It’s A New Day

Photo Credit: Jayme Leita - BigStockPhoto

Setting political viewpoints and economics aside, today I am rejoicing.

Why?

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve thought long and hard about the issues faced by African-Americans in our culture. As a Caucasian male, I won’t pretend to have any real comprehension of what this is truly like. I spent most of my early childhood years in a suburb of Houston where racism was completely unknown — at least to me.

However, I’ll never forget the year I spent in Montgomery, Alabama. Many of my friends were African-Americans, and while I was completely bewildered by the culture shock I experienced, I did my best to try to develop an understanding for why — even as recently as the 1980s — racial tensions were unbelievably high.

That year changed my perspective forever. The bigotry that existed left an indelible impression on me. And it seemed clear to me that a lot of healing needed to occur — for all races involved — in order for there to be real progress.

And that’s why, today, as I sit and watch the pre-inaugural proceedings, something in me wells up with joy. I feel it in the air… I am thrilled for what the election and now the inauguration of Barack Obama  means to my African-American brethren.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife mentioned how much she enjoyed the song “It’s a New Day” by will.i.am. You must admit — it’s got a great hook. I downloaded the song from iTunes and we’ve enjoyed it ever since. The song seems to capture the feeling of victory that we should feel in this nation as an African-American reaches the highest office in the land.

Writing a post like this one may stir up feelings that I don’t intend in any who read it. Perhaps, if you’re an African-American, all I’ve done is reveal my real ignorance. If you’re not, you may feel as though I’m making too much of this event.

I don’t think we can make too much of it, but I’m also not ignorant enough to believe that there isn’t more healing needed. But I’m hoping that this goes a long way.

5 Replies to “It’s A New Day”

  1. Well put, David –
    the problem comes when Barack Obama as an African-American refuses to seriously address the plight of the African-American community. He’s yet to do that. Nothing that comes out of his mouth suggests his willingness to inject self-sufficiency, ability to fail, and a lack of accountability for our actions.

    This is what Black Americans need- more people like Bill Cosby who speak out against the apathy and lethargy that plagues black America.

    You hear it now- even as the country elects its first Black President, already excuses are being made that “racism still exists in this county”, it’ll never go away… etc. etc. etc. That’s a poor mentality.

    By contrast – the Black Americans who voted for Barack because he is black is every bit as bigoted as Whites who didn’t vote for Barack because he is black.

    No one will address this for fear of being painted as a racist – and until we can have these kinds of discussions in a public forum- then we can elect an entire Black Congress and it won’t change anything.

    These are core problems that we have.

    Obama played on this country’s racial tendencies numerous times during the election; which made me sad. And no one ever called him out on it.

    We have some serious issues and I’m afraid that Obama’s election isn’t going to make things better. I feel like Barack’s color of his skin trumped the content of his character (at least from what I see during the campaign) – which is every thing Dr. Martin Luther King was against.

    But… time will tell.

    – TMS

  2. Excellent post, David. And Torrey… fantastic commentary! I was struggling to address this issue in my latest blog post and finally gave up in frustration. Well put!

    May God bless President Obama with abundant revelation and godly wisdom to lead us all into a new future.

  3. David G. Johnson – Sarasota, FL – Dad. Entrepreneur. Growth Engineer. Geek. Writer. Speaker. Motorcyclist. Technology Enthusiast. Passionate about entrepreneurs, business owners, and the dreams they're growing!
    David G. Johnson says:

    Thank you to both of you for jumping in here.

    Torrey, I appreciate your perspective on this very much. As someone who can speak from experience, your views on African-American issues are highly significant. I agree wholeheartedly about what you’ve shared here. We still have significant cultural and societal issues to address.

    And as for Obama’s actions during the campaign, he certainly navigated the race issues as only a highly-skilled politician can do. It would’ve been unpopular for virtually anyone to call him on it. It is precisely this level of skill — politically speaking — that concerns me.

    I’ve already taken some heat for writing this post with people questioning my political views. I’d like to re-iterate that I set politics and economics aside for the purposes of this post.

    I believe real progress has been made on the racial front with his election. Only time will tell how much lasting impact it has. But it was that issue (and that issue alone) that was at the heart of this post for me.

    Politically and economically, we may need to crash and burn a bit (as a nation) before the American spirit that made this country great rises up and says, “enough!” to the forces that are stripping us of our freedoms and sidling us with enormous debt. Hopefully it won’t get too bad, but if history is any indicator it will get much worse before it gets better…

  4. My friend –
    I didn’t mean to imply you had any political angle in your post, and I know you have the best intentions in mind and heart. So if what I posted came off as anything other than the inane ramblings of an “ABC” (Angry Black Conservative) – my apologies.

    It’s a shame you would be taking heat for a political post in a country that celebrates the freedom of speech as we do – but … therein lies the great irony that is America.

    Having said that- my only counter-point to your point is while the moment really is one for the history books- regardless of how we got there- and that moment isn’t lost on me. Whether the country is genuine or misguided in its beliefs, we have turned a corner in the discussion on race relations in this country, and I’ll be able to tell Yaira one day that my generation elected the very first black President of the United States.

    My only point, and one I think is getting lost in all of the “Obama-phoria”, is we still have a long way to go before Dr. King’s dream of judging a man by the content of his character and not the color of his skin is achieved. People give that a negative connotation- but I ask you, being that anyone and everyone who criticized Obama on his political views, his ideology, and the potential direction he intends to take this country- is deemed a racist, and Heaven help you if you’re black and do the same thing (the term Uncle Tom comes to mind?) … then we’re holding Obama to a different standard than any other political figure on the basis of his color. That’s not fair.

    Obama should be held to the same level of scrutiny, doubt, etc. as Bush, or Clinton, or Bush 41, or any elected public servant. It’s that time, when we can objectively disagree with Obama, or Bill Richardson, or Hillary Clinton, or *insert minority here* based on their merits and not be called misogynist, racist, sexist, bigot, etc. etc. … that we will have realized Dr. King’s dream that it’s okay to critique and criticize as well as revere and praise our elected officials.

    Frankly, I don’t see any of that in the election of Barack Obama – moreso, a regression in the country’s racial tendencies- not a progression.

    But, what do I know? 🙂

    – TMS

  5. David G. Johnson – Sarasota, FL – Dad. Entrepreneur. Growth Engineer. Geek. Writer. Speaker. Motorcyclist. Technology Enthusiast. Passionate about entrepreneurs, business owners, and the dreams they're growing!
    David G. Johnson says:

    Apologies for letting this discussion age awhile before jumping back in.

    Torrey… no apologies necessary, my friend. And Lord knows… there’s plenty of scrutiny to go around now that the “true colors” of the Obama administration are on full display.

    As always, I appreciate and welcome your perspective.

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