Why? (I’m gonna get in trouble for this one… so be it)

Why is it that even in the afterglow of such a historic election, that MORE questions aren’t being asked? Surely the results of this election don’t mean the woes and deeply entrenched attitudes and beliefs of our country have magically been erased. Surely we as a country have MANY more hurdles to the ideals of equality, unity, and justice.

Now that we have President-Elect Obama should we all just go to sleep expecting to wake up to a ‘better tomorrow’ (whatever that is)?

Isn’t our math still skewed if Black + White = Black Child but Black + White does NOT equal: White Child? And we seem to be just too dang lazy to acknowledge both. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve heard Obama referred to as the first multi-ethnic or multi-racial president.

And why is it that the main time we make this created concept of race an issue is when it is ‘black vs. white’?

I’m not advocating that we all put on blinders and today be colorblind. I am hoping to raise the awareness of the influence of the idea of race and how prevalent it still is in our country. We as a society are constantly getting lost in the illusion of race and continuing to allow it to divide and identify us. This concept of “us vs. them” keeps us scared about non issues and draws our attention away from the real problems.

Anti-immigration is about money… Anti-affirmative action is about money too… but if we can keep the conversation of these things swirling around race things will stay the same. When you think of immigration rights – what nationality comes to mind? Eastern-Europeans? Canadians? Or when you think about the ‘unfair’ benefits of affirmative action: what group of people come to mind who are ‘getting over’ and in what ways does it directly affect you?

I’m not suggesting that I have answers to all of these questions. I’m hoping that we allow all the excitement and tensions draw us into a deeper conversation about our own attitudes and emotions about the state of race in our culture.

One thing that I noticed on election night was how diverse the crowd was in the non-ticketed area of grant park. It made me more aware of how segregated some of our Chicago gatherings can be. That night was a true picture of ALL of our city – every ethnicity, socio-economic, and geographic background represented in one place on one level for one purpose.

I hope to hear from others on this.

–Darren

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  • You know why folks aren’t asking questions – because Obama is squashing that ish in the front door. I mean, I think he recognizes that issues are there and we all know that he’s aware of the issues. However, I don’t think he’s choosing to let the focus be on that because it’s about being progressive, not regressive. 

    I think it’ll be healthy to discuss these issues – but do you really think Obama should be the one to lead this type of a discussion? I don’t think so because America isn’t ready for that. 

    It’s interesting. I wonder what others have to say.

  • Thanks for responding Darius.  I DON’T think it’s Obama’s job to spur this discussion.  He’s not in position to do that for a lot of reasons.  There are a ton of egg-shells that he must trod on as president and an international figure.  One man isn’t responsible for change.  It is however something that the rest of us on various levels are going to have to start bringing up.  I think the problem is that we generally aren’t aware of our own attitudes and beliefs. 
    I’m gonna have to start writing more on this topic… just so I can fish out my own feelings.