I agree with this wholeheartedly.
I understand the importance of representation for some, but I don’t need to see faces that look like mine in order to strive for greatness.
— Chidike Okeem (@VOICEOFCHID) February 28, 2017
When Former President Obama was still Senator Obama, I talked to a lot of black people who knew next to nothing about him but still planned to vote for him because they wanted to “see one of us” become president. One of my friends—a black man, fellow former USAF linguist and a conservative—even said that he wanted his two sons to be able to look at the president who look like them and, thereby, believe that they might become president also, one day. (I retorted that Barack Obama’s persona, politics, policies and actions, conversely, might have made it that much more difficult for another American of black African descent to become POTUS. My friend didn’t listen.)
I understood the mindset more when the origin was a person who had personally experienced the Segregated South and the Black Coded North and West. But for those my age (55) and younger it seemed more akin to a type of indoctrinated mindset. Black Americans have become so use to celebrating the “First Black This” and the “First Black That” that it’s almost as reflexive as breathing.
It also seems like a form of narcissism; a way which points to self and boosts one’s own pride–which is why I find it so troubling. Feeding pride is always a mistake and I can’t say that black people are the only group to engage in it. But, the key to breaking a mindset is to point to it and to be always wary of it.
Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.
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