Saturday, November 8, 2008

Our Redemption

I have a young daughter. She is four and a half years old. That's the same age I was on the day Dr. King was killed.

I was young, but I do have specific memories of that day and that time. I remember my father sitting me down to try to explain how some people could hate others based on the color of their skin. He told me that racism and ignorance were pretty much the same thing. Since I knew that the only thing my father hated was willful ignorance, I understood from a very young age that there was this bad thing in our world called racism.

Growing up in the South, in the late 60's, I have a clear memory of seeing signs that said “Whites Only”. It wasn't so much that they were still enforced, but that they spoke to nostalgia for an earlier time. This is the world in which I grew up, and it shaped the man I am today.

My daughter will grow up in a very different world. If Barak Obama will be like most US presidents, he will serve two terms. So my daughter will be 12 years old when the election to replace him is going on, and he will be the only president that she ever knew. She will have no first hand knowledge of a world in which people wondered if an African American could ever be elected President. It may be as hard for her to understand the mindset of people who thought the color of your skin had anything to do with what job you could have, as it is hard for us to understand the idea that you could own another person.

I am overjoyed and completely excited about this new world we have made for her.