Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I want to be black. There. I've said it. After 49 years of relatively uneventful yet loyal Caucasianhood, I'm ready to trade in my membership card in this increasingly obsolete club. I mean, is there anything duller than being white right now? Now black....that's the new white!
Think about it. In today's America, Blacks dominate sports, and black culture rules in movies, television, music and fashion. And now, with our newly sworn-in President Barack Obama, blacks own the White House too and have become the welcome new face of politics. As a white kid growing up in NY's outer borough of Queens amid the racial turmoil of the sixties and seventies, I never thought I'd live to witness this incredible day; this awe-inspiring, historic new era in our nation's great evolution. And I'm damned jealous. Seems like black folks are having all the fun! I want to be black! Being white these days feels about as relevant as being at a Sunday night bingo session at a rural Elks Lodge. I want to be in the fun club!
In all seriousness, blacks truly deserve this exciting moment in the sun, for they have been crapped on in this country for hundreds of years. My God, how far we've come. Just 50 years ago blacks we're hung from trees, beaten in the streets, and denied access to "white" restaurants, bathrooms and other public establishments. Jump to 2009 and we have a 46-year-old black man named Barack Hussein Obama elected president while iconic symbols of black culture past and present--Beyonce, Usher, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin to name a few--perform for our new leader on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The same steps where, 46 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during a most violent and tumultuous time in America's history, delivered his plaintive plea for racial equality and unity in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
As I watched the inaugural festivities Tuesday I couldn't help notice the faces of older blacks--some crying--and wondered just how incredible this day must be for them. I noticed the young black Secret Service agent smiling proudly--uncharacteristic of the typically emotionless presidential protectors-- as Obama winked as he walked passed him on the Capital steps as he shook hands after his swearing-in. I noticed all the children, and thought how wonderful that they get to grow up in a new America, one where they will be largely free of the racial stereotypes and limitations that generations before them so painfully endured.
Yes, on this joyous, emotional and historic day and on those to come, I want to be black. I feel black. Today we are all black. And I'm very proud of our great nation in its pivotal moment in history. Once again, as it has so many times in the past, America has demonstrated its true greatness. Better days are ahead...