Win or lose, a change is coming

Karol Collymore

There has been a picture in my office for almost two years. It's a picture I requested because of it's beauty and it's significance to St. Johns; a neighborhood I love. It has been taken down at my request. Why? Despite the placard next to the photo that shows it is actual art, visitors frequently ask if the photo is of me, of my child, or if I know the photo's subject. I always swallowed hard and moved on. The picture is a little girl on a bike looking out at the St. Johns parade. I have another picture in my office. It's two women about to perform in a burlesque show. No one ever asks if I know them. I realize people do not mean to be hurtful, they are trying to relate to me and I get that. Asking me if the Black child in the picture is my child isn't the way.

I'm telling this particular story because this is another reason this election is so important to me.

I am a Democrat and there is no way I'd vote for John McCain; especially after the last eight years. I feel Barack Obama is fully qualified and will create the sea change that this country so desperately needs. There is however, something so much more significant to me. This country needs to see people who look like me and we need White people to see people who don't look like them in the positive ways that exist but we haven't seen since the Cosby Show. I want all children to know that Black people aren't just athletes, musical artists or criminals. I want children to know that Latinos aren't just migrant workers, "illegals," or some other worker who clears tables yet never speaks. I want children to know that Native American Indians actually exist. I'm simplifying with stereotypes because this is not about racism, but about cultural exposure. The Obamas raising their children in the White House is ultimate exposure. Until we allow for more exposure, this post and any conversation or post after this will still make people squirm.

Obama isn't going to rescue us from ourselves or from some deep, deep tendencies. But with this election, win or lose, we've started to see a different and inclusive image of Black Americans and their families that all of us needed to see. I hope we keep seeing it as our country continues to progress.

Comments

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    a-effing-men. Thanks, Karol.

  • Jenny (unverified)
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    Bush has done much more for blacks than did any of his predecessors. President Bush has increased funding for black colleges by a full 30 percent. President Bush has also appointed blacks to the most important cabinet positions. Colin Powell is this nation's first black Secretary of State and Condoleezza Rice is not only the first woman to hold the position of National Security Adviser. Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (Clarence Thomas). I cannot understand how so many black ministers can continue to preach Christian values on one Sunday, and then tell them to vote for someone who supports abortion the following Sunday. It is simply exasperating that people who claim to care so much about the plight of poor blacks, continue to accept failing public schools and place stumbling blocks before any policy which will hold teachers and children to a higher standard. If the future of U.S. public education was left solely to liberals, the cycle of poverty would never be broken. The news-media will no doubt further the myth that the Republican Party, in particular conservative-Republicans are racists. The Democratic Party and the so-called black leaders will continue to take advantage of poor, uneducated black voters. Eventually though, the facts will become louder than the rhetoric. The day will come that poor people of all races understand that a hand-up is better than a hand-out.

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    You keep on keepin on with works for ya there Jenny.

  • Blacula Part IX (unverified)
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    Obama's success is partially because he is not too Black as to be threatening. Raised by white grandma. Of Kenyan extraction as opposed to the Slave and Gold Coast ancestory that most African-Americans posses. Or put another way as similar as a Portugese person is to a Greek. That gives Obama a touch of the exotic for bougeouis white liberals who tend not to be represented too much in certain areas of NE Portland.

    <h2>Don't get me wrong, Obama is certainly good for America and the world. However is success is not quite the true test of a tolerant society.</h2>

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