Thursday, October 16, 2008

The color of Obama

Starting a blog about black people in Europe with Barack Obama seems odd. But it’s the black connection that makes it less odd. As a black European I hope he will be first black president of the United States of America. No, I am not judging him by the content of his character, but just by the color of his skin. I’m sorry dr. King. Of course I am not the same as a white person who just wants a white person to be head of State just because he or she is white. No, as a black person I have a different angle. I need visual change, I would like to see, as Condi Rice puts its eloquently, "people who look like me" to shine at the highest level too.

But still the words of Martin Luther King haunt me. 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 by the content of their character.


  1. I happened upon this post four years later, one day after the hard fought and joyous occasion of the re-election of President Barack Obama.

    I agree with you on the importance for People of Color to have role models in high political office and other positions of authority and status look like you.

    Such role models reaffirm to children, and youth, and young adults that they too can achieve these positions.

    When I was a child, teenager, young adult, and when I was a middle aged adult I thought that a Black man would never become the President Of The United States in my lifetime. In 2007 when he first began his candidacy for President, Barack Obama was a United States Senator from the State of Illinois. He was only the second Black person to serve as Senator, and consequently that accomplishment was also almost unthinkable. It wasn't until Senator Obama won the important pre-national electoral event in the very White state of Iowa, that I and many other People of Color began to believe that he could be a viable candidate for President.

    That powerful image of a brown skinned President Barack Obama and his brown skinned wife and daughters is so self-affirming for Black and Brown people in the USA, and I gather, elsewhere in the world. As a result of President Obama being elected and now re-elected, I think that children in the United States of all races & ethnicities (with ethnicities here meaning "Latinos"/"Latinas") who can be of any race in the USA) may take a Black president for granted. But those of us who lived during a time with few role model in authority or status positions who looked like us recognize the psychological importance of President Obama. And the reality and the concept a Black President is also important to White children because it helps them to recognize the normative nature of People of Color in positions of authority & status.

    The next hurdle for the United States is electing a woman President. That may happen in 2016 since term limits prohibit President Obama from becoming President again.

    1. My first post! I totally forgot about it.
      As for the first woman President, I think you've also heard that perhaps Hillary Clinton will run for President.


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