Friday, November 07, 2008

Black is the new President, Bitch!

Trust The Daily Show to get it right. In the run up to the American elections, people so busy trying to brand Obama as a socialist or a radical, everyone seemed to forget he was Black. In a way, that is amazing. African-Americans have done exceptionally well in many fields in the US, including politics, but in that sphere, the same glass ceiling (due to the Bradley effect or what have you) applied. Not anymore. Not anymore.

Martin Luther King's dream has been realised. Once the announcement was made, suddenly anchors on every channel left Ayers and Acorn and his middle name and all that other rubbish, and realised what a historic day it was for Black people. In McCains victory speech he acknowledged this -- perhaps its all the better he lost. Otherwise he would have been the man who came in the way of the equality of the races, and as a symbol he would have been hated by history. One of the bad guys. When McCain spoke I wondered if he realised that he was a footnote in history, because it didn't really matter who stood against Obama; I feel this was a time that just had to come. The culmination of the civil rights movement. If Beyonce and JayZ (?) can own the music industry, and everything Will Smith touches turns to gold... politics was next. (Especially when politics and media are so intertwined in the US. Infotainment at its best).

The New York Time's Judith Warner wondered if children will realise the sheer enormity of this singular achievement. Come up with all the reasons for this victory -- economy, Bush, a new message, a younger generation finding a voice in Obama -- that he is Black is the symbolic achievement we will remember for decades to come. We will all remember where we were when Obama was elected President. It has touched us all on a personal level. Just look at the Facebook generation. Practically everyones status had been changed to hail Obama.

It was fantastic.

PS - If you don't know where the title of this post came from, please watch Saturday Night Live sketches online. This election cycle they have been fantastic, starting from the primaries.

PPS And for an analysis of the Obama factor that I made over a year ago (and I think is quite correct), go here.

5 comments:

egg style said...

Yeah, Jay-Z. Is eclectic, whatever the meaning of eclectic is. But, ho-ho-wah-wah, so many others as well. When Bob Dylan sang 'Hurricane' in the 1960s, a ballad about the business-as-usual standard injustice meted out to a boxer called Rubin Carter, he had no idea the Bradley effect would disappear in another 40 years or so. He still sang with all his heart. And the ballad still resonates in newer contexts closer home.

Indian music is relatively abstract, which makes it inaccessible to anglophones, but rather sublime all the same. Even a single snapshot of a lonesome shikara in place of the original soundtrack video, as posted by U-tuber invincible0000 for 'Tose Naina Lagey', a song that can be interpreted as a poetic response to Richard Dawkins' evolutionary-flaw hypothesis in 'The God Delusion' as well as a forlorn yearning for hope as the Nehruvian dream (allegorical allusion seen in a damsel with dreamy eyes called Mehru) looks increasingly like a lost cause, can serve to convey an earnest plea for peace...

IR said...

i got an sms joke after his victory :

q) which paint job has taken the longest in history :

a) white house

Anonymous said...

Very insightful IE piece in Feb 2007 Mahima, congratulations. The intelligence level of voters can be seen in their understanding of dichotomies. Can they judge a real dichotomy from a fake dichotomy? American elections were not a race vs race divide because there is a maturity there which is new. In time to come, it may even extend to religious neutrality as well. In India, false dichotomies are on display in newspapers, in news reports as well as advertisements. Let us hope Indian voters display intelligence. Keep up the good work.
- JP

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L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

I think this is an excellent achievement as you have pointed out. And perhaps it will help erase some stereotypes too. I think blacks all over the world should look at getting higher education. Obama is where he is today because he invested in his own education during his formative years.