November 9, 2008

Really? Really.

I'm trying not to let some of the bummer antics of people who are saying "racism is over" or "people need to stop whining now" dampen my post-Obama high. So, I hope this is the first and last post I really need to write about this.

But, writing it allows me to explore issues of race, which, after all, is my job, right? So, here goes. 

Here are some of the interesting comments I'd like to highlight from people who have commented post-11/4. As a note, I think these are interesting comments to look at regardless of who you voted for or who I, the writer, supported. They are an interesting lens into race in America. These are actual first hand quotes gathered from things like Facebook comments, website comments that some of us moderate, and face to face interactions. None of these are made up.

1. "Now that Obama is President-elect, people of color have no more reasons to whine." - McCain supporter
My eye catches 2 phrases in here: "people of color" and "whine". I think it's interesting that folks think that Obama's election affects and is meaningful to only people of color. Because I work in a predominantly white environment, I couldn't help but see more white people celebrating than people of color. If you were to walk around my environment the next day, you'd see white people being moved to tears, cheering, celebrating, etc. So, I think his success was a great day for people who voted for Obama, and not just people of color. Is there huge significance for people of color - particularly black men? Yes. 

"Whine". What were we whining about? Is it whining to be treated like Americans in the same way that other Americans are treated? Is 'activism' being confused as 'whining'? When I actually pushed this back on someone who wrote this, they responded with, "I'm sick of hearing successful and respected black people whining about the race card when they already make more money than I do and get more respect than I do." 

My response is that people of color are often treated with respect in certain places -- it's that we want to be respected all the time, not just in situations where we are there because of our positions. So, while my black male friends who have dreadlocks and dark skin are respected when they wear their suits to work, they are still followed in stores by security guards or avoided by people clutching their purses. Is that respect? Is it "whining" to not want people to assume you are going to rob them just because of the color of your skin?

2. "Just because my candidate, McCain, lost doesn't mean that I won't support Obama as my President. Can you actually say the same?" -McCain supporter
As a Democrat living in a country ruled by Republicans for over 8 years, yes, I can. I did. I have. I didn't agree with George W. Bush and his policies. But, I still supported our countries. More importantly, I supported the men and women who chose to leave their families and fight overseas so that my family could be safe. 

3. My Facebook status read: "I am waking up with a new love for our country." Some responded with "Well, I have always loved our country and have always been proud to be an American." I thought it was interesting that a few people read that as saying I DIDN'T love my country. In fact, it says, I am waking up with a NEW love ..." I voted for Obama AND I love my country, support with deep humility and respect for the men and women risking their lives overseas, and for the families who are left behind waiting, mourning, or celebrating the return of their loved ones. And, I have always been proud to be an American. Why was there an assumption that I, or other Democrats, don't love my country? 

So, chime in! What are some of the things you've heard and had to deal with -- from either side??