Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Game Changer

I just need to pause to note, with a measure of awe, that we have a Black president, and it is becoming less of a big deal day by day. We have a brilliant and committed man as president. A loving family man with a lively sense of humor. A supreme politician able to lower the temperature among rivals, and able to articulate the reason and vision behind his decisions.

Yet he is also a Black man in the White House, an event that even the most optimistic among us never thought we'd see. And I find it so remarkable that this amazing fact is becoming less and less remarkable every day. It makes my heart swell with wonder that we have arrived at this place. But while it is no longer such a big deal, it is still a game changer.

Little Black girls can look at the First Lady and her daughters and know that no matter how dark their own skin, how far outside of mainstream beauty standards they stand, they, too, can be stunning and accomplished and celebrated and loved. Little Black boys can look at the President and see at last a limitless horizon for themselves, and a reason to reach for the once seemingly impossible dream.

And Black families, so often portrayed as fractured and dysfunctional, can look at the Obamas and feel vindicated in the knowledge that there have been families like this all along, quietly loving and raising and educating their children, even as they hold down jobs and do their part in their communities. At last, we can see ourselves reflected. Part of the fabric of a society. Woven through. Both remarkable and unremarkable. As it should be.