Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After

I must admit, last night was a very satisfying night for me. And a somewhat emotional time. I am very happy Obama is our new president-elect.

There is no way, as a middle class white guy, that I can even imagine the feelings that many African-Americans must be feeling today. When I grew up in the south, I went to "the white school" in our town while the African-American kids went to "the black school". We finally brought the two together when I was in the seventh grade. We went home for Christmas break and returned to find half the kids from each school had swapped places. It was unsettling to be missing some friends, but I surely never understood why all our parents were so upset about it. I couldn't understand then - and I can't imagine now - how anyone thought it could be a bad thing for all the kids to be going to school together. But they did think that. I grew up with that.

And I grew up with places that had separate bathrooms and separate water fountains for "colored men" and "whites" and "colored women" and "whites".

I lived in Alabama, less than a hundred miles from Selma when they walked over that bridge. But at my young age, I didn't even know it was happening.

I lived in it. In racism and misunderstanding. And many still live in those places today.

Last night was an honor. I'm glad I saw the first African-American elected president. And I'm confident that my feelings are only a glimmer of what the African-American community must be feeling today. The relief and satisfaction of finally seeing our country make that choice. And the hope that this really can be a change for the better in our country.


Anonymous said...

I agree with everything you've said, also having grown up in the Deep South. I like what Obama says, like what he stands for. But I'm also keenly aware of the symbolic importance of our election of an African-American. It's good to be able to collectively hold our heads a little higher.

furiousBall said...

i was thinking the same thing last night. what it must feel like to be an african american man my age (37) and see the first black president.

Charlotta-love said...

I read the speeches of both Obama and McCain. I nearly cried while reading Obama's. History really was made last night.

Kylie w Warszawie said...

Hey, wonder woman is above me! I AM WONDER WOMAN!

*Ahem* so, about what YOU wrote: It is amazing! I just can't find the words, other than amazing.

Jazz said...

The times they are a'changin'

And it's about time too.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

When I was a kid, I visited Florida and noticed that the local bus station had three restrooms: Men, Women and Colored. I was horrified. I took pictures and made them into Christmas cards, which appalled my family.

As an adult I lived in the South and can attest that racism is still rampant, so it was particularly generous and healing for President-Elect Obama to tell those who didn't vote for him, "I will be your president, too."

What a change, what a glorious change from Bush with his "F---you" attitude toward any who disagreed with his policies. And what a great lesson for our children to see that adults can finally grow up, too.

Kati said...

You sum up so well how I was feeling..... I cannot imagine the struggles that black folks have gone through in our country, and I don't pretend to. Watching Oprah Winfrey and other African American folks weep in happiness and celebrate the success of another who's face resembles their own, who's history resembles their own made me cry in happiness for them. I may not be able to understand some of the struggles black folks have gone through in the past several hundred years, but I can be happy when they can finally see proof that their color is not the defining factor in who they are in this country. I'm so happy that this is a step in the direction of us all being AMERICAN, instead of being one color or another, one religion or another. (And, while I'm anti Sarah Palin AND Hilary Clinton, I'm hoping for a female pres. in 8 years time, to positively cross yet another border in human rights in our country.)

Thomas said...

I think we have taken a great leap forward.
It may not seem like much, but damn it feels good, even if you aren't an African American.

We done something right for once


Jocelyn said...

There is such purity in you, Em. I am with you in every thought, but without the benefit of having lived it.