Obama's Potential Residence: A White House or Darker Domicile
All of the changes in policy aside, is America ready for the varying differences that will also be visited upon the White House by its possible black residents? If Barack Obama ascends to the presidency and the accompanying benefit of residency in the presidential mansion, the White House, what will be the impact on one of America's most sacred symbols?
How many more ridiculous stereotypes will a so-called Black president have to endure/avoid than other previous presidents? The White House has not been known to have little black children running down its hallways, or never had a preponderance of black folk deep within its inner sanctum! How will the nation respond to the likes of Coltrane, Hyman, Vandross, and Sade possibly resonating throughout the halls of its most hallowed domicile? What will be the reaction if residents and overnight guests are often witnessed fluffing out their Afros in the hallways or having their hair braided on the white house lawn? Am I exaggerating when I say that America’s way of seeing its president and the presidency itself will greatly change if Obama ascends to the position as it would have if Hilary had taken office? McCain in the White House might be different in how he handles his business, but in terms of the social dimensions of this White House under McCain’s administration the house would be no less white! Is that a problem? Why or why not?
Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill, Soul Train out of American Band Stand, the Cosby’s out of Father’s Knows Best when I say the White House is headed for darker days? Does that have to be a bad thing? Seriously, how devastating will it be for the presidential photo gallery to have some racial diversity? Won’t it benefit America to have a leader who looks more like the majority of people in the world at least every now and then? Questions about his ability are moot! Even a fool knows that America would not elect a black presidential candidate if he were incompetent, though as comedian Chris Rock once said, America not long ago did elect a C student. But this disconnect between what America wouldn’t do with a black presidential candidate and what it recently did with our currently sitting president isn’t really symbolic of more profound, if not troubling statements about American hypocrisy, is it? Well, is it?
If the Obamas celebrate Juneteenth will that finally elevate this black celebration to at least a symbolic holiday status? No other president that I know of truly celebrated this holiday. Will it at least provide an additional symbol of the different America underrepresented people often live in, even to the point of significant holidays that some groups share that many others don’t have a clue about (Juneteenth being the celebration of the date that slaves in the deep, Deep South [Galveston, Texas] finally received word [over two years late] that they had been emancipated).
Will Air Force One pick up the nickname Soul Plane? If the Obamas hire an all white staff will this surreal inversion be anymore replete with irony? After all, since presidents have a tendency to appoint political colleagues to pivotal positions, will people recognize the unwarranted scrutiny and hypocrisy leveled against the so-called Black president if the majority of Obama's appointments are as Black as other president's appointments were White!
In the grand scheme of things should any of that even matter? Not really! Unfortunately for many it will! That is why we need this political Jackie Robinson to not only enter the majors, but be successful at that level as Jackie was! Only then will the floodgates be thrown wide open for the other underrepresented individuals that will have to endure the insensitive stereotypes before them until this new reality becomes the rule instead of the exception. Since many black men somehow inspire a certain level of comfort in unfamiliar people assuming familiarity (did someone say privilege), will it be just a matter of time before Obama isn’t seen as Mr. President, but instead as Brother Barack? Maybe that will instill an additional change in the way the presidency is viewed as well as the ensuring actions emanating from within the Oval office. Maybe this president/brother will be our keeper, or a keeper himself!