Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election 2008 - A Seismic Shift

In my lifetime America has changed from a country with segregated lunch counters and water fountains to one that has elected an African American President.
Just imagine what this woman has seen in her lifetime.
Jones is the living link between the time when black men were owned as property and the time when a black man has been elected president of the United States.
Setting A New Standard
Obama's election now gives the extended Jones family — and millions like it across the country — a new standard for their children.
Jones' daughter, Ruth Jones, is 73.
"And I told my youngest grandson, [who] is 10, 'You can be anything you want to be. You can even be president of the U.S.,'" Ruth Jones says. "He thought that was so funny. He really did. He said, 'I can be the president!' I said, "You sure can, but you really have to apply yourself.'"
And from John McWhorter's article The End of Racism?
It was one thing when legalized segregation and disenfranchisement were outlawed in the mid-60s. This was a massive undertaking, but people devoted their lives--sometimes literally--to making it happen.
It was something else when, in the wake of this, racism became socially taboo in most segments of American society. Sure, there are lapses. But anyone who thinks there has been anything short of a seismic shift in America's racial relations since the 60s should take a look at Mad Men. The very fact that it is news that there remain people who wouldn't vote for a black man shows that we live in a different world than 40 years ago.
America has problems and our new president knows it. However, is America's main problem still "the color line" as W.E.B. DuBois put it 105 years ago? The very fact that the president is now black is a clear sign that it is no longer our main problem, and that we can, even as morally informed and socially concerned citizens, admit it.
There is nothing at all "unreal" about this. It is, after all, what we were supposed to be working toward. We must embrace it.
Now that we've moved beyond "the color line" can we get back to addressing the other serious challenges that this country faces.
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