Friday, 23 January 2009

At Last!

My Dearest Darlings! At last Barack Obama has become America’s president. It seems that the whole world witnessed the inauguration, millions flooded to Washington DC and millions more watched on TV to celebrate the potential dawn of a new age, Obama’s speech for the first time in years showed that an American president is able to display warmth and intelligence.

As commentators rush to reflect on the meaning of this historic development I feel it is my solemn duty to add to the cacophony of voices. My perspective however is as unique as I am beautiful. So what does Barack Obama mean?

I will start with offering an interpretation of what he does not mean. He does not mean the end of racism. Hundreds of years of brutal slavery and the destruction of the beautiful continent of Africa will not be irradiated by this symbolic instatement. Culturally black citizens of the world are still struggling with their position in a world that once abused them, the legacy of slavery is still reinterpreted through each generation of young black people who are forced to come to terms with the harsh realities of a ‘civilised’ world that they helped construct though are cruelly ostracised from. Some understandably react angrily to this truth, forced to reflect on a society that has abused there forefathers so harshly creates a feeling of disempowerment, alienation, injustice and rage, after all it is just a few decades ago that to be a member of the black community meant being considered a second class citizen.

The brave (Obama included) have decided to transform their incredulity into positive action and challenge the stereotypes that run through the rings of society. These champions become themselves, fulfil their potential from the pursuit of education to raising decent citizens, it is of course the vast majority that challenge the white mass of intolerance. Mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, doctors and teachers, lawyers and writers, families and communities forge themselves a position in your community. You may be under the impression that this is an out-dated discussion though culturally you are all still guilty of racism. Even the enlightened can not fight the cultural stereotyping that floods every corner of your world. Obama has created an inspiring alternative to this cultural delusion; this is why he means so much. This great man does not mean the end of racism though he could signify the beginning of a new phase in this journey from stupidity and ignorance.

Obama does not mean the end of all political intolerance; it is understandable that at the end of the Bush administration which displayed such an overwhelming lack of intelligence that Obama’s administration promises to embody lofty ideals of patience and enlightenment. Perplexingly the Reverend Ryan Warren performed the invocation for Obama at the ceremony, this controversial evangelist is notoriously homophobic and you may be disillusioned that Obama would sanction such a man to partake in this event, as a Democrat you expect he should shun this right wing bigot. You hope the decision to sanction such a figure is part of a wider context that you are not a party to. Obama has certainly surprised many by placing a wide selection of political view points in his administration, you hope this is for good reason, an example of embracing the best people for the job irrespective of their position.

Though this raises an interesting point, it is tempting for you to deem this first black president the champion for all the disenfranchised and given time, perhaps he will. Frequently various factions of the world equate their own passage from disempowerment with that of the black struggle for human rights, it is a seductive folly to quantify black experience with all other subjugated members of society, though feminists, gay rights campaigners and all champions of the alienated are unwise to compare black experience to that of their own. Each group that considers itself victimised in an unfair patriarchal and heteronormative society are guilty of this unhealthy position. The complexities of racism, misogyny, and homophobia are intrinsically different each with their own unique cruelties and injustices. Therefore it is unwise to assume that Obama will champion the rights of other groups simply because he is a member of a ‘minority’ himself, it is more likely however he will champion the subjugated because he is a good man, not a black man.

What Obama does represent is a complete overhaul of your visual landscape. This Iconic young, attractive and glamorous family have enlivened the global political landscape, across the globe the young are able to connect with the powerful in a new and exhilarating way. Of course you are used to seeing some diva or other jettisoned into some political event to in some way make it cool or hip. Though on this occasion the gap between the political and glamorous seemed entwined, the Obamas danced to Beyonce Knowles as if at a fairy tale wedding reception, the Obamas a perfect personification of Americas ‘first’ couple. When Beyonce sang ‘At Last’ at the Inaugural ball for Barack and Michelle it seemed dream like, an almost fictional climax to inauguration day. This fabulous singing diva was singing to her president a president that she and for the first time in almost a decade America could be proud of, this single performance crystallised this moment in time.

I like you hope that Obama will somehow fulfil his potential to be a great president, and I like you wait with bated breathe to see how this historic saga unfolds.

With much love the Amazing Ms Coco Laverne x