Image, Self Esteem & Black People in the White House

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What the First Family Looks Like for the Last Time

The State of the Union address aired a couple of days ago, and I have been having non-stop conversations with friends on how President Obama’s administration has changed the course of our history, and what this means to us living and will mean to future generations. In a nutshell, Barack Obama will be only the second person in American history after Martin Luther King who will be equally celebrated in both Black History and American History simultaneously. It has been said however that familiarity oftentimes breeds disrespect, so I think that it will take several years for many of us to even partially comprehend the magnitude of what we’ve witnessed.

President Obama and his administration have accomplished much in a few short years. Health care has been reformed for those who couldn’t afford it, while digging America out of the greatest economic depression in it’s history. Add to this resume a heavy hand in fighting America’s enemies, that moment in POTUS’ speech was my fave, petitioning us to ask Osama Bin Laden how he’s doing.  

President Obama has been a phenomenal president and will be recorded as one of the best American presidents in U.S. history. Now if you leave it to Fox News, Trump, or any of their followers you wouldn’t know that. But the facts, figures and numbers speak for themselves, along with the Nobel Peace Prize accreditation and Time magazine, (naming Obama the person of the year in 2012.) The driving points in the president’s final State of the Union was this review of his long list of accomplishments, and rightly so. But for me there is something else that lingers longer than his glorious list of accolades.

There is scientific evidence that speaks to the importance of identifying yourself with those who achieve great things and personal self esteem. Being able to see people who look like you doing well for themselves and overcoming adversity is crucial for believing that you can do the same. Barack, Michelle, Sasha and Malia have given many permission to dream, to become. The idea that chocolatey goodness lives in the White House and occupies the Oval Office, and is not coming in to clean that house and that office is pivotal for the emotional well being of every black boy, girl, man and woman. It’s interesting how limited we are in the belief in ourselves until we see what is possible through someone else’s accomplishment.

I was one of those back in 08 who hoped for, campaigned for and voted for President Obama but secretly believed that his win would not happen in my lifetime. I have never in all of 7 years fully gotten use to the fact that this dude, who looks like a few of my cousins is leading the free world. I’m still waiting for someone to come from behind the podium and be like, “Sike!” You were dreaming, this didn’t really happen. I suppose that’s because I get the weight of what it really means that he is in office. I understand to a great degree what it will mean for our children’s children. However many of us simply dont get this. We are way past the honeymoon and infactuation of this new relationship.  Many are no longer conectced to the brilliance of the inauguration ceremony, no longer connected to the brilliance of this season. Many have forgotten the few short years ago when this was a notion, something quoted in Tupac songs as being only a dream. I believe that it will take a while for the majority of Americans, whether black, white, Latino, Asian or other to understand the weight of such a pivotal time in history. Today will be appreciated tomorrow. Missing your well when your water runs dry comes to mind.

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The little boy who wanted to see if The President’s hair was like his own. #TheMostBeautifulMoment

With President Obama’s tenure coming to a close it’s time to reflect on the power of the office he’s held, that he will always hold.  However, it will unfortunately be a while before we long for someone with the heart, compassion, policies and promise that President Obama holds. It will take us a while to remember how extraordinary and momentous this last 7 years has been when the most powerful world leader on the planet was black. And that he would move his black wife and black children into the White House. The tearing down of stereotypes is linked to the tearing down of strongholds, and we will only recognize this in some time.

As for me, I’m gonna appreciate today, today, I’m gonna appreciate the First Family now. I’m gonna bask in the glow of the First Lady’s marigold State of the Union dress as it reminded me of the sun kissed skin that I have in common with her. My feelings towards the Obama’s is the pure and true definition of pride.  As for the future, I can’t wait to look back with my adult son who is 4 years old today, and reminisce on the generation he was born into when the greatest leader of the free world looked just like him, making the sky his limit.  

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