Monica Roberts

A New Morning In America

Filed By Monica Roberts | November 06, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: 2008 Election, African-American, LGBT history, Monica Roberts, Obama wins, USA

Okay, so I was wrong.

It's one time I will happily say (and will write the post on November 5 if it plays out) I was wrong about an issue. I've always told friends that I believed the United States was too obstinately racist to ever put in my lifetime an African-American man in the Oval Office. I've always believed for that reason the first African-American president would be a woman rather than an African-American man.

Monica Roberts, October 1, 2008

obama next prezBut today I'm saying President-elect Barack Hussein Obama Jr. with a Texas sized smile on my face.

I woke up to the realization that on January 20, for the first time in this country's history there will be a First Family occupying the White House that shares the same ethnic background as the people who built it.

The words that many African-Americans spoke to each other as they danced in the streets after the historic call of this election at 11pm EST were similar to my own.

"I can't believe I'm actually seeing this happen in my lifetime."

"I wish my ________ was still here to see this."

"We did it!"

Like many African-Americans, I'm standing a little taller today and my smile is a lot broader. But I've also heard some comments from the "He isn't a real African-American" crowd. They see Obama as not descended from a person connected to the Middle Passage and will loudly insist that we are still waiting for the first African-American president to be elected.

While his mother is white and his father is a Kenyan, the man is a United States citizen. He is one of us, claims us in return and is connected to the African Diaspora through his father. His marriage to Michelle connects Obama and his daughters to a person who is descended from a survivor of the Middle Passage.

So yeah, he's definitely an African-American - an American who has African roots. Obama is fortunate enough to know exactly what part of the African continent he comes from and didn't have to take a DNA test to learn that information.

aa prrez celebration1.jpgSometimes, people who make a historical breakthrough are chosen by the moment in time. He was elected as our next president with the overwhelming support of African-Americans, the youth vote, Latino/a's, independents and GLBT Americans.

It was also a cathartic election because it partially erased the bitter memories of Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004. He broke the 60 million mark in the popular vote, and overnight began the process of restoring our good name as a nation to the rest of Planet Earth that the Bush mis-administration had badly tarnished.

How well he governs over the next four years will not only make a future election of a Middle-Passage-descended African-American possible, it also broadens the pool of presidential candidates beyond just white males. Someday we will see an openly gay president, a female president, a Latino/a, an Asian or even a transgender person occupying the Oval Office.

My joy over last night's election was tempered by my sorrow over the losses on the various ballot initiatives to ban marriage equality, same-gender adoption and affirmative action in several states. We are not a "post-racial" nation - by any means - just because of Senator Obama's blowout victory. As progressives we still have much work ahead of us before the promise of our "more perfect union" is shared by all who live inside the borders of the United States of America.

But for the first time in a while I'm optimistic that as a nation we can get there.


Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Funny, I'm not smiling. Somehow, the idea that thousands of people who thought they were married now have to wake up and find they aren't, the idea that single people who want to care for foster children now find that they can't -- somehow, none of that makes me smile. I can't imagine what kind of person you are that you could be smiling after Tuesday's devastating results.

Me, I'm angry, sad, depressed. I'm mad at myself because I voted for a man who denies that I am a complete human being, who thinks that I should be satisfied with "separate but equal." I knew I should have voted Green or Libertarian, but I got caught up in the moment and I voted before Obama put his final nail in equality's coffin with his disgusting MTV interview. I'm disgusted with Barack "I do not support gay marriage" Obama, disgusted with the African-Americans and Mormons and Catholics and fundamentalists who voted against equality. And I'm disgusted with your triumphalism in the face of this tragic and deeply hurtful election. For shame.

And had you voted for a Green or Libertarian Prop 8 would have still passed. So would have the other narrow-minded ballot measures.

I'm angry for the moment over the injustice heaped on our community in the name of a Joe the Carpenter from Nazareth. I'll be depressed about it for a while. Then I'll get over it. Anger wastes too much energy.

I knew that President elect Obama didn't support same sex marriage. I knew that he would reach out to the religious right. I knew he knew how to speak their language. He is treating my adversary with the dignity that it refuses to show me. He never said he was perfect. He said this is who I am, if you can accept that, we can work together. I did and do, and we will.

How dare Monica smile through your pain? My pain? It is her pain too. Her smile through my sorrow is my reassurance that the sun will rise tomorrow and nothing stays the same.

The elation of Obama's achievement was partially overshadowed by the upwelling of hate represented by Prop 8.

History was made indeed - and it is wonderful to see hope in people's eyes again...

finally... we got a black president now u white muthafuckin bitches gonna bow down you stupid muthfuckers and all yall can suck my damn dick... oh yea my nigga B said yall is some immature ugly ass creatures BITCHES!!!!!!! HAHAHAH

PS: Im a races Black man So dont ever message me you stupid muthafuckers BOW DOWN HOES


Bye

THATS NOT A VERY NICE THING TO SAY MR BROTHERMAN IM A NIGGA TOO YOU SHOULD GO TO CHURCH MORE OFTEN SINCERLY ANUTTABROTHA

I look at Barrack Obama as the melting pot finally working for all Americans.We can all look at him and see something familiar and hopefully thru that move forward towards an overdue healing.I voted for him not because of what I could personnally gain from him but because it sent the strongest message to my African American neighbors and the world and for us in the lgbt community it means we'll get there hopefully sooner than later.

Monica in response to your comments, "While his mother is white and his father is a Kenyan, the man is a United States citizen. He is one of us, claims us in return and is connected to the African Diaspora through his father. His marriage to Michelle connects Obama and his daughters to a person who is descended from a survivor of the Middle Passage" I have decided to include the following comments from mulatto.org.

