When I first wrote about presidential candidate Barack Obama in Political Survivor: Obama or McCain?, I endorsed the junior senator from Illinois but took issue with his nonsupport of gay marriage. Since that post last summer, I see things quite differently, thanks to President Obama, who took the oath of office today.
President Obama has taught me about accepting people and working with people even though I may not always agree with them. The examples President Obama sets by engaging with those who are not of like mind encourages me to do the same.
President Obama makes me want to be a better man. President Obama inspires me to be a more patient man. President Obama is my hero, my role model and my President. I’m very proud to be an American living in Obama’s America.
I was born five months after President Barack Obama. I was part of the first generation (on both sides) of my family not born in the Deep South. In all likelihood, my grandparents’ grandparents were slaves.
“When white people get pissed at you, they resort to calling you nigger.”
My parents attended Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. The school was named after the former Negro slave who is regarded as the first American to die in the American Revolution vis–à–vis the Boston Massacre. Attucks was the only school blacks were allowed to attend. My father played basketball for Attucks. So did my mother’s brother. My uncle, Hallie Bryant, was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball of 1953.
I grew up knowing the story of how basketball was segregated in Indiana. How Attucks had to travel miles to find schools that played black schools, how the referees cheated to make sure the white teams won, how the black teams had to become good enough to win by indisputable margins. I grew up knowing that when my mom and my uncle were teenagers, my uncle received a death threat, warning him not to play in an all-star basketball game. I grew up knowing how hard it was for black players to break the color lines.
I was the first black editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper. I was the first black or only black “a lot of things” in my lifetime, as were my parents. In the neighborhood. At the church. In French class. In drama. On the soccer team. In my fraternity. In the office. In the apartment complex.
I was called nigger while walking by the USC Sigma Chi house the week before freshman year in 1980. I was called nigger by my first dorm roommate at USC in 1981. He was pissed about a phone bill dispute. I was called nigger by a USC song girl in 1982. She was pissed about losing in a card game (to me, a USC yell leader).
“The more children born into the modern world, the more modern the world becomes.”
“It’s nice to see you people out and about, together as a family,” said my white Santa Barbara landlord of the mid 90s. He was talking to me and my mom, who was visiting me. We were on our way to the mall.
I was called nigger by a woman at Dog Beach in San Diego earlier this century. She was pissed at me for asking her to pick up her dog’s shit.
When white people get pissed at you, they resort to calling you nigger.
“I admire black guys because they’re so cool and they have rhythm, and black families because they’re always so tight,” said another roomie in college. It was our first day living together. He didn’t know anything about me. He didn’t grow up knowing any black people. Yet he had already decided so much about me and my family. He directs Hollywood movies now. The black men in his movies are mostly cool and have rhythm.
If I had a dollar for each time a white person asked me if I play sports.
If I had another dollar for each time a white person told me: you should play sports.
If I had a ray of sunshine for each time a white person asked me if I have a big black dick?
If I had a true friend for each time a non-black person brought up the subject of race when engaged in a conversation with me, usually a conversion not about race.
If I had great sex for each time I read on the gay internet: WHITES AND LATINS ONLY. NO OFFENSE. JUST A PREFERENCE.
Racism, small minds, narrow minds, ignorance, intolerance, stereotyping, everyday racial profiling. None of that is over. But it’s all dying, fading, becoming an endangered species. The more children born into the modern world, the more modern the world becomes.
Black and white dissolve into brown and yellow.
What colors will people call one another then?
Thank you, every single dead soul who endured unimaginable hardship to make this historic inauguration day possible. The Africans who were kidnapped from their villages, marched across Africa, ferried across the sea, unloaded off ships and sold into a life of slavery in America, those Africans are all dead; but they’re descendants are now in good hands, and life is only going to get better from here to eternity.
Free at last. Free at last. Free at last.
- For more thoughts on this historic shift in American culture and politics, check out these pre-Presidential Obama Files, now and forever at Randy Boyd’s Blocks:Political Survivor: Obama or McCain?
The Truth about President-Elect Barack Obama
You, Go, Mr. President, Sir!
The Bradley Affected
America: Do You Still Believe In Miracles?
Dear Barack Obama, From a Non-Angry Homo
Happy MLK Inauguration 47th Birthday to Me!