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November 5th, 2008
08:25 AM ET

Race, post race

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/04/art.vert.obama.jpg width=292 height=320]
Michael Eric Dyson
Los Angeles Times

More than half a century ago, Langston Hughes captured the debilitating divide in the destinies of white and black children in his poem "Children's Rhymes": "By what sends / the white kids / I ain't sent: / I know I can't / be PresidentBy what sends / the white kids / I ain't sent: / I know I can't / be President." Forty-six years after Hughes, rapper Tupac echoed that declaration: "And though it seems heaven sent / We ain't ready to have a black president." Today, little more than a decade after Tupac's lament, we are ready for a black president, and the grief of dreams deferred is lifted.

By any measure, this is a monumental day in our nation's history. African Americans are rightly proud. The brutal facts of black existence - slavery, segregation and the stunting of social and political ambition - have dashed the hopes of black progress time and again. The election of Barack Obama symbolizes the resurrection of hope and the restoration of belief in a country that has often failed to treat its black citizens as kin. For millions of blacks abandoned to social neglect and cultural isolation, Obama's words and vision have built a bridge back into the American family.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Michael Eric Dyson • Raw Politics
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Conrad B.

    The significance of a black male US President is truly profound and cannot be underestimated. For much too long, the progress of American society has been hampered by the oppressive weight of slavery and racism. Unspoken but powerful restrictions placed on the ability and breadth of how black men can contribute to society have unnecessarily limited America's potential to be an even greater country than it already is. Last night marked a new beginning for America, and I have never felt more proud–and more moved–of being an American.

    November 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
  2. Rachel

    Abraham Lincoln is probably looking down this day....proud and is saying "I told you so...yes they can".

    November 5, 2008 at 2:25 pm |
  3. Earl Warren Hickman

    When it come to Barack and race, my question is, do white America do not count you as white if you got a drop of black blood. Barack Dad is Black, and Mom is White, but some white americans say they wont vote for a black man. Why dont anybody label Barack with White America. He is as much White as he is Black. Why no Black people havent said "I'm not voting for a white man". Why dont Barack get credit for his White Family, and his white up-bringing. Why do Black America accept Barack as a Black man, even though he is 50/50, but White America is giving Barack not credit as a white man? So it seem to be label as White American you got to be PURE 100% white. Is this the way we view races that mixes?

    November 5, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  4. Cindy

    Please...why do we always have to go back to slavery? No black person living now was a slave. Blacks are freer now than they have ever been. If they didn't go for the American dream before this they won't afterwards. If you want something you are supposed to work for it. Nothing is handed to you.

    Now that Obama won and the blacks have nothing to hold onto with the slavery bit who will they blame next!?

    Cindy...Ga.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  5. tuna

    ok rock star you won. Now comes the hard part- do the work. How about your first step is get rid of welfare and make everybody earn a living instead of waiting on your hand outs !!!!! good luck

    November 5, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  6. LJRoy

    This is a very evil person, and a "forerunner" of THE Antichrist in my opinion. His policy on abortion is so extreme, it overshadows all other policies he may have. This "human" is for FOCA that will guarantee abortion throughout a pregnancy up to birth for ANY reason, he favors partial-birth abortion, parents do not have to be notified, and in IL he has voted FOUR TIMES against helping a human baby who survived an abortion. AP never mentioned this, of course. This year, 40 MILLION persons-since 1973-were denied voting for a presidental candidate because their mothers decided they were "a mistake", not worthy of living a full life. Obama has virtually guaranteed that over the next 35 years, 40 MILLION human beings will be denied electing a president. I hope you are all proud of yourselves. You should get down on your hands and knees and thank God that YOU weren't aborted. God has NOT blessed America.

    PS-Dr Martin Luther King's niece is 100% pro-life so it ISN"T about race.

    November 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm |