I can see my kids asking me this.
Obama’s election won’t result in a generation of kids that find a black president of the United States a normal thing. Folks would like to think so, but it simply isn’t true.
If it’s after four more years or not, when Obama is out, things are going to be strange for a while. Way stranger than these past four years have been. It won’t be strange for America. Just strange for us.
A sense of disillusionment will wash over all of us, regardless of how cautious you have been about your support for the man. It may not be a massive wave of crippling sadness, but something will be there. I half expect there be some sort of quiet “social depression of Black America”. Post-Obama syndrome.
Something will have to happen, though. We can argue whether or not the man had any direct impact in our communities, but look: we just had a black president. For four, or eight years. After 43 white faces, you have to admit that at least some re-calibration will be needed. And even if we don’t have to do some adjustments within ourselves, we will have to adjust to the shift in the national climate. Because to white America, once that man is out of office, that’s it. America is officially post-racial.
So things won’t be so cut-and-dry for the children of our future. I know that my kids will understand that they aren’t living in a “post-racial” America, as I have understood growing up. But unlike me, they will have been taught that theyhave been born into this post-racial America; that the America they know never had any issue with racism.
I know that we are taught this now, but imagine how explicit it will be twenty years from now. Today, the tale of Obama’s rise is still tied to historic racial struggle. They still talk about the movement. But you see how little of it they speak of now. Imagine how this story will be told in a decade or two. The folklore will be far simpler. And this grand story will be told while no other black man is elected into office.
So it may be that all my kids’ white friends won’t bat an eye. I can’t speak to that. But I know my kids will ask me about having a black man as president growing up. As if it is a fantasy or legend. Because it will be as strange to them as it was me. Hopefully a little less, but let’s be honest here.
What is funny is that I wouldn’t know what to tell them.
What was it like having Obama as president?
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