Today, Americans, especially African Americans, and people all over the world are still celebrating and enthusiastic about the results of the November 2008 presidential elections. We are now very much a part of history in the making as the first African-American president was elected in the United States. This is a phenomenon that many people have anticipated and wished for all their lives. This has been the dream of many-the belief that blacks could rise to the top of the social order and lead the most influential country in the Western world.
Individuals who still harbor remnants of the days of slavery and racial discrimination, are now blissful and content. They are now being led by one of their own. The King’s dream is being realized.
I expect many great feats to be accomplished during the Obama administration. I expect him to continue to represent the American people to best of his ability. I expect him to prove that African Americans in this society can exude professionalism, intelligence and success-traits that some of them don’t believe themselves.
On that night when the results of the election were revealed, I stood among a mass of college students, screaming and crying, and celebrating in every way they possibly could. They sang, they danced and even ran along the streets of the campus.
Happiness would not accurately describe the emotion in the air. It was something that represented freedom and victory-an occurrence that will forever lift my spirits when I relive that moment in my mind.
Amidst all this though, I couldn’t help but notice a few, but very apparent few, who used the victory as an excuse for violence. Young men rushed around the crowd, exciting anger in others by taunting the police and yelling that Obama was in the house now.
Somehow I knew that they were not conveying a message of peace. They threw swear words across the yards at the Caucasian police officers, and yelled and screamed in groups about their newfound superiority.
I cannot help but think that somewhere, some people believe that an African American in the White House is now an excuse to display bad behavior. They can now be violent and not be blamed as much because a black man is now in office.
They are no longer the minority class, but have been elevated to some degree above others, because of their new president. They believe that they now have a chance of being pardoned for their wrongdoing. I do not believe this is the case. Young people need to understand that wrong will always be wrong, regardless of who is in authority.
During that night, and the days following election night, I received numerous text messages that were being circulating around the nation. One of them stated that it was time to paint the White House black.
Others made parodies about the White House suddenly representing the “hood.” More fried chicken will be served on the first dinner table, and Obama may start addressing the public in slangs and dialect during his speeches and press releases. Or, he may soon grow out his hair and braid them into cornrows.
It is sad to think that most African Americans look at these character traits to represent themselves. They refuse to embrace the excellence and professionalism that the new President exudes, and instead associates him with the ghetto, or the hood-that place in society where there is a lack of proper structure and discipline.
I urge them to understand that being black does not represent these things. It represents individuality, strength, wisdom, courage and the ability to lead. These are the traits that they should embrace in their new president. These are the traits that they should try and imitate. He is the person they should look up to-the ultimate role model to motivate them into successful futures.
So, I do not believe that the new administration will mean that Blacks have more leeway or that the ghetto will move into the White House. It only means that we are now being led by one of our own, and we should seek to encourage him and use his accomplishments to propel us into achieving things that are great and desirable.