Just finished reading this DailyKos recommended diary, Inauguration Ball 2009, and actually got goosebumps.
Update: I am as lily white as you can get. I grew up in a small town in eastern Canada (Clarenville, Newfoundland – 2200+ people) until I was 16. I never knew a black person in all the time I lived there. I moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1986, and there I only ever knew one black kid. He was a member of a performing arts group I was involved with. Wonderful kid. The only reason I noticed he was black was because it was a novelty to me. I had never known a black person.
In 1998, I moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia for a year to do my Master’s degree. Halifax has a large black minority. Again, very little racial tension – at least none that I noticed. I studied and partied with a few black people while I was there. It never occurred to me that there was any difference between us except the color of our skin.
In 1999, I moved to Atlanta and all that changed. I could not believe how racial politcs was. I have never in my life had to walk on eggshells in conversations. It really never occurred to me that there could be such thing as racial tensions. I never knew that growing up. But moving to Atlanta really gave me an education that I did not want to get, because I never had any need for it. The politics of division was something I had never known.
I must admit, part of the reason I support Barack Obama is because he is black. But only part. I did not support Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton – not because they were black, but because I believed neither had the competence for high office. I also believed the only reason they were running was because of race.
In Barack Obama, we have pure, 100% competence. That he is black is a sidebar. But it’s a sidebar that I cannot wait to celebrate late in the evening on November 4th. We’re not only going to elect the most competent president of this decade. We’re going to make history by electing the first black president in this nation’s history.
I am tired of racial politics. Sick of it. I hope, with every fiber of my being, that Barack Obama is as competent as he seems. I want the Neanderthals to see a Black Man run this country well. I want them to eat Jim Crow. I want every decent white person in America to look at their racist friends and say “Look. He’s terrific. What were you thinking all these years you stupid fucktard?” I will be happy to have Obama in office – mostly because I think he is a smart, competent manager. But I admit, the prospect of a black man in office is the chocolate frosting on a very delicious cake.
In one of my first posts on this site (I can’t find it) I said that I didn’t have a racist bone in my body. I was mocked for that – as if to say every white person has at least a little racism running through him. Hopefully, from what I have written above, you can understand why. I just didn’t have those experiences growing up – and I am truly grateful that I did not.
Update: When I say “walk on eggshells” I don’t mean while talking with African Americans – implying that I would be saying racist things. I mean with white people who grew up here and have been subjected to racial politics all their lives.