The nation has spoken. Barack Obama of Honolulu, Hawaii is, will become, our next president in January. He comes to the Commander-in-Chief role facing the most daunting challenge of any U.S. president in 80 years. A war on two fronts (Afghanistan and Iraq), terrorists’ threats and the ubiquitous economic woes await him.
He is charged with a mission. And black men, so are we.
The biggest ramification of Obama being the CEO of the U.S. is not that equality will abound. No, sorry to say but racism will still remain palpable. It’s not that more rights for black people will be in place. It’s that now, black men now have no excuses. That’s right. We have to get our stuff together.
No more being negligent in our work ethic.
No more slacking on our parental responsibilities.
No more disunity. No more using discrimination as a crutch. No more excuses.
Rush Limbaugh said an interesting blurb early in the presidential campaign. He stated – and I paraphrase – that “a Barack Obama winning the presidency proves that racism is overblown. Affirmative action will not be necessary because there is no such thing as discriminatory hiring practices.” In short, Obama will prove that this country really has moved on.
(For more context on the extremist views from the ilk of Limbaugh you might want to check on a little site called YouTube.com.)
Do we really believe that? For black men, this statement should provide the ultimate wake-up call. Obama being the president still doesn’t change the fact that the economic power still belongs to white people in this country, which means that they own the businesses…which means that, as the saying goes, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” And believe me, power will be exerted more now than ever before. Why? There’s nothing worse for somebody with power than to be on the verge of losing that power.
Obama is the student in class who aced a test that *everybody else received 60’s on. He is the student that disables a curve because, well, if he aced the test, then you should too. Whether that is an actual true statement or not is irrelevant; the significant thing is that it will be perceived as true. That is the same reason why his ascendancy to the head spot will either light a fire under us or cause us to wilt.
So black men, we cannot stay in the same spot. New pleasant circumstances forbid that; we can only go up or down. But there is no stagnation. Obama can lay the groundwork for advancement, but the change is ultimately up to us. We already knew that, but the fire on the stove has been turned to high: Either heat up or melt away.
And we thought Obama had it the hardest.
*Everybody means in general. In the bell curve of life, there are many successful black men but there are also a lot of black men that are not as successful, which greatly outnumbers the successful ones. So “everybody” represents 95% of the class who isn’t doing as well as the top 5%. In other words, don’t take that so literally.