It was nice to wake up this morning and see Mr. Obama will continue as President. I trust he’ll make the right decisions for the majority of Americans, and to finish the good work he’s started. I also hope he’ll make things easier for me to get back in the country.
I dug up this piece which I wrote 4 years ago when he was first voted in. It’s a little romantic perhaps but I stand by the sentiments. Enjoy. And then watch this.
As a white man showing my support for a black man, I can’t help but think of David Brent leaning into his black employee and telling him proudly that his favourite actor’s are Denzel Washinton and Mr. Sydney Poitier. There is always a slight awkwardness to the white guy giving praise to a black man, always a slight suggestion of over-compensation, a tendency to appear too politically correct. And, if we are looking at stereoypes, there is probably no whiter man than me. My girlfriend tells me I have no rhythm, I wear factor 50 sun cream, and I I never know whether to punch the fist or high five the hand. In short, I’m Mr. White. But as I ran downstairs this morning in my plaid pyjama bottoms, turned on the TV to see that Barrack Obama had become the first ever Black President of the USA, I was genuinely overwhelmed with emotion. I welled up as I saw the footage of thousands of young Americans lined up in Chicago and heard Obama’s emphatic speech. But why? What does this mean to me? One I’m not American and Two I’m just a White guy.
Well, as I imagine it does for everyone, for me this feels like a defining moment in World history. It is certainly a momentous occasion for the black people of America, and while I can never fully understand what this means to them, I can certainly feel emotion at seeing so many joyful people on one night, and witnessing the realisation of dreams started some 40 years ago. But there is more to this night than just a success for black people. We have all learnt something. While Brent might, if asked, quip something along the lines of ‘People forget that we’ve had black Presidents before.. Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact, that bloke from 24… Of course we’re ready’, we could never know for sure until now. But, I find this day significant not just what it means to others, but what it means to me. Just the fact that that presidential race was run not on racial terms, that Obama’s rhetoric speaks loudly to everyone, is a reassuring indicator that while there obviously still exists discrimination in the world, that for the vast majority of us, race genuinely does not inform our serious judgements. And as I white man, I am proud that I can say this and not feel that typical white self-consciousness that I am over-compensating for something, or trying to make up for other’s deficiencies.
But this was not about proving a point. If it was it would only be a hollow victory. For me this means most because it was won by the best candidate, not the black candidate. Obama won this election as a man who appealed to the masses, all races, all nationalities, and did so regardless of his colour not in spite of or because of. This victory is a victory for us all. And while i do not want to play down the historical hope he has given to the black people, I am proud to admit that I get my own personal hope from his win. It represents a signal that we are getting slightly closer to equality and getting closer to understanding what equality actually means. It is certainly not David Brent telling people proudly that his favourite actors are black. I hope that in the future there will be less need to ‘prove’ our equal views quite so vocally, in such awkward terms as he. Because equality, by definition, should not need to be asserted. Instead it is actions which speak louder than words. And America has acted. They have shown the world a mirror and finally it is a reflection we can all be proud of.