>With a little more than 24 hours away from making history, this question is beginning to linger in my mind. For me, I can’t begin to put in words the symbolic “victory” Sen. Obama’s win would be in the battle against black self-defeatism.
However, with an Obama win, what’s next for us? Will Obama’s win change your basic understanding and beliefs about American society?
I don’t want to get into the old debate about how some white Americans will view Obama’s win as a signal to the end of racism and its lingering affects. I want to talk about us–black folk.
There are some who will think an Obama win would finally prove to blacks who “wallow” in the past that they can move on from history and from discrimination; that our society is now a level playing field when it comes to black advancement. Sure, that’s true on a superficial level–our generation will see something our ancestors would have never dreamed of: a black president. Sure, the women who came before us could never imagine we would have our own Jackie Kennedy to look up to.
As a twenty-something professional black woman, I am starting to realize that this could very well come true. We could very well have a black family that’s defied all the odds, the stereotypes and overcame all the struggles to lead the most powerful country on the planet.
But, what does this possibility do for the young men and women who are trapped in neighborhoods and situations, with the deck stacked against them? What does this do to the young black men who are behind bars, facing lengthy sentences for criminal offenses. What does this do for other ethnic and racial minorities who are also struggling with discrimination and an uneven playing field?
Would an Obama win force our community to “get its act together?” Would parents be able to finally say, “Yes, you can be president?” Will black boys finally be able to hold their heads up high and proclaim pride in their race? Will black girls finally have a positive, respectable role model to look up to instead of running to the video hos for inspiration?
While I do believe this will give us something to relish in, this country and our community have a long way to go. We now have to get rid of the lack of political efficacy that’s plaguing us and get involved. We now have to get rid of this self-defeatist attitude and strive for the best. Of course, racism and discrimination will always stick with us. It’s part of the American fabric. But, we can not become complacent with an Obama win, thinking he will become the paternalistic president, taking care of our every needs. We will still have to work twice as hard and long just to remain on the playing field.
So, what is next for the black community? Yes, an Obama win would be one of the final areas we would have the opportunity to strut our talent in; but, what’s next? How do we as a community maintain this stride?