BY ERIC SMITH
Some people have asked me, as an African American, what has there been to be hopeful about in the seven years since Barack Obama was elected President of the United States? Well, the simple answer is that far more white people voted for President Obama than did black people and while percentage wise of course white support for the president was somewhat less than the percentage of African American votes the president received, the number of white people who voted for him was by no means insignificant. In fact, if white people had not supported President Obama in the numbers that they did, he would never have become president; period.
There is another reason this fact provides we African Americans a reason to be hopeful and that is in the seven years since President Obama assumed the presidency the racists among us have become more isolated and more easily identifiable. They figure that if they succeed in bringing about this race war they keep talking about that most, if not all white people, will join with them because they are white and anyone who has been paying attention these past seven years will immediately recognize that line of thinking for being the fatal miscalculation that it is for the racists will have only their fellow racists on their side and they will do battle not only with black people, but white people and all people who share a belief in equal justice and full equality for all. By dint of sheer numbers alone, that is a force that will be impossible for them to defeat.
On a personal level, I see hope in all the friends I have on Facebook and off who just happen to be white. I don't bring attention to this fact (particularly to those racist white folks who have called me a racist) because I feel that doing so would cheapen the friendships by emphasizng color over friendship but I am not blind to how significant this is either.
You see it is much easier to fight and to stand tall when you neither fight nor stand alone. A diversified force which combines the unique strengths & talents of each group is always far more powerful than any force who's members are limited to a particular race or creed.
Some African Americans will argue that this kind of attitude bespeaks of one acknowledging the inherent weakness of our race and thus represents a betrayal to our cause. Yet expresssing sincere gratitude for the support & assistance of other races & creeds in fighting for a common cause is a sign of neither weakness nor betrayal. It is a sign of strength & good character as well as an acknowledgement of reality.
So in spite of how bad things are right now, I as an African American know that I neither stand nor fight alone and that gives me more than enough reason to remain hopeful in spite of all that is now going on.
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