinking of writing a blog post about the US election simply because we get so much coverage of it over here in the UK. That will happen soon.

In the meantime, if I were a US citizen I would be voting for Obama. George W Bush is viewed in the UK with contempt by a lot of people and to be honest his party successor would I think be viewed in the same light.

Let's hope the result in November is the right one.

Barbara Weibel said...

I am a 56 year old white woman who grew up during a time when bigotry was the norm. In my entire family, I was the only one who questioned why people were "less than" because of their skin color. I have long been praying for the day when this situation could truly change, and I believe that day is upon us. Now I am praying that Obama wins. Thank you for your thoughts. I Dugg the article.

MarilynJean said...

So historic, he failed to mention IT in his speech. Like Dr. Cornel West said, "It looks like he's running from history. He couldn't mention Martin, he couldn't mention the civil rights movement, he couldn't mention those who sacrificed and gave so much. It's very, very difficult to actually create a new world if you don't acknowledge the world from which you are emerging." And Dr. West is very much an Obama supporter.

And for all those people who talk about that speech a)Like that day was the first day King delivered it (it's not) and b)That it was all about racial harmony (it wasn't) are completely diluting the signifance of Dr. King and The Movement. Dr. King didn't just seek racial harmony, that was almost secondary to his pursuit of ECONOMIC equality for Black Americans and an end to all violence at home and abroad.

People today just look at that one speech on that one day and don't understand the bigger context. Further, Dr. King was not an aspiring politico like Obama is, he was a preacher and an organizer. People want to draw simple parallels between him and Obama when it isn't that simple.

Frankly, I think Obama did a disservice to Dr. King's legacy by avoiding the issue of race altogether. (Not to mention him sidestepping issues such as immigration, The Gays and abortion. King never sidestepped anything.)

YogaforCynics said...

With all respect to the previous commenter, I'm not sure if you listened to the entire speech before criticizing it. Obama DID mention the March on Washington--near the end (and I'm awfully surprised if Cornel West missed that)--and, if fact, working toward economic equality WAS what he focused on, though not in race-based terms. Yes, he a politician--that's the only kind of person who runs for political office--and politics is all about compromise, making deals, and, yes, sidestepping issues that aren't politically expedient and highlighting those that are at a given time. Martin Luther King didn't run for political office, and I doubt he would have if he'd lived, precisely because he knew it would inherently involve huge compromises (similarly, it would've been quite easy for Gandhi to have become the first prime minister of India, but, as a pacifist, he wasn't about to find himself the head of the Indian army and police force, though I don't think he criticized Nehru for failing to disband them).


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