Thursday, November 06, 2008
Is It Time to Unpack?
I've heard many metaphors about the African-American condition in the U.S., one of the shrewdest being Chris Rock's likening it to having an uncle pay for your college tuition and not being able to forget that he molested you when you were a child.
Yesterday, I heard Whoopi Goldberg say that she feels as if she can finally put her suitcase down. Yeah, we've been here a while, and most of us aren't going anywhere, but we've never felt welcome either. And certainly never felt comfortable enough to unpack.
But of course we aren't the only ones. Yesterday I was on a bus and I overheard a young Latina explaining who Obama was and what his winning the presidency meant to an older Latina, who apparently was unaware of these things. In Spanish, the younger woman also said that for the first time she felt really proud to be an American.
She echoed the words that Michelle Obama spoke that ignited controversy and were (of course) spliced, diced and taken out of context:
"What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it's made me proud."