My President Was Black

I think the hardest part of this impending Trump presidency is that we grew up in a hopeful and somewhat coddled America. Most of our generation has only ever known a Black president, and not many of us were aware of the deeper truths of his Presidency. For us, it was a race barrier broken, one glass ceiling shattered.  It hurts to see this freedom taken away, to see this great legacy halted by this new President-elect. It hurts to see our beloved nation taking so many steps backward. But at the same time, this seems a direct consequence of the last eight years. For the majority- for those with a white badge of advantage- they’ve felt as though their country was taken away from them for the past years. And now they’re getting it back.

That’s what’s been hardest on me. Obama believed in the greatness of this nation- he believed in the innocence of people, especially of white people. He attributed all historical wrongdoings to misunderstandings rather than widespread racism, and always believed in the good of America. Not everyone feels like that. Most people in our country- whether white or not- see things from a perspective of difference.

For Obama, it wasn’t a matter of liberal or conservative, black or white, Latino or Asian, it was a matter of America. The United States of America. And everyone’s experience was shared by a common hope.  It’s hard to see our country being torn apart by difference. And it’s especially difficult to feel that so the togetherness and progress we felt growing up was more superficial than we thought.
I love Ta-Nehisi Coates, and I love his article, My President Was Black. Check it out to read more about President Obama’s legacy and what comes next. It’s long but it’s definitely worth the read.

 

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