Monday, January 19, 2009

Maybe Obama is dangerous...

Not in an "OMG, he is going to take away all my money and make us the Socialist Republic of the United States" kind of way, but in another way.

I've been watching / reading some of the (seemingly never ending) commentary on his inauguration, and one theme disturbs me - the idea that we are a "post-racial" America, this notion that because we've gone and elected ourselves a black president that, poof, racism is gone. It's all very self-congratulatory. But here's the thing.

Racism is not gone until young black men are pulled over at the same rate as me.

And poor, black children get the same education as my friend's kids who attend very white, very ritzy, suburban schools.

And no one thinks to ask me what race Lucy is - like it's any of their flipping business anyway.

And equal opportunity is no longer necessary.

Racism isn't gone until it's no big freakin' deal that our president happens to be black.

Of course it's wonderful that I got to pick between a black man and a woman in my primary, and I am proud as hell that we actually did elect Obama. We have done a lot to address race issues in our country (probably more than most of the European countries that like to point their fingers at us for being racist) and we've come a long way in the last 50 years. 

But we need to realize that this isn't the end of racism - it's just (hopefully) the beginning of the end of it.


Deborah said...

I see what you mean. I read somewhere that when the Cosby show was created, the producers thought it would reduce racism because people would see that blacks could be middle class. Instead, it got worse because people were thinking "if the Cosbys can act just like us, why can't all the other black people?" Obama is, in many ways, like other presidents (I can't say like the rest of us, exactly). It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.

J-momma said...

thanks for stopping by my blog. i can't remember if i commented on yours yet cause i've been on vacation and still have Disney on my mind. but i totally agree with the sentiments of this post. someone re-did the doll test from years ago with the same staggering results, so really, how far have we come? i still think we have a long way to go. i live in a pretty progressive and diverse area of the country and i've still heard comments like "those people", and "why are minorities still whining about racism?" but electing Obama (not just because of his race mind you) is a step in the right direction. and i'm excited for the next 4 years. and thanks for sharing your adoption story with me on my blog.