As we watch our new era of hope unfold, I can only wonder what comes next. As the black man takes residence in the big (white!) house and actually enters through the front door, what happens to the image of the black butler? As Michael Moore put it so aptly, “In a nation that was founded on genocide and then built on the backs of slavery,” what happens now to the weaving of institutionalized racism?
Is this the opportunity for true, step-by-step healing, and learning what it really means to be equal? Or is the insidiousness of nooses going to be creeping around each corner? Are we indeed into the depths of black versus white, good versus evil? Are we ready to take the plunge of being colorblind?
As I walked around the day after we elected the astoundingly levelheaded bringer of hope, Barack Obama, I found myself walking straighter, with my head held higher, feeling hope springing in each step. And, I found myself musing and turning over the last 400 years of “his”-story, thinking that when we have used racism as a means to economically keep down a people, to dehumanize and debase, what indeed are our first steps, and what will be the continued bridge?
I am gratefully hopeful that in raising our heads, our minds and hearts will rethink how we use our words and actions. And just perhaps, this will indeed be the dawning of “for the people and of the people,” and that all people are—yes we can, and are—created equal!
— Ariel Harris