In the very beginning of this nation’s history, Americans were under the power of England’s monarchy. The Americans were able to overthrow the shackles of bondage and created a Constitution that declares its steadfast belief in the ideals of freedom, equality and the pursuit of happiness. But immediately after the Declaration of Independence and even after the Constitution was signed and accepted by leaders of the new government, not every American citizen is treated fairly. One such group that was subject to this inequality was the African American population of the United States of America.
The recent victory of Barack Obama in the United States Presidential Election of 2008 is one of the biggest issues among many other big events that have occurred in America this year. This year’s election was even more controversial because of the racial issue, which they barely, if at all, had in previous elections. During the course of the campaigns, other candidates may have mentioned the racial difficulties in their speech or public pledge, but no candidate ever represented him-self as a minority.
The idea of having a Black President was unthinkable and unimaginable ten years ago. Yet, it must be pointed out that it was only achievable because America is blended by multi-ethnicity, which means America is like a melting pot, where all different races and cultures are mixed in one particular land, often called “a country of immigrants”. Many other countries aside from than the United States were and still likely to deny minorities as their presidents. This recent success, however, does not mean Obama’s successful run for president has broken through the ‘last racial barrier’ as political pundits have argued.
America has to be rudely awakened by the Civil Rights Movement to realize that there is still much work to be done with regards to racism in this country. When Martin Luther King, Jr. died, the nation was ready for a major change. Ending segregation in the South and improving the status of the Negro race is now the correct thing to do. The victory of Barack Obama sends a message of change that resounds with all the voters; it speaks of change and opportunity for all those who had none and all those who have none.
Although President-Elect Obama successfully won the presidential election, it does not mean that America has finally conquered the final barrier that exists in African American relations. This matter of breaking the racial discrimination is not a type of problem that one can easily solve. Even though we are living in a place where all men have equal rights and equal opportunities, the White priority thoughts has not been changed completely, despite of Obama’s victory in the elections. This, however, guarantees that that this country will become more globalized and internationalized. “The assumption was that if Asian American residing in such key states as California and New York could unite behind the candidates in either one of the major political parties at an eight to two ratio, the community accorded with a political clout instrumental to the removal of glass ceilings and the acquisition of greater political and social equity.” (Pg 171, What Ties That Bind?) Even though the result of the votes was not an eight to two ratio, the invisible walls among different races are going to disappear, but not completely.
The importance of Barack Obama being the first black President of America has an impact that is unprecedented to say the least. It speaks highly of the change that President Elect Obama has been harking for and shows the response that America has given. Over the years, there have been many barriers to racial equality. This has never been more evident than in Down at the Cross,” The Fire Next Time, where James Baldwin condemns the White society for debasing all the other communities including African-American Community. He states that White America is afraid of being “judged by those who are not white” and in doing so fails to love others. He also believes that White America is scared of African-Americans bringing in “new life to the Western achievements and transform them.” He feels that American society has to treat everyone equally and renounce the craving for White superiority if they wish to avoid facing the same plight. He strongly feels that Whites have gotten used to being superior and because of this racial equality will never occur until White America overcomes the fear of sharing power.
The key effect of the victory of Barack Obama is due to the unifying factor that it has generated. As news of his victory spread all over America, people flooded the streets in celebration. It was unprecedented to have so many people from many different races and nationalities standing together, excited to see what change would come. More importantly, it brought together members of the black community. In that one brief shining moment and perhaps for years to come, the black community finally had their champion who promised to not only end years of oppression but also promised the black community the opportunities that they so yearned for.
Never can it be claimed again that the Blacks were never given an opportunity to not only determine their fate but that of an entire nation. Cases such as the Rodney King beating and the Jena Six trial all promise to be things of the past with the election of Barack Obama. More importantly, a black President ensures that no minority will ever again be oppressed. It ensures that the blacks will have an equal opportunity in not only determining their fate but that of their fellow countrymen as well. This resounding victory also serves to inspire as America is plunged into this economic crisis it serves as a bright light; calling forth the black community and the rest of America to stand up, speak up and finally be heard. In the New York Times article, Thomas Friedman said
the Civil war could never truly be said to have ended until America’s white majority actually elected an African-American as president. That is what happened Tuesday night and that is why we awake this morning to a different country. The struggle for equal rights is far from over, but we start afresh now from a whole new baseline. Let every child and every citizen and every new immigrant know that from this day forward everything really is possible in America.
If there is anything to be learned from the recent elections it is that the successful run of Obama is a starting point of the whole new generation of racial equity. As the United States continues to grow in population size, the impact that the minorities have on the future of America will no longer be a minor one, to say the least. Without any effective action, these minorities will not be able to take advantage of the opportunities that America has to offer. Affirmative action was supposed to be the future of a great America. An America as envisioned by the forefathers who declared that no person shall be denied the right to life, liberty or property just on the basis of the color of his skin. Any effective action with regard to improving society should not be about segregating people or creating a different class. It should instead focus on creating opportunities for those who have none and building relationships that will ensure that America can remains as the great country that it has been and is for ages to come.
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