Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Sweetest Reward

The candidacy and eventual nomination of Barack Obama for President offers a huge reward to those of us white Americans who have faithfully -- if not always quietly -- done pennance for the sins of generations past. I wouldn't exactly proclaim the pennance over, but if this country can nominate and elect a man who hails from a minority population (12.4% as of the 2000 census), then we have come a long way since 1964.

While we have (loudly) protested the idea of reparations proposed by lunatics who felt that slaves should at long last be paid for their work (with interest) to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, we have equally protested the idea that white Americans had a say as to when programs like Affirmative Action had run their course, since the perspective as to their degree of success varied wildly depending on what color of skin you were born with.

British website Altruvista has a short but sweet piece about Obama. Favorite quote:

Obama himself remains something of an enigma and it is easy to be ambivalent about him. What is obvious, and very curious, is that all Americans choose to see him as a black man, despite his mixed race. For one side, he is the black saviour. For the other, the black threat. It seems that nobody in America is blind to skin colour, and that says a lot about how integrated American society is in the 21st century.

I certainly see him as a black man, and I suppose that's a product of my upbringing. But we are evolving. Two nights ago, after it had been reported that Obama had secured enough delegates to sew up the nomination, I was sitting down to dinner with my wife and kids. I said to Lisa, "I'm so excited that in this country we can nominate a black man to be president." To my great delight, my bright and beautiful son Max, who next month will be six years old, said, "Daddy, you said skin color doesn't matter."

I know hope.

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