Thursday, November 6, 2008

Yes I can

Tuesday we voted and chose the person that will be our next president. When the results were announced I cried. But not for the reason you think. While president-elect Obama did not get a mark on my ballot, I cried because I was priviliged to witness the election of a black man to the highest office of our country.

I know that a lot of people are talking about the historic action that this is, but I am not sure how many of them understand it on a more than "wow, this is a first" level. I am not sure that I even get it the way a person of color gets it. However, having a child that is bi-racial, I get it. I get what it means to her and her perceived options in life. I know what it means to look at a picture of powerful people and see more than a sea of white faces looking back.

She will now never have to hear that a black person has never been considered intelligent enough, or worthy enough, or even good enough to be president. She will be able to see two little girls living and learning and growing in The White House, and it will all seem normal and natural to her. She will have pictures of those same little girls running on the East Lawn with their puppy loping along with them, and she will know that she too has options.

You may think that I exaggerate, but I do not. For the past 9 years I have heard and lived with the comments from ignorant people in our community when it comes to the color of her skin. I have listened to the amazement that a little black girl could be so intelligent (she has the highest scores in her class and tests at 1-2 grade levels higher). These same people attribute her intelligence to the fact that she lives with white people- never to inate ability on her part. When people ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, they always assume that she will say a basketball player because she is so tall and we all know that tall black people make the best basketball players. I have seen the astonishment and disbelief on their faces when she says that she wants to play soccer, be a ballerina and write books.

Surely she should not set her sights so high, on such unattainable goals. But now she can say, as an echo of the oh so eloquent speech that President-elect Obama gave on Tuesday night,

"Yes I can."


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ali said...

That was beautifully written Sandra. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective.

Annette Lyon said...

That's one powerful plus to Obama becoming president, for sure. Thanks for the insight.

Karlene said...

Beautiful! And I totally agree with the power of having a president of color. It's about time. Although I don't agree with his politics, I'm proud that as a country we're finally becoming color blind.