I woke up this morning in a post-racial world.
Four years ago, before he became the junior Senator from Illinois, President-elect Obama translated the American motto, and went on from there:
E pluribus unum: “Out of many, one.”
Now even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us — the spin masters, the negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of “anything goes.” Well, I say to them tonight, there is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America — there’s the United States of America.
The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an “awesome God” in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.
Ain’t that the truth?! What Obama said four years ago is true in spades today. We are one people. There is no black America and white America. There is no Hispanic America and Anglo America. There is no gay America and straight America. These divisions are artificial and of little importance compared to what can unite us. What can unite us? To start, we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We as a people are defined by the Declaration of Independence. There is nothing in the Declaration about race; nothing to legally discriminate between men. The appeal to universality of the Declaration is total.
Of course I realize that in our daily lives we are not defined by the text of the Declaration. But in a country where a liberal Black man with the Arabic name Barack Hussein Obama Jr can be elected president of the USA in a near landslide, while the nation is engaged in a worldwide struggle with Muslim terrorists, then that is proof positive that racism is utterly inconsequential in the America of 2008, as is Islamophobia.
That’s the way it should be. Racism is so much hooey, as is the idea of race itself. Race has always been a shorthand term used to describe ethnic groups. But those of different “races” meet each other all the time, communicate all the time, work together, play together, and fall in love all the time. There is nothing in “race” that prevents us from joining together. Back in the 19th century, the same “progressive” movement that brought phrenology and spiritualism to prominence raised up the pseudoscience of race and used it to justify great injustices, such as the depradations of the Democratic militia known as the KKK, the Jim Crow laws that continued the despicable practices of slavery under a new name, and the European wave of colonization that plunged large swaths of the Earth’s surface into bondage.
Now we have President-elect Obama.
Something has changed. The potency of race as an excuse and a battering ram has been bled dry. No black child has any excuse for not dreaming of some day having a normal, successful, and stable life with a job, a spouse, and a house full of children. It isn’t just for Huxtables. It is for everybody. It’s something that everyone can aspire to and achieve, unlike basketball or football stardom.
No excuses needed. Not when Obama won the most powerful job in the world fair and square, without needing a hand up from affirmative action in order to win.
Roughly forty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr said:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
Today in Atlanta we have black and white boys and girls joining hands and chanting “O-ba-ma” together. What MLK dreamed has come to pass. It is time to declare victory over racism in America. Racism has finally been put to sleep. The proof of this statement is in the election of Obama. It is time to declare victory over racism and dismantle the machinery that exists only to carry on the moral equivalent of war against racism. Affirmative action is no longer needed in an America that elects Obama to the office of President. This is no longer the America of the Jim Crow laws, let alone the America of the Dred Scott decision.
When we win a war, shouldn’t we get out in 16 months or less? In the case of the moral equivalent of war, shouldn’t we do likewise?
Ward Connerly has been trekking across the US in a somewhat quixotic quest to repeal affirmative action legislation, state by state. This is something all Americans should be able to support.
We can all get together and say:
“Hello Post-racial world! It’s me, America, calling.”