The day was Aug. 28, 1963, and there on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., stood Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His “I Have a Dream” speech was resonating in the crowd. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but the content of their character,” he famously said.
What makes this statement of Dr. King come alive today is the fact that we have finally elected a person of color to the presidency of the United States — and his color had nothing to do with it.
Barack Obama was elected because his message of hope and change was heard throughout this country. The popularity of his vision for America was displayed in the diversity of those who voted for him. As his life story was being presented to us, we were privileged to learn about the roots of his diversity, his love of family and friends, and his commitment to building up communities. Each one of us should take a page out of his life story and use it as an example to become better citizens through our own civic engagement.
In the 1967 movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” Sidney Poitier’s character has a conversation with his father in which he says, “Dad, you see me as a black man, but I see myself as a man.” Let us not forget that the same standards we want all of our presidents to live up to are the same standards for President-elect Obama. We should want nothing less from him, and expect nothing more.
Today we pay homage to those who have paved the way for Barack Obama to become the 44th President of the United States. Just think: He was once a community service worker who volunteered to help a community. Now he offers that same spirit of service to all of us.
I would first like to thank The Bay State Banner for being an invaluable newspaper to the African American community. The light your publication sheds on African American issues is not only beneficial to the African American population in Massachusetts, but also to others interested in the contemporary plight of African Americans.
However, I disagreed with a key excerpt featured in your Dec. 18, 2008 article, “Obama’s true colors: Black, white … or neither?”
This line was specifically problematic to me: “Intermarriage and the decline of racism are dissolving ancient definitions of [African American and/or mixed ancestral identification].” This is an untruth, not only because it is not supported with concrete evidence, but also because studies show that interracial marriages do little to diminish racism in the United States. To clearly understand what I mean by this, please read my article, “Interracial Dating: Does It Really Aid in the Race Reconciliation Process?” featured on www.urbanministry.org.
I can not stress how important it is to thoroughly research your topic before printing generalizations. This is because if readers are given more accurate information, they can make more learned decisions related to how racism not only impacts their perceptions, but their lives as well.