<i>Black</i> in The White House

By Himanshu Shekhar | Last Updated: Monday, January 19, 2009 - 21:57
Himanshu Shekhar
The Compulsive Pilgrim

America today would be proud, proud because it has come off age. I am not sure whether Claudette Colvin is alive, but one thing is for sure- she would be a proud person when the President-elect finally walks on the red carpet leading to the White House. Way back in 1955 at the age of 15, she had refused to give up her seat in a Montgomery bus to a White person.

What a moment it would be!

History of America is full of events which would inspire the President and ensure that whatever wrongs had been done in past are corrected and since Jan 20th of 2009 it is a new beginning.

For example, just imagine how Adolf Hitler would have reacted, if only he was alive to see Barack Hussein Obama occupy the world’s most important address- The White House.

Jesse Owens in 1936 Berlin Olympics had given Adolf Hitler a bitter pill as the infamous dictator walked out of the presentation ceremony as he could not digest the defeat of the so called Aryan race. Many from among the ‘white press’ in USA wrote, “For an athlete, race and religion never mattered.”

Then came 1960, when a man called Cassius Marcellus Clay rewrote history by winning the most coveted Olympic gold in Rome. The world saw a new beginning as Cassius Clay symbolized all of what that the pluralistic world in US had meant. The victory was a watershed event in sporting history and papers all across the globe showered praises, some in over-enthusiasm and in an appetite for catchy headers went on to write, 'black gold.'

Clay was an emotional man and he went on to throw his Gold medal in the river Ohio. Four years after his historic victory in Rome, he went on to become the member of Nation of Islam and adopt a new name ‘Muhammad Ali.’

Indeed Ali was disenchanted, as the last thing a hero, or for that matter anyone, wants to hear is the being called ‘untouchable.’

But come Jan 20, there is a man who vows and I quote, “To continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America.”

At this moment, I stand convinced that Obama is the man who promises to ensure that no one ever is forced to throw away his gold medal again, that no one is ever turned away from any school just because he/she happens to be a <i>Black. </i>

A lot of talk has taken place about Barack Hussein Obama’s candidature before he was officially elected as the Democratic Party’s Presidential nominee and many believed that United States was not ready to accept a ‘Black’ as President.

The debate here is not just about the Black race but, I think, about all that is unjust, all that is unfairly humiliating and all that is not called terrorism but is more deadly. It can’t be of the supremacy of one race over the other. Obama, when confronted by his pastor Jeremiah Wright’s comments on race, did not go defensive; there was no need as here is a man who believed in Gandhi’s principle of truth.

The man of the moment rightly claims that ‘America at the moment is hungry for the message of unity.’ Unity which is not just of Whites, Republicans, Democrats, rich, poor neither segregated by religion but bonded by common aspiration of humanism. But let me just correct President Barack Obama here, it is the world, and not just America which is hungry of unity, peace and above all a role model.

Virtue of humanism is never bonded by geographical limitations, so when the world celebrated an Afro- American’s triumph against all odds, they had a hope that finally truth triumphed over evil. No matter whose President Obama is, world today looks upto him as the harbinger of change.

One can rightly argue against my high hope- but he gives us the- Audacity to Hope.

First Published: Monday, January 19, 2009 - 21:57

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