How President Obama Helped Me Feel American8/04/2014
by crystal jaudon I grew up in Atlanta, which we all know is full of Black People. Black people f...
by crystal jaudon
I grew up in Atlanta, which we all know is full of Black People. Black people from all over the world and then some migrate to Atlanta to feel free, comfortable and able to express themselves in ways that they couldn’t or wouldn’t before. That was an amazingly affirming experience for me and I am forever grateful to my parents; however, even then I felt like the Other.
In the 80’s, The Nation of Islam was sweeping the nation. Public Enemy was on the airwaves and I was hearing names I’d never heard like: Stokely Carmichael, Assata Shakur and Huey P. Newton. I cut my hair and immersed myself in militant blackness. I felt empowered. I became aware that my blackness in America was what gave me that feeling of Otherness. I lived in a Chocolate City but Atlanta wasn’t the nation AND we were still only about ten years out of segregation, no matter what the textbooks say.
As time went on, I found myself in a voting booth trying to choose the lesser of two evils. I chose Clinton because he made more sense to my demographic even though I didn’t really expect him to provide a voice for my people. I hoped though that he could bring the cycle of GOP oppression of the working/middle class to a halt so we all could have some money and enjoy life to some degree. I was happy with the results. Under Clinton, we had financial freedom. My generation and my parents’ generation crawled out of debt and into a good time! The 90’s were Great! Thank you, Mr. President!
Suddenly a new face hit the scene and he was Black. Yep. Finally, someone who looked like me, talked like me and understood what being an Other in this country feels like. His family was beautiful, articulate and awesome. His wife is a lawyer, an Ivy League lawyer just like him and she looks great! I was all in. No longer did I feel like I was choosing the lesser of two evils. I chose Obama. I’m happy that I did. Look at all the good he’s done as a leader. People have money. We’re happy. The middle class finally feels like it’s growing again. Hell, I couldn’t find a full time job for years…and I’m a teacher! But, with President Obama in charge I’m gainfully employed in my chosen career. My children go to good schools because I can afford to live in a better neighborhood now. I’m finally living the American Dream.
Because of President Obama I feel it is my responsibility and my duty to not just choose the lesser of two evils anymore. I have become American. I don’t feel like my issues and concerns aren’t relevant to politicians. I am no longer the Other America. I am not only included but empowered. Voting for President Obama made me feel happy. My experience is valid and understood. His election changed the lives of people around the world in a good way. I can finally say, “I’m proud to be an American” and I understood exactly what Mrs. Obama meant when that quote hit the news. Republicans jumped all over that one but I know how it feels to live in America and feel politically ignored and I’m glad that I don’t have to feel that way anymore. Thank you, Mr. President!
Photo Credit: Ron Foster Sharif / Shutterstock.com