Thursday, August 25, 2011

Only cloying if you can survive without sugar

Photos President Obama with the Norman Rockwell painting that hangs in the White House are bouncing round the blogosphere, but I'm glad I happened to run this video from the scene that was the photo's origin.

Listen to what the girl in the picture, Ruby Bridges, says about the scene decades later.

In this season of discontent with Obama, we need to be reminded of the people who see something else. I'm broadened by the thoughts of a woman who writes as Bint Alshamsa:

Barack's identity as a mixed-race/mixed-ethnicity person of color gave my child something that every white child in America has been able to take for granted their entire lives: the ability to see someone who looks like her in the White House. The exhilaration and triumph that Irish-Catholic Americans felt when they got to see photos of the Kennedy family eating together, playing together, working together, and just being there now gets to be experienced by families like mine. It changed the way the entire nation eventually felt about the idea of having more Irish-American Presidents.

I suppose if an individual already had what most people of color didn't experience until Obama became President, his re-election might not be a very thrilling prospect. Maybe there isn't much for them to personally feel excited about. I can definitely understand that. However, having witnessed unprecedented positive changes rippling through every facet of my communities, I see many reasons why it would be beneficial for Obama to be re-elected.

I think it also needs to be understood that the first person of color to occupy a role in our society is never a true radical. A truly radical person of color would never have been elected President. Even the self-identified liberals and progressives wouldn't have allowed it. Sadly, it seems that the traits that made Obama electable in the eyes of white America are now the very same ones that many progressives and liberals are unhappy with. I wish that I could explain to some of my loved ones who are white that Obama's role is not to enact the kind of revolutionary policies needed to fix this society. His role is to make it possible for that revolutionary to be accepted by white America. It isn't Paul Robeson that changed the way white American sports-lovers viewed black athletes. It took Jackie Robinson to do that. Robeson was too revolutionary for most of white America to accept, but Robinson was malleable enough to endure the kind of abuse that America requires people of color to tolerate in order to achieve new levels of (begrudging) acceptance. Being anything other than a complete milquetoast and even white liberals and progressives will label a person of color "too angry", "uppity", or a "loose cannon".

In my eyes, Obama is doing exactly what people like me need him to do. ...

Not my eyes, but hers, reminding me we need sugar as well as bland nutrition.

H/t Coyote Crossing.

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