From the dark and dusty ghettos that hide our country’s forlorn and forgotten, to the upscale restaurants seating the rich and powerful, “yes we can,” rang out, escaping the lips of millions, all of different races, watching history being made.
Standing among the hundred or so people packed inside CB & Pott’s clubhouse last Tuesday during the Associated Students of CSU Party After the Polls event, it was fascinating to see how many diverse students made an appearance to watch the election results pour in.
These students might never again stand in a room together, but that night they gathered around the television sets, celebrating President-elect Barack Obama’s victory. Everyone seemed unified until I heard it. A comment I never imagined would pop up: “Finally, some black power in Washington,” a woman nearby said.
I didn’t think anything of it until unfolding the newspapers Wednesday morning. USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post’s front pages had one obvious similarity: Each called Obama our first African-American president.
Yet, Obama isn’t just black. Obama isn’t just white. He is biracial, something that most American media outlets and voters alike seem to have forgotten.
Undoubtedly, the election results were a huge victory for communities of color in our country, but it isn’t these communities alone that celebrate putting Obama in the place he is at now. Obama’s win was also a win for millions of others who don’t identify as a minorities.
“God has vindicated the black folk,” said Rev. Shirley Caesar-Williams, an African-American, Sunday in Raleigh, N.C. at Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church. “Too long we’ve been at the bottom of the totem pole, but he has vindicated us, hallelujah . when I look toward Washington, D.C., we got a new family coming in. We got a new family coming in. And you know what? They look like us. Amen, amen. They look like us.”
But Obama does not only look like the communities of color; he looks like all of us because he is a little bit of all of us. His father was from Kenya and came to America on scholarship as a student, and his mother was a white woman from Kansas.
It was not black power that chose Obama as our next president; it was not even white power. America chose him. Not just one American race, but all different races cast their ballots last Tuesday and chose a man who stands for blacks, whites and all others in between the racial spectrum.
Obama himself even identifies as a biracial individual. Last week, when lightheartedly speaking with reporters about the new puppy he plans to buy for his family he said “. our preference would be to get a shelter dog . obviously a lot of shelter dogs are mutts – like me.”
Although calling himself a mutt might seem self-demeaning to some, his point is that he is biracial. Even fellow multiracial individual, Tiger Woods, recognizes that Obama does not stand for just one race, but for all races.
“He represents America, he’s multiracial, and I was hoping (this election) would happen in my lifetime,” Woods said when speaking with CNBC reporter Jane Wells last weekend.
America, in the aftermath of the election, needs to embrace Obama as not a black president or a white president, but as the American president who represents all of our diverse people. Obama is biracial, and that alone is more symbolic for our country than the prevalence of one race.
The millions of lips, forming three words, “Yes we can,” were lips of all different colors. People must find unity in Obama’s biracial background, instead of seeing his victory as one race dominating over another.
Kelley Bruce Robinson is a freshman journalism and technical communication major. Letters and feedback can be sent firstname.lastname@example.org.