To White America
Yes, there is still racism in America. Just because you voted for Obama doesn’t mean you get a pass on checking yourself. You could still harbor prejudice against people not your skin color. You still can’t use the N-word. Not “nigga”, definitely not “nigger”. If you are singing a song and come across it, skip right over it. The cops still pull Black people over for “Driving While Black”. People of color still get discriminated against. The reason that Black guy is down is not necessarily because he refuses to apply himself. Going forward, when you see a successful Black person, don’t say, “Obama made that happen”. You may not be racist but your neighbor could be. Hell your dad could be. You may not see it, but the system you work for could still be a haven for institutional racism. Yes, White privilege is still a reality. Otherwise Obama’s victory would not be historic. No, Black people can’t be racist. Minorities may be the new majority, but Whites still rule the board room, the court room, the police station, the country club, etc. November 4th doesn’t invalidate Affirmative Action. I think there is less and less need for it, but unfortunately, we may not yet be living in a completely color/gender blind nation. Until we can be certain of this, there will always be a need for something like Affirmative Action. Yes, you can hate a Black person and not be a racist. If that good for nothing sonofayouknowwhat accuses you of being racist, it’s okay to laugh to their face. Pat yourself in the back; you went into that booth on the 4th, dug deep within yourself and rose above the box society had you caged in. The wheel is in motion, together we can start the healing.
To Black America.
Don’t for once think every door is now going to be open for you. If it were not open yesterday, it is not open today. There are still racist and bigoted people that don’t want you anywhere near their loved ones. Obama is not going to change their mind. In fact they didn’t vote for him. I will not be surprised if they say he is not their president. If the system was skewed against you yesterday, today it most likely is. Albeit he will be the president, but Obama is just one person. He can not with the wave of his hand correct all that is unjust in the court system. President Obama doesn’t guarantee you a job you are not qualified for. It won’t even give you one if you don’t apply for it. You may still not get all you apply for. You will still get fired if you are late three days in a row, come to work high, curse out your boss (even if he/she is indeed an asshole). If the cops catch you with drugs, hitting someone (even if they are your family) stealing, killing, you will go to jail…for a looong time. You could be executed. Obama will not get you in a school your grades don’t merit. If you are a parent and let your kids watch too much teevee and not do their homework, they will not get good grades, they may not get in to college, they could drop out of school (they might as well drop out of life). If you are not credit worthy and don’t have the money on hand, you will not get that car or house. If they give it to you today and you can’t afford it tomorrow, it will be foreclosed on you. You could be homeless. If you don’t work hard you could go hungry, so could your loved one. If you don’t exercise and watch what you eat, you could die of Type II Diabetes. F’ing around with every Tom, Dick, and Jane will get you STD’s including AIDS. If you come out lucky you could come out with a baby when you are not ready for such a responsibility. If you or your babydaddy/mommy doesn’t have a well paying job you can call a career, you are NOT ready for a baby. If the community doesn’t act right, the hood will still be a ghetto, crackheads will still roam the streets, ignorant negroes will still shoot up the block. And our mothers will go to bed each night with tears in their eyes.
To Africans on the continent.
The Atlantic is still a mighty ocean to bridge. If we don’t stop killing each other, Obama is not going to raise a golden staff and put a halt to it. If we don’t smarten up, globalization will still trample us. The African AIDS epidemic is an African problem Africans need to tackle like we did colonization. We need an African Obama, a politician that will inspire hope all across our continent.
To Africans in America.
Getting that Green Card is not going to be any easier. If Immigration gets hold of you after your visa expires, you could still be deported. If you don’t speak English or have an American degree, getting a job is still going to be difficult. When you do, don’t expect it to be behind a desk. Speaking English well and having an American degree is not going to guarantee you one. Not all Americans like you. You are not better than African Americans. If someone tells you you are, take it as an insult and react accordingly. You will still face stereotypes and bigotry against Africa and Africans. Educate the ignorant. Don’t ever shy away from confrontation. Every morning, wake up, put on your best smile, go out and work hard, raise your children to believe they can be the next Obama (maybe back in Africa).
If not that then What?
What we have in President Obama is an opportunity to renew our belief in ourselves, to know we are capable of all things. It is true all the things I mentioned above will not be handed to us, but we can get it if we try. The door might not be open wide, but if we knocked, we can assume we will be let in. Obama is hope. There is a way out of the ghetto and shantytowns. It may not be in a shinny Cadillac; we may need to walk, and perhaps bleed through the travel, but we can walk to the mountains of self-actualization. If nothing else, Tuesday should cement in our consciousness the truth that if we put in the hours, we will get the check.
Obama’s election was a test our fellow Americans passed with flying color. Here is an opportunity for us to step to the plate, and carry the baton. This November 4th victory is not a price, but an invitation to prove ourselves. If we rise to the occasion, then no matter what happens in Washington in the next four years, Obama’s presidency would have been a victory. If we fail to muscle the challenge, then the war in Iraq could end, the fight against global warming won, the national and our family budgets could be balanced, still to us it all would have been in vein. And that will be a shame, to know that given this historic opportunity we still couldn’t make any gains. If that happens, we can not in all honesty blame anyone but ourselves.
Read more of Ibe at http://www.atlanticrock.com