Dreams can come true

Barack Obama

“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!

24 Responses to “Dreams can come true”

  1. Triphow Ling says:

    Excellent post, Theda. End of the day, the message is that a majority of Americans have begun to value competency above race. That’s a big step towards wiping out racism.

    And if (not likely but still…), your daughter has to face the same situation you did with the truck driver, you tell her to spit right back. :)

    • Theda K. says:

      Thanks! Definitely a big step.

      And I know you were joking a bit, but I’d tell my daughter to get the license plate and report it to the police. I was so terrified about that incident that I didn’t tell my parents for probably a decade…when I was about 18. It still makes me nervous to think about it.

      I was so scared, terrified when it happened. I knew what things white people did to Black people (like Emmett Till). The guy could’ve pulled out a gun next, or if I told my parents I thought they’d confront him and get killed or worse. So I kept that scary secret for years, and was always nervous to venture into the suburbs of Detroit (happened in Birmingham, Michigan).

      So no, I wouldn’t tell her to spit back. I’d tell her to run and get help. There are still many who are capable of heinous acts. I’ll just hope she never has to face such a traumatic event that makes her tremble fear for her and her family’s lives.

  2. Triphow Ling says:

    My bad! I forgot I was talking to a lawyer. :)

  3. Ernie Small says:

    Another interesting thing that electing and African-American president has brought about is what the definition of being “black” (a term that i’m sure will be retired over the next couple of decades) is. During the campaign i heard a lot of pundits claiming that Obama wasn’t really a black man because in order to be a black man in America you had to be the descendent of slaves. I found this to be both offensive and culturally interesting, because, after all, it does change things somewhat weather or not your family came to this country by their own free will or not.

    anyways, all i’m saying is that this is just another example of how powerful this event we have just witnessed is, as far as issues of race in this country are concerned.

    great post.

    • Theda K. says:

      Thanks for your comment! Interesting thoughts…I’m always curious to know what non-Black people think about race and race relations. But I believe the “one drop rule” is what defines being Black in this country, whether or not we want it to be otherwise. And I doubt the term will be dropped, or at least I hope not. But time will tell.

      Thanks again for dropping by!

  4. kouji says:

    indeed. i am glad for your country because in several weeks you will have a leader who is intelligent, thoughtful, confident, yet humble, and a listener. :)

    kouji’s last blog post..fall haiku poem

  5. Dori says:

    Great post! I am so happy to see how the election of Barack Obama is affecting our children. By the way, I don’t have kids, but the way I see it “our” children are everyone’s children to me (smile). I have many nieces and nephews, and I’m just glad that they and all other children are seeing this example. This is powerful and will shape their lives in profound ways.

  6. Tracy says:

    The Obama story is a great example that you can overcome all odds and make it at whatever you set your sights on. I hope my daughter and many other kids today will notice this and reach for their dreams.

    Tracy’s last blog post..Customizing Massage Chair Rollers For The Best Massage

  7. Dean says:

    “I’m Barack Obama. I’m the President!” said my three-year-old daughter yesterday.

    I caught this and just had to say it brought a huge smile to my face. thank you.

  8. Peter C says:

    Sometimes it just takes one event to change so many things doesn’t it?

  9. Ryan says:

    Dreams can come true, but so far we are at just the promise stage. I hope the US government will let Obama turn these into actions.

  10. Misa says:

    I believe Obama can change this country for a better place to live with..

  11. Let’s hope Barack Obama will bring the change he wants to Washington, and let’s hope its not politics as usual in the white house. Because it can happen to anyone.

    The only thing I hope Obama does not do is Raise taxes. If he raises the taxes, I fear that it will hurt us, since companies are going to have to cut jobs.

    And I also hope this puts an end to racism as we know it. After all, we just soundly elected a black president, surely, I hope people realize that, hey anything can happen in America, if you work hard, and study.

    Bratwurst Recipes’s last blog post..Bratwurst Simmered in Beer

  12. I agree, I think it is so great, I cannot wait to see what he does for the country

  13. Jamie says:

    Hi Theda

    It was a historic day. I was there at Grant Park when he was speaking. The look of hope and pride from the people watching him were priceless. I think racism will always exist, but with this step, it shows that America can progress into a better future. Thank you for the post.

    Jamie’s last blog post..What to Do if You’re Hurt on the Job

  14. hi Theda,
    Your post is nicely written, and very moving. It’s also just one of many like this that I have read since Obama’s election. His election was truely historical.
    In his acceptance speech, he spoke of a 107 year old woman who voted, and what she had seen over the course of her life… the changes, the triumphs, the tragedies…
    It makes me wonder now what we will see over the next hundred years. ~ Steve

    Steve | Trade Show Guru’s last blog post..Joy of Fatherhood

  15. Here in Montreal, north of the border, many of us watched this election quite closely. It was a big day not only for US citizens but for all of US. Mr. Bush is not really well liked up here for many reasons. Very happy to see the direction you’re heading in and hope we can forge even stronger ties!

    Bruce Hollingdrake’s last blog post..Living Underground – have you considered the option?

  16. Great post, I hope that Obama ll change this country very quick

  17. I’m sorry you had to expierence bigotery. I grew up oversees and was spared most of it.

  18. Prajit nair says:

    I hope there will be new change in America…And Mr Obama does well..

  19. I am so proud of America for electing Barack Obama! I have alot of faith that Obama will get us where we want to be!

    african antelope’s last blog post..What is an African Antelope?

  20. One of the quality of being a president is having “ONE WORD” and I think Obma has it. So we’ll see if there is a change in America for the coming months…=)

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  21. I hope this President will change something

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