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Still Not Colorblind This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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I often heard about the presidential election on the news. You probably did too, if you expose yourself at all to the sickly sun of the American media. Journalists, reporters, and every other member of the information army practically wet themselves with exultation at the election of the United States’ first African-American president. And so have American citizens. There are still “Obama ’08” signs in yards, on cars, bridges, babies, and anything else that can be decorated with that godly O – his supporters still have that smug smirk glued like a bumper sticker across their faces.

Reading this, you might come to the conclusion that I am a rabid racist and torch-waving conservative, but hear me out! I am not a racist – in fact, I am almost certainly more colorblind than you, Obamanite. Barack Obama is now America’s first black president. You may say “Hooray!” but I say “So what?” You might tout his victory as a sign that racism is dead, and equal opportunity is, if not here, then well on its way. I disagree.

Racism is discrimination. Discrimination is not simply the act of deriding or oppressing a particular race. I believe it is any emphasis of racial differences. If a caucasian sees himself as “white” and identifies with others of his skin tone to form a coalition promoting his race, this is racist. By this logic, pro-black coalitions are racist too. And those who vaunt Obama’s presidency as a victory for African-American people are included.

In my experience, modern society is not discriminatory in its presentation of opportunity. There are black CEOs; there are white hobos; there are ­members of every race in every position. It’s the beauty of America! And yet still some insist on highlighting Obama’s victory as something strange and wonderful. Not only is it an insult to the American spirit to be fascinated by a black president, it’s an insult to those who have fought for this spirit.

The proper response to Obama’s election should have been: “We have a new president. Will he do a good job?” It is foolish to think that just because Obama is black, he will do a good job. Those who share my opinion see Obama not as racial crusader in shining armor, but as a politician whose ­actions must be analyzed logically. In short, the fact that America still ­perceives races as “different” is shameful. In a land of equal opportunity, the best will win – and the best has been chosen.

Celebrating Obama’s victory in a racial context is simply celebrating past racial divides. The election was not a victory for African-Americans, but a victory for all Americans.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 199 comments. Post your own!

K.Girl said...
Feb. 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm:
I never would have ever thought it in this way. I don't have any constructive criticism because that was truely amazing.
 
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Veritasrmc said...
Feb. 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm:
I'm African-American and I'm NOT an Obama supporter. In fact, I never have been. However, that doesn't mean I was extremely pleased when he was voted into office. Despite what you may think, his election WAS a great victory for African-Americans. Fifty years ago, such a concept was unheard of. African-Americans were one of the most oppressed races, and now an African-American is one of the most powerful men in the word. If that isn't victory or triumph, I don't know what is. That's NOT being rac... (more »)
 
Jon H. replied...
Sept. 11, 2012 at 10:11 pm :
Finally, an intelligent person.
 
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TeamTamani said...
Jan. 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm:
I never really saw it like this, I like your perspective of writing. Keep on keeping on!
 
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RoseMonster said...
Jan. 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm:
wow. You know, I never thought of it that way,and honestly, I think this helps answer a lot of difficult questions people may have about race. Reading this, I realize that race really doesn't exist at all, at least in the sense that it is some highly distinguishing quality. Instead of thinking "he's black" or "she's white", it should be "we're human". Thanks for a great piece and a real mind-opener!
 
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frankota said...
Jan. 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm:
I agree with you, I also really hate how there are seperate channels on TV for different races, couldn't we just incorporate more people of different races into all of the shows?
 
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hallie523 said...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 9:02 pm:
I agree with you mostly, but your assumptions are idealistic. This would be completely true and color-blindness would be perfect if there was indeed equal opportunity. But, because of discrimination and inequality in history, we must, for the time being, acknowledge race and take steps toward undoing the inequality that has been woven into the fabric of our society and would otherwise continue even without active discrimination.
 
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blackswan42 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm:
I agree that we should look at Obama as a strong president or a weak president, not as a black president. But becoming completely "color-blind" is not the solution. We don't have to hide our differences- we should celebrate them. So yes, Obama's election was a symbolic and literal victory for African Americans, and a demonstration of America's progress. Perhaps in an ideal world we would not notice skin color, but this is not an ideal world, and the scars of our racist past are still very visibl... (more »)
 
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XandraAli said...
Nov. 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm:
I love this, I couldn't agree more, well except that I don't believe the election was any kind of victory, why should we care what race someone is? Does that make them a good or bad leader? If not, then it should not have any influence on our decision.
 
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kairi.kaylyn said...
Nov. 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm:
Wow. I've never thought of it this way.
 
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bookthief This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm:
I find myself in the rare position of being an Obama supporter who really enjoys this article. It's true that in a truly nonracist society skin color wouldn't matter at all, but I think that one thing we can all agree on is that we're not there yet.  I think that racism/sexism/homophobia/antisemetism are still prevalent issues, both in terms of oppression of the minority and overglorifying the minority's fight (example: women are still disciminated against in the wor... (more »)
 
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Kidlet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 8, 2011 at 9:09 am:
Bravo! I love this!
 
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kaddancer said...
Sept. 24, 2011 at 5:30 pm:
These are my thoughts, exactly! I'm glad someone else gets it...
 
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AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 3, 2011 at 11:03 pm:
I love this dude.  When will people get it????
 
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PorcelainValentine said...
Aug. 12, 2011 at 10:49 am:

i heard when Obama got elected parents were pointing out the color of his skin

turns out they were wrong to do that and making the notice his race instead of just thinking of him as a president

 
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Me_Music_Love said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm:
Well put. I applaud your ability  to create good literary opinion pieces.
 
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ael429 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 11:10 am:
*gender discrimination
 
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ael429 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 11:09 am:
This is well-written, and I agree with you in saying that we should be focusing on how obama is as a presdent instead of how he is as a black president. However, I think there is still discrimination in this country, and the fact that the majority of americans could overcome this is a reason for celebration. When we can overcome gender disctimation, it will be a reason to celebrate as well. Obama is not the first african american politician capable of being a great president, he is just the firs... (more »)
 
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Kayley S. said...
Jul. 10, 2011 at 6:39 am:
don't you think it's racist still:but the other way around. if you say anything bad about anyone black-oh, excuse me, African American, you get pounded in the face!
 
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WishfulDoerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 29, 2011 at 6:15 pm:
I agree with this article. The people were so focused on one change, they completely disregarded the more important change.
 
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