The Undying Issue…

Like most people I know, I watched the Inauguration this week. Historic and uplifting. Two things I can’t often say about our government’s activity.

I’m excited to see what the future brings, and curious to see President Obama in action instead of as an icon on a poster.

He’s hit the ground running. And like I said before, Presidents always seem to start well.

Yet I find myself sickened by the same thing over and over. I keep trying to get past it… to hope I’ve seen the last news story, or mention, or visual. It’s like an infesting fog I can’t get away from…

The TV, the web, magazines, photos, Talk-shows – I keep getting told that Barak Obama is black. His wife is black. His two little girls are black. Have you noticed, he’s black! Black people love him. Oprah’s there… she’s black! Aretha Franklin’s here too…. She’s black.

Let’s cut to the audience. Show someone Black. Let’s go to an interview… Be sure it’s someone black. Black.

I don’t give a shit.

I’ve never thought of him in terms of skin color. When I first saw a picture of him, I was able to acknowledge the significance of “the first African-American man to run for President / win the nomination / win the office….” . But Obama himself didn’t run on a platform of “Hey, notice my skin?” “Hey, look at all the black folks in the audience”.

I know what you’re saying. 45 years ago, Dr. King stood on the national mall and preached about injustice. He dreamed. And if you’d told anyone at that time there’d be a black president in under 50 years they wouldn’t believe it….

Yes. I get it. I’m paying attention. I’m aware of the historical significance.

And I’m thrilled that America can still surprise the world. I love that our founding fathers were thinking in terms that couldn’t even be realized for centuries to come.  Things they couldn’t even realize.

But to be fair:
1 – We aren’t the first or the fastest. South Africa hung on to segregation with an iron fist until the 1990! Then apartheid gets overturned in 1994, and Nelson Mandela becomes President.
Based on that, what took us so long?

2 – Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t preaching about special notice. He was calling… dreaming… of equal rights.
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

Barak Obama is the President. No matter your gender, background, color, education, religion, opinion on abortion, or interest in American Idol.

All of us. Together.

When FDR was President, did the nation obsess over how others in a wheelchairs felt about having “one of their own” in the white house?

When Reagan was President, did all the cutaways at his speeches have to show some octogenarian trying to stay awake in the audience?

When Kennedy was President, where there constant interviews with Catholics?

Stop already. The color it takes to paint Obama’s portrait is so unimportant to his job as President that it shouldn’t even get mentioned.

I fear we’ve missed the dream:

“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.”

That’s fantastic. I’d like to live in a whole world that way. I’d like to apply that across the board to everything beyond skin color….

Yet I read THIS article on CNN the day after the inauguration…

It marvels that the Obamas seem like a “normal” couple, not a “Black” couple. Shocked that they are loving. That Barak isn’t treating Michelle like his “woman” and Michelle isn’t going into some overly-loud sitcom like fit about “Lemme tell you what my man did….”

I have to stop for a minute….

(Very foul language removed.)

How is this getting printed?  Even in jest.

A loving marriage, or a healthy family is not limited to a certain race. Do we really think that? I don’t care what statistics say – I’m asking the question – Do we think… as a nation… as a world… that only certain skin colors are destined to live “normal” lives?

And if so… Dr. Kings dream has gone up in smoke.

“I have a dream that one day,… little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”

I know a couple who has three kids, 6, 3, and 1. They are a well off WASP billboard if ever there was one. And they have made no mention or acknowledgment of President Obama’s skin color in front of their children.   –  Because they don’t want their kids to have any realization that he and his family are different from their own.

It’s historic. And those kids will learn all that of course….

But one minute our culture seems to insist “Race shouldn’t be an issue”… and the next minute, I can’t get away from having the “Difference” shoved down my throat.

Pointing something out makes it an issue !!

This has to stop.  And I hope that the Obamas help it stop.

Now I have a dream… that all this really won’t matter in the near future. That the President can be the President.  Cause that’s a damn busy job. And Freedom is difficult enough to maintain without unnecessary complications:

“And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”


  1. I couldn’t agree more if I had said it myself. Everytime I think about this “issue” my mind always goes to a Seinfeld episode where George goes out of his way to find a “black” friend to prove he’s not a racist…

    Carl: Do I know you?

    George: Yeah, sure, we met at Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment. When you fumigated for fleas over there.

    Carl: Seinfeld… Oh yeah, funny white guy, right?

    George: Jerry? Yes, I suppose he is white. You know, I never really thought about it. I don’t see people in terms of color.

    When a sit-com goes out of its way to mention an issue it is usually because that issue has been “beaten to death” by us already… lets take note.

    When the Government swiches us over to DTV next month, maybe they should just go ahead and switch all of the broadcasts to black & white as well… just so we all don’t forget what race our new President is. I admire you for taking a stand on this.

  2. Funny, I wrote almost the same thing on almost the same day.

    The huge emphasis on an irrelevant factor seeks to perpetuate the myth that people with a different skin color are different in any other way.

    Each person is unique. And, anyone who does advanced color correction knows that, while the amount of pigment in skin varies, the color of all human skin is the same.

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