Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy to be Ashamed

i am aware that i have been away for some time. aside from homework, i've done little more than wade hip deep in election coverage like the rest of the world. when this two year knock-down drag-out began, i was torn between the democratic candidates. however, since Kansas was not a primary state, that was settled for me. i watched and i read and i read and i watched everything i possibly could. i thought, wow, a person of color got the candidacy. i talked with my children about what this all meant. i got to watch as our discussions coaxed their minds into forming solid, arguable ideas about politics and race. i got to listen to recounts of discourses they'd had with their friends who were either too young to understand or, sadly, already apathetic toward what was going on in our nation. i was even more proud and comforted that two children who were concerned and aware would be released into society soon.

my neighborhood growing up on the Kansas side of Kansas City was one that essentially shielded me from racism. interracial couples (of which i am a product) (black/white and black/asian) and their children lived house to house with white families and black families and blended families and their children alike. we all attended each other's birthday parties and family functions. i didn't understand what racism was even after i was called a "nigger" for having a membership at a swimming pool that i never realized was all white. as i grew into high school and faced someone trying to force me to say whether i "considered" myself white or black did I get the mildest of inklings about what this racism thing was. i used to think the things i would hear were just stories--it didn't truly exist anymore and i would say so right to the faces of those who told me. only when i entered the workforce did i get the shock of my life. racism was alive, well and was red-orange in color. however, even still, it was not a thing that was blatant or that could be called such without somebody instantly discrediting you for not being able to describe the action with words or using the phrase "i have black friends" or, somehow, because you are black and are therefore not objective.

that all changed, however, when a man of color won nomination for president from one half of the recognized political "power" parties in our country. unabashed, true, red-orange colored racism began to patrol the streets in the daylight like it had every moral obligation to do so. for example: a friend of mine (who is a black woman) was pumping gas one evening when a middle aged white man walked over to her and said, "you know these gas prices aren't bush's fault. obama couldn't do any better." to which she replied, "well, he couldn't do any worse." (she's always doing stuff like that.) i have watched while companies in the affluent neighborhood in which i work have systematically eliminated the few black people they had from their staffs. i said companie"s" not company. "dumb nigger" was printed on a receipt from a store in this same neighborhood giving written proof of the prevailing feelings of the community at large.

i would no longer discuss my feelings about the upcoming election with family and friends because as accomplished and eloquent and Democrat as Senator Obama is i just could not believe that this country was ready to elect a man of color. i admitted to my white, middle-aged, women coworkers that even though they were excited, i did not believe that this country was ready for a black president nor did i believe that at 36 years old would i see one in my lifetime other than on reruns of "24". i wanted to believe. i really, really wanted to believe but i was not prepared to face the utter disappointment and humiliation that would come with defeat. i could only silently hope.

i am now unabashedly pleased to admit that i was wrong. i am giddy to say that i am ashamed of myself for not trusting in the greater good. i am handily ready to return my trust into the hands of my nation's multi-colored people. i am happy to humbly request the forgiveness of my country and that of President-elect Obama. i am happy.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Hi Succulent Dish!!! Nice to see you again! I missed you!
From a middle aged white lady...I am happy too, as are 2/3's of the nation, of all colors! I am so proud of my state of Florida and of the nation as a whole! It is an amazing and wonderful and exciting time! YEAHHH!!!!