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Thursday, August 28, 2008

I had a whole post worked out.

I was going to trace the beginning of my knowledge about one Barack H. Obama, Jr., then a state senator from Illinois. I was going to use a lot of flowery language, describing in detail the "blue billboard, with large white lettering spelling out his name", and the fact that I thought he must be Japanese.

I'd trace the path I traveled to learn more about him, and how I followed him well before America learned his name four years ago, when he gave a keynote address no one saw coming.

I'd talk about how he, tonight, more than anything, would be as Maya Angelou wrote. The "hope and dream of the slave". Despite not having any slaves as ancestors, Barack Obama would rise their spirits tonight with a voice that has given voice to millions over the course of his historic campaign for President of the United States.

I was going to talk about how more than anything, I'd love to be in Pittsburgh tonight, watching this alongside my grandparents. (I fear I'd miss the speech, instead looking at their faces, curious to see how the years of bigotry, struggle and pain they've endured would manifest itself as they watched a Black man make a whole new kind of history.)

I'd planned to pontificate about how young Black men all over the nation will be able to see a face like theirs tonight, and wonder if Barack Obama had been around when my cousin was still alive, whether his example might have saved his life.

I want to share that moment with him. I also want to see my beloved Papa's face smile in Heaven tonight. I want to hear that laugh of his tonight as he hears Obama's voice. I want to sit alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., as, 45 years later, a Black man forwards all of us tonight further along the way towards the Dream.

But I fear that I don't have the grounding, the pain, the years under my belt and the righteous anger fueled by racial slights too numerous to count. My life as a Black man in America is not my great-grandfather's life in America. It's not even my father's. With Obama's speech, everything will change, and everything will stay the same.

But tonight, I am a Black man in America, and am blessed with an embarrassment of riches. Hallelujah, we are overcoming.


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Blogger Vương Nguyễn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

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