Lately, I have been avoiding my Facebook feed and deleting people who I realize have views much different from mine. Yes, I am aware that we all have varying opinions on all issues, large and small. However, as the United States Presidential election moves closer, I am reminded of the enormity of the race factor in this country. Hence, I no longer wish to be bombarded on Facebook with hate based words and images.
Despite the fact that an overwhelming number of caucasians voted President Obama in to office, there are still large portions of the population that, without verbally admitting it, are uncomfortable that a black man is in charge of our country. And yes, he is considered black, not biracial, despite the current climate of political correctness. If he wasn’t considered a black man, I highly doubt that the legitimacy of his birth certificate would STILL be a topic of conversation.
Has he been a good President? I can’t say; history will make that distinction for me. Will he be re elected? I hope so, despite the fact that I do not vote. (Another topic, for another day) Has he proven that race should not be the defining characteristic of a person? Sadly, not yet but maybe when my children are grandparents, having a multicultural President will be the norm and not the exception.
It is never far from my mind that it is important to teach my children that their biracial heritage should never limit them. I am reminded of November 4, 2008, when I sat in my bed, tears streaming down my face, and watched as Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. A black man with a white mother, who was not born into wealth, was now our President. It was an overwhelming feeling.
On that night, I wrote a letter to my oldest son, Isaiah, who was 13 years old at the time and better able to grasp the magnitude of this election. Following are the words that I shared with him:
I hope that, as you grow older, you will begin in some small way, to realize the importance of this night. I also hope that you paid attention while watching Obama’s win because you truly saw history in the making. I must confess that I never believed, that in my lifetime, I would see a black man become President of the United States.
While I understand that you don’t fully grasp the significance of this event; someday you will. Tonight, I feel overcome with joy and hope. For the first time in your life, I feel that I can look you and your brother in the eyes and tell you that, with hard work, you can become whatever you want. The doors are wide open for you now. Society may, at many times, judge you by your skin color but that does not define you.
President Obama was raised by a white, single mother and his father was not actively involved in his life. Look at what he achieved despite those obstacles! He had the love of his mother and his grandparents and he became a great man. Son, this is the hope that I have for you. You are a beautiful combination of intertwined roots that reach back to Africa and Europe. You are surrounded by more love than you can comprehend. Your heritage, combined with your intelligence, is going to take you far in life.
I am honored and grateful to be your mother.
I love you, Mama
How is race treated where you live? How do you teach your children about the racial differences in people?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Margie Bryant of Arkansas, USA. She can be found on Twitter @TheHunnyB.
Photo credit to http://www.flickr.com/photos/gingerbydesign/3005205122/. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.