Just like everyone else who voted, I was excited to see what the results would be on election night. Mr. Perfect came up with the idea of having a Steak & States get together for two at his place to watch the results come in. As the results came in and we watched each state turn red or blue, we shared our other experiences with elections–watching the results come in, voting. We had listened to months of debates, campaign ads, and speeches before casting our votes. We didn’t just vote for now President Barack Obama because he was Black, but because we believed in his agenda. Yet and still, it gave us a thrill to see a Black man who was fully qualified run for the presidency and win. Now, I wonder, who’s going to be the next Black president? How long is it going to take for that to happen? How long will it take for having a Black president of the United States is no more remarkable than having a Black president of a company, or a Black Principal, or a Black college graduate? What about other minorities?
When we’re talking about Black firsts, there are two different ways in which people respond. Either people now accept that Black people are capable of doing something, or they place the individual who accomplished the feat in the exception category. The first is sometimes easier than the second. The first Black person carries the burden of the entire race, especially if he fails. If he fails, well, that’s how they are. Didn’t we know they wouldn’t be able to hold their own? Yet, if they succeed, they may very well be labeled as exceptions. Well, they are smart or successful, but they aren’t like other Black people. People are more apt to accept failure as representative of the race than success.
I am not one to write politically or racially, but it’s been on my mind lately to remind us that we are not post racism simply because we have the first Black president in office. When it isn’t a talking point that the man in office happens to be Black, then we will have accomplished something. When no one bats an eye at qualified Black people running for President, then maybe we will have implanted the idea firmly in our heads that we are just as capable as anyone else. It wasn’t a fluke or a trial and he wasn’t an exception; a qualified man ran a well thought out campaign and won an office. But we aren’t there yet.
I have a great deal of respect for anyone who is a trailblazer, who has gone and done something that no one else had up to that point. However, it doesn’t matter whether they blaze a trail if no one else travels on it. It’s time for people to be responsible for continuing to be the change they want to see take root and become more permanent. If you’re passionate about a particular issue, volunteer and get the word out. No one has any excuse for mediocrity.
That’s my two cents anyway. Feel free to leave your comments in the comments section. And please, no political endorsements or proproganda. This is simply a meditation on continuing legacies of success, not an endorsement or any party or candidates. Thank you.