Monday, August 25, 2008

What I’ve learned at the onset of the Second Coming in American Politics, Part 1

A few things:
Namely, the second coming isn’t exactly what everyone expected. He can’t command the seas to part with a wooden staff.
He doesn’t turn water to wine.
He can’t raise the dead.
He doesn’t stutter. As a matter of fact, he’s the most loquacious and eloquent speaker of them all.
He’s a smidge darker than I originally imagined, yet a shade lighter than most.
He’s a shrewd politician and strategist.
He’ll make mistakes.

If the national stage is a microcosm for the rest of society, then at work, I’m watching the manifestation of generational struggles and long held wide beliefs of the intelligence and competence of African Americans by their white colleagues.

A coworker emailed me to ask me ‘Who’s side am I on?’ singularly. The project we’re working on is a joint venture between a Harlem based black owned company and Westchester based white owned company. I’m black and work for the Westchester company. The presumption is loaded in the question. As an obvious black person, I obviously fall on the black side.

I think she was rabidly pro-Hillary in the primary days.

Another question surfaces in the days to follow: What race is the admin on staff?
An answer in whispers: I think she’s Latino.
A snort in response: Same difference.

In this new world of American life and politics, there are still some miles to go before we sleep in the daily professional lives of working Americans. When we are we judge by character and performance rather than how we look?

The NYT magazine article from a couple of weeks foreshadows a period where an Obama presidency will not allow for any real or substantive critique of black America’s experience of discrimination or injustice as long as the Obamas are chilling in the Rose Garden. As if this singular, yet momentous reality in American history is prohibitive of rebuke or accountability. Generations of narrow-mindedness don’t dissolve overnight. It still lives in the ether. On both sides. Some of our most stalwart allies for equality still hold prejudices and presume an embattled attitude of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. And with a challenged economy, these attitudes that stem from a deep frustration of the current economic climate will worsen. I can only hope that it won’t be exacerbated by multi front military conflict in the Middle East and Asia.
I’ll more to say on that later.

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