Harriet Tubman famously said, "I would've freed more of them, if they'd only known they were slaves."
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Michelle's Moved Up. What About the Rest of Us?
Now that another barrier has been removed by the ascension of Michelle Obama how will that serve as an impetus to the rest of us? Or should it matter? Depending on your upbringing the rise of the Obama family is the greatest thing since sliced bread or just one of many achievements you've witnessed.
This working class family that did great does not come from wealth or multiple generations of double degreed professionals. They didn't have a cushy lifestyle growing up or legacy preferences at universities but they had love, determination and made good choices. They created as many opportunities as they could. And they had a grand vision: to go to the White House. I am certain they have other plans yet to unfold that will make us sit back and go, whoa!
Michelle began her official life as First Lady yesterday with the visit to the White House. You don't wear power red for nothing. She doesn't need to adorn herself in diamonds or wear couture to make an impressive statement, but I for one can't wait to see her in both, as befitting her new social/political standing. I would even say it's necessary to move in certain circles and to ascend the world stage. Personally, I would really like to see photos of Michelle with Princess Angela of Lichtenstein.
So what about the rest of us? The working class and many others had to see it to be believe it. Isn't faith the hope of what is unseen accompanied by action? Some of us were taught to think of ourselves as inferior just because those that promote white supremacy wish it were so. It is not, nor has it ever been. At some point many of us began to believe it.
Like many of us who follow a religious dogma but miss the point of having a spiritual connection, we tend to fall back on the racism argument as our mortal enemy. Make no mistake there are real obstacles but at some point we must have decided to aid our attackers in beating ourselves up.
Those who were enslaved didn't all wait until someone decided to be benevolent and 'free' them. They decided to take charge and seize it for themselves, but not everyone.
We have to recognize it is our choice to place our entire self worth on having designer gear, giving all our money to a church without question, thinking our dating prospects are few and so many choices we make without realizing it as a choice. Annoying isn't it? It's almost impossible to find out who we are when we're always trying to adhere to someone else's rules.
We must be prepared for the pending backlash that is sure to bear down on some of us with the rise of the First Family. There's always some entity that works through weak people to wreak havoc. Jim Crow laws were enacted as a reaction to Emancipation. One step forward with a potential two steps back. It doesn't have to be that way now, however. That's why we as Black women particularly must be prepared. It's been exactly one week since Barack won the election. We need to be ready to walk across the wide path that has been cleared for us and meet our destiny.