I’m probably among the few black people who could not care less about Barack Obama’s “historic” achievement. News pundits and others are falling all over themselves to show how this proves we have finally moved beyond America’s racist past.
I would surmise that we moved past it years—even decades—ago, and this supposed “historic” achievement is merely the by-product, not the proof.
I had a white friend send me a picture of the Obamas on their recent victory night, with a quote from Martin Luther King’s truly historic I Have A Dream speech: “…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 by the content of their character.”
That quote doesn’t ring true for this moment—aside from Obama’s soaring rhetoric, the only other reason this is being lauded as “historic” is because of the color of his skin. No one would be batting an eyelash if it were otherwise.
When the first black president is elected–whether it’s Obama or some politician in the future, it’s only a matter of time–and we simply applaud and get on with our lives and not wax ad nauseam about making history, that will surely be an historic moment.
Black people make history all the time—we just need to own it and live it, and not depend on more token symbolism to confirm it.