If you are white you probably already know this joke: A black bum is trying to hustle and goes up to a white man and begs him for a dollar. "Why do you need it?" The white man asks. "Well I am trying to save up enough money to go back to Africa" the bum replies. The white man then says; here, this is two dollars, why don't you take one of your friends with you?
Don't ask me why, but today while shooting the breeze with one of my white friends, I thought of that joke. " Field" he said to me. "I am voting for that Barack fellow, you know why?" "Why?" I asked him. "Because then I won't have to hear you rip the white man anymore, and you will quit 'busting my chops' about white privilege."
That was a crystallizing moment for me--one of many I have had with this Obama phenomenon--, I realized that I don't want to let whitey off the hook just yet. Obama winning would do that. And I suspect that there are a few white folks like my buddy who just wants Obama to win to shut folks like me up. In spite of my admiration for this new movement and all the "O" man has accomplished, a part of me is still saying that it's a typical A-merry-can marketing ploy to make us forget what really matters. This is why I am not an Obamaholic (Well that and not drinking anything in the house that I don't open myself. Gotta watch Mrs. Field and that Obama Aid). I don't want to let A-merry-ca off the hook.
Not that the Obamaholics would mind. I am sure that they will take a win anyway they can get it. Not me. If a win for the "O" man would totally relieve white folks of their sense of accountability and guilt for past injustices I am not sure I would welcome it with the same enthusiasm as the Obamaholics.
But I understand why folks like Christopher, for instance, would support the "O" man. He belongs to a class of people that has suffered from discrimination at the hands of many other fellow A-merry-cans. And the "O" man offers hope that this will stop happening to him and similar people. Hope. It's why so many black folks support the "O" man as well. His message of hope. Black folks love to hope. We hope there is a heaven. We hope we will live forever and have eternal life. It's why we love church so much, because of hope.
Obama gives us that hope. He makes us believe that there is something much better right around the corner, and when we see that something, we can make it work for us. "Yes we can" .
White folks are hoping too. Hoping that the "O" man can make us all forget the past and just move forward. Sorry, but for me, that gives the "O" man's book title, "The Audacity Of Hope", a whole different meaning.