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Facilitating A Discussion on Racism: My Hope for Barack Obama

Like many of my fellow Americans, I am thrilled that Barack Obama won the 2008 Election.  As an African-American, I am also elated because the dream of my ancestors has been finally realized; all the sacrifices and blunt trauma that my ancestors experienced at the hands of their oppressors were not in vain.  Yet while I regularly remind myself that the systematic oppression of my African-American ancestors was (and still is) also detrimental to many White Americans, my mind often recalls the suffering of African Americans that regularly functioned under the yoke of racism. 

Though I constantly think of the enduring legacy that we, as Americans, share in the systematic establishment of racism, I am still elated with Barack Obama's election as President.  However,  I am also a bit cautious because I realize that racism is much more than an attitude--and that it is also much more than something that merely happened in the past.  Rather, it is a system that was not only fundamentally implemented in our country (and in our world) centuries before the historical election of Barack Obama, but is still upheld in our political, social, and economic systems.  For this reason, we as Americans cannot fundamentally assume that racism is over, simply because Barack Obama was elected as President of the United States.

Thus, it is my hope that as president, Barack Obama is upfront about this idea, and is willing to speak bluntly about the systematic oppression of minorities and women in not only our country, but all over the world.  It is imperative that he address the systematic nature of racism because throughout the election process, it seemed as if the topic of racism was avoided. While I know that this type of topic is difficult to discuss, having a leader present that can discuss racism with the masses would strengthen the understanding--as well as the eventual healing from--racism.  This discussion should be analytical in nature, complete with detailed evidence and logic that the American people can understand.

Far too often, Americans have not been duly educated about the systematic nature of racism.  In fact, many do not know the difference between racism and prejudice, nor do they know that there are different types of racism [structuralized, institutional, etc.].  While this knowledge is freely shared in some corners of academia, there is a huge divide between the academic community and the common people.  It is my hope that Barack Obama tightens this divide, allowing all to understand that racism is more than an attitude---that it is a system that has been developed and upheld by an array of processes, attitudes, and beliefs.

In an effort to tighten this divide, it will take Barack Obama to urge academia to put their classist differences [yes, there is a strong degree of classism in academia; this classism is keenly based on intellectual prowess and financial gain] aside and help the common masses to learn about this oppressive system.  By discussing the existence of this system, it can be dismantled—and literally torn apart and shattered.