“I’m Barack Obama. I’m the President!” said my three-year-old daughter yesterday. Isn’t it wonderful that we can finally say that one day she actually could be president?
I was born in the early 70′s, and didn’t experience as much of the blatant racism my parents and others have, but I’ve seen my share.
My mother remembers traveling down south from Michigan when she was a teen, and having to eat unrefrigerated food because restaurants didn’t serve Blacks.
My grandmother, who looked white, was able to eat in a restaurant once, while her husband had to wait outside. I’m guessing he felt it more important that his wife be able to eat even if he couldn’t.
My mother also remembers not knowing the rules in the south, and having strangers (Black) pull her off the sidewalk when a white person approached. She and her sisters also had to use disgustingly dirty restrooms because, of course, they couldn’t use the white restrooms on their trip down south.
And for me, I remember being spit on by a white man when my parents pulled up next to his truck at a stoplight. That was in the 80s, in Michigan, when I was just a kid.
Just 2 years ago a stranger, a white man, asked me if my daughter’s father was Black too. When I told him Yes, he was so happy! He said something like, “Good! Too many people try to mix the races.” A complete stranger!
I say all this to say that I’m still in awe that this country will have a Black president in a very short time. It’s finally sinking in that this is real. That people were tortured and killed for this to happen. And amazed and humbled that my daughter will grow up in this (hopefully) new age.
I know that racism isn’t gone. Far from it. I live in a pretty racist town, which is part of the reason I believe I haven’t been able to find a decent job (along with this being a bad economy…it’s not all about race, I know). We still have work to do, and hopefully people won’t think this wipes the slate clean.
But for now I’m just so humbled and almost speechless at what his election has accomplished. I just wish Dr. King and others were here to witness this miracle. What a great time to be an American!