Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Is the United States Ready for a Black President?

Listening to Senator Barack Obama speak about his aspirations and political ambitions on the Oprah Show last night, I again thought about the curves that life throws at us. His book the ''Audacity of Hope'', chronicles his rise from humble beginnings to becoming a United States senator. This is a prime example of the ''American Dream'', from rags to riches literally. I recall the heated debates we had during our session with Kuseni Dlamini (Richards Bay Coal Terminal) about the ''American Dream''. I argued that the United States was a country of contrasts. There were (shockingly ) people living under the same conditions as shack-dwellers in South Africa. Racism is still rife in the US, though not as obvious as in South Africa. On the other hand, it is a country that bases success on merit, on exceptional intelligence, on innovation and the ability to perform. An individual that ''delivers the goods'' with that extra something, no matter who or where he/she is from, has the opportunity to excel in America. In that sense it is a land of indiscriminate opportunity. I believe the question ''is the United States ready for a black president?'', highly appropriate. Can this son of a Kenyan immigrant and a white American woman become the US numero uno citizen? I suppose we'll have to wait to see if the true evidence of American ''liberalism'' and ''fairness'' will be affirmed by an Obama presidential ticket.

2 comments:

Thomas Blaser said...

While we discussed the "USA as land of opportunity issue", I took some notes about publications that question this claim. In fact, it is a myth. You may look at the magazine "The Nation" where they reveal the ugly underbelly of the so-called American dream. Even if a woman or a black man should become president, it would not say much about the lives of ordinary Americans, how they struggle to make a living. Nonetheless, they believe in the dream. Yet, I also believe the USA has a very performing economy and a tertiary education sector that is excellent. While we can admire the American spirit of enterprise, of voluntarism, of positive thinking, we should not forget that there are too many people who can only dream of sharing into the eventual fruits of these promises. Finally, your flowers are very uplifting!

Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Thomas,
Thanks for your comment. I agree that the 'American Dream' is not easily accessible. However, I think it is remarkable that most Americans buy into the 'dream'. Very good patriotic 'conditioning' or shall I say 'nationalism'. I am very sceptical that there will be an African-American president in the near future of America. Thank you for complimenting me on my flowers.