"Not to be a further killjoy, but you did ask directly how I feel, so please bear with me...This milestone also comes with a caveat, a footnote. You see, for years (decades?), I have longed for the day we would have our first "Black" President, but the specifics of what my heart desired was someone who was descended from African slaves in America, someone whose parents had lived through the struggle, perhaps even someone who fought for Civil Rights, personally. I never thought that when we got our first "Black"/African-American President there would be an asterisk, know what I'm saying?

first "Black"/African-American* President

*But with a white mother and a Kenyan father.

Ya dig?

While we do indeed have our first "Black" President, like so many other "firsts" for African-Americans, the light skinned brother, preferably the mulatto, had to go first. I'm a mulatto, so that should be fantastic to me, right? Well, I'm also married to a Black man who does not have a white parent, if you see what I'm saying. The black men in my family do not have white parents. What is wrong with being black on both sides of your family? What is wrong with being a descendant of African slaves in the U.S.? When will those "Black" men, the ones with no asterisks, finally be deemed acceptable? (Am I really the only poster to mulatto.org with that perspective?) Barack Obama, I suppose, in this regard will serve as a milestone and also a stepping stone. One can only hope.

We haven't quite arrived, yet. I guess that's all I'm trying to say. But, what Barack Obama has achieved is incredible and I will support him as my President, like all good Americans should."

I agree with this person, "what Barack Obama has achieved is incredible and I will support him as my President, like all good Americans should."

I wish Obama and his administration the wish best. I do so because I love our country. My hope is that our country may also ocme to accept its LGBT child as well as those of color.


Hi Gillian:

You hit the nail right on the head and perfectly describes how I feel. Obama's victory to me is only a partial victory. Yes, as the first President-Elect of Color he has truly broken barriers for all. But when will America accept a Black President "tainted" by the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and the pre- and post-Civil Rights struggles?

It still surprises me how some people place their entire self worth on the ability to get married or not. Do all gay and lesbian people in this country (between 15 and 30 million) want to get married TODAY? Did the world explode when MA allowed same sex marriage, long after several countries had made it legal? Fuck no. Is the world going to explode because you can't get married in CA any longer. Fuck no. Are gay and lesbian people willing to trade their ability to keep their jobs over their right to get married. Seems like many are.

So, you can't get married in California any longer. BFD. But, you still have a job and employment protection in California, right? All of you Californians should be awful damn thankful you don't live in places like where I do. Not only can I not get married here in Georgia, but we have no hate crimes legislation, no insurance protection for trans people, no law preventing the panic defense AND no employment protect, ALL of which you have there. Sometimes it really pisses me off when Californians whine about "what we lost." My heart bleeds for you. Come live in Georgia for awhile and you will be damn happy to get back to where your job is protected.

Melanie Davis | November 7, 2008 1:01 AM

I have a dream for America, and the entire world to boot, and president-elect Obama's victory is one step toward that. My dream is not that little white and black and all other kids will play together, my dream is that all brown kids will play together one day.

I love the diversity of cultures, and I wholeheartedly believe in the desire to keep cultures alive and unique. Having said that, I believe that the world is changing in many ways, and we are just at the cusp of it. Our children are going to know a United States where there are many more visible "mulattoes" or whatever derogatory term you want to affix to "racially impure" people. In much of the Americas, the mixing of the races is a given with indigenous people's blood mixing with African, European, and Asian blood. Get over the Purity of race thing, already! In the future, we will all be shades of brown, and that is wonderful, too. We can lay claim to many cultural heritages or ignore them altogether as we please. Go back far enough in anyone's family, anywhere on the globe, and you will find that there is no purity of race, only the ebb and flow of a common humanity.

Barack Obama is the face of the United States, his is the face of the future, but then so are ours. As a third-generation American, my family hasn't branched out so much, ethnically, on this side of the world but still I have Germanic, Slavic, Pictish, Gallic, Sarmatian, Semitic, and Mongolian heritages. I've pink-ish olive skin (try matching a foundation for that) ,so I pretty much have to mark the "caucasian" box on a census form.

Nothing in all of creation is simple, so why embrace simplistic definitions of identity based solely upon the tone of skin?

I am sorry if this is rambling and incoherent, I've been up for 21 hours.

Melanie,
I know what you mean. I'm only 2nd generation Italian American on my mother's side, but my father's family has been in America for centuries. I have a rich background, and I am damn proud of it, because I am an American. My two sons married women of Mexican American heritage, so my grand children will have an even wider diversity. Add to that what my sons got from my ex-wife's side of the family and the lines get even more blurred.

America is diversity, as much as many hard-nosed white people want to believe. The term "white" is not real any longer, or "black." We are a very mixed race, and we should be proud of it. I am.

I'll put out a prediction now that the first woman president will be a conservative Republican.

OK, now let's see me proven wrong!

One of the most stirring images of the end of this election was CNN interviewing a classroom of children. One young (12 tops) black boy was trying to act tough in front of his friends while they were being interviewed, but when it was his turn he broke down in tears when he sobbed, "If Barack Obama can become President, then I can. It's not a lie that anyone can be President someday."

EDITOR'S NOTE: This comment has been deleted for Terms of Service violation. From our comment policy below:

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Please don't let it happen again; we expect better of Projectors.

Bil,
That young boy saying that made me cry. It took me back to my elementary school days when I hurt one of my teacher's feelings by sarcastically answering the same 'you can be anything you want in America' exhortation with the comment "except president of the United States".

No longer will any African-American, much less any child of color be able to say that. The pool of presidential candidates has forever been broadened.


The next four years should be quite interesting, indeed.