I don’t think that I’ve truly understood until yesterday exactly how terribly the black community has been hurt. How devastated the black community was by the violence inflicted on them. How deep the ache of murder, lynching, rape, benign neglect, and threats etched themselves into the black community.
I mean, I had known-but not really, not until last night.
What made it clear to me was not the sobbing black people the cameras kept flashing to, or the black college kids that walked so purposefully to my local voting center, or even all the former civil rights leaders that *told* us all what it meant, point blank, to have a black man as a president.
It was the way the first thing so many black folks said immediately after the announcement was-sweet Jesus, protect that man. It was the way so many black folks said that not so secret prayer, the way one friend didn’t look away from the television as she reached out almost desperately for another friend’s hand.
BFP also points out that some people are claiming that this election victory means racism is somehow “over” in the US. It’s clearly not that easy. On the BBC coverage I watched, they also repeatedly stated that Obama’s win “draws a line” under the racist past, in particular segregation. Talk about a short memory – it’s only a few days ago we were still watching footage of US citizens bleating vile racist shit outside McCain rallies.
I am so grateful for Obama’s landslide win, don’t get me wrong. He ran a fantastic campaign and he did some incredibly gracious, beautiful things with the entire United States, in every place he visited – he wasn’t purely focused on the battleground states, he wasn’t ignoring the South just because it was a given that it’d go red.
But I’m angry about all the other propositions that passed. The literally millions of people who think that me, my relationship, my love, my orientation, my body’s wiring, my queerness is somehow a threat to them, somehow damaging to their way of life, somehow harmful, somehow detrimental to society, somehow bad and wrong and evil.
So many worked so hard, to come so close. All of which, so hard to process, amidst the blinding light of Obama’s triumphant win. A dream deferred for 232 years, then come true. Racial barrier broken at the highest point imaginable, and on the same day another barrier is erected at the most emotionally intimate point imaginable.