Still Not Colorblind | Teen Ink

Still Not Colorblind MAG

January 31, 2009
By Aaron S. BRONZE, Zebulon, North Carolina
Aaron S. BRONZE, Zebulon, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

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.

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This article has 214 comments.

on Dec. 26 2009 at 8:38 am
Dandelion PLATINUM, Franklin, Massachusetts
20 articles 8 photos 173 comments
Exactly what I've always thought! When I see a person of a different race, it doesn't even register in my mind that this person is any different that I am, or that I should support them for this reason. Well said!

case said...
on Dec. 18 2009 at 12:24 pm
as a fact, i just got back from posting on the topic of "is obama full of junk" and i see what you mean, as any presedent just because he is a ethnic poster boy doesn't mean he can make a few mistakes once in a while. this shows weakness, mortality, and i think we chose a canidate who can handle these reponsibilities.

Persona BRONZE said...
on Dec. 16 2009 at 12:52 am
Persona BRONZE, Hanford, California
4 articles 0 photos 60 comments
Though I personally support Obama, I agree. I could not get over the fact that my Sign Language teacher would not shut up about my non-recognition of how important it was that a black man was elected, then chastising me as if supported McCain, when in face the opposite was true. One should support their politicians based on their policies, not their race, ethnicity, party, or religion.

lauren2323 said...
on Dec. 5 2009 at 11:50 am
Because the stodgy old men get there first =P

on Dec. 4 2009 at 11:39 pm
-JustDance- PLATINUM, Medford, Oregon
23 articles 0 photos 28 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The manner in which we live and that in which we ought to live are things so wide asunder that he who quits the one to betake himself in the other is more likely to destroy than to save himself." ~Niccolo Machiavelli

So let us find the balance.

I completely and totally agree. A lot of people just voted for him because he was black and they wanted an African-American president. I have no problem with having an African-American president, but the fact that they voted based on race and not his political views in my opinion is racist. People could be called sexist for not voting for Hilary Clinton, I think it's just stupid for people to see this as a sign that we're finally over racism as you pointed out.

People of all different races are here, and have been for hundreds of years.

Where I live, there used to be parades for the KKK. Thats behind us now, and has been for awhile. Things still come up, and they will continue, but this election is not a particular turning point in my opinion.

on Dec. 4 2009 at 10:48 pm
Miss_Bliss GOLD, Waban, Massachusetts
17 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If we did all the things we were capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."

-Thomas Edison

Though I've never really thought about it this way, I have to agree with you. Everyone (even me) is triumphant over having an African-American man as president at last, as, like you said, they (we) believe the US has overcome most racism and racist beliefs. But a) there are still acts of racism being committed every day (there were some pretty big ones reported right after the election), and b) America will only really be truly non-racist when we CAN, like you said, evaluate our new president withOUT factoring in his (or her) race (and gender? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that...). Only once we can celebrate (or mourn) a president's election without even thinking about their race will we be a truly non-racist country.

desiree1 said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 10:23 pm
I agree completely with this article. (plus it's admirably well written, good job!) however, i totally see why people would celebrate that Obama is black anyways, because they are celebrating the progress we are making towards a discrimination free future. i mean, consider all of the things that Americans have done to their fellow Americans of different races the past several centuries... although some may applaud obama for the wrong reasons (like with what you said of people saying he'd be a great president because he's black) there is still reason to feel victorious and celebrate.

Abbyy GOLD said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 9:57 pm
Abbyy GOLD, Shanghai, Other
12 articles 1 photo 22 comments
I agree to some degree. I mean, its true that we shouldn't think that since Obama is here, racism is gone. And we probably should focus more on what he is going to do for America's future. But this is a big step of progress towards a discrimination-free future. Emphasizing this step is not a form of racism, but the acknowledgement of it, and a celebration that we are really making advancements. Black people used to tell their children that "they can be anything, but President." Now, they realize that times are changing and they have a chance to shine through their whole potential. This is a major victory, but it is true that this is not the end. It's just the beginning. :)

on Dec. 4 2009 at 9:37 pm
literaryaddict PLATINUM, Albuquerque, New Mexico
23 articles 3 photos 157 comments

Favorite Quote:
"We're almost there and no where near it. All that matters is that we're going." Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
"The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound." Lady Bracknell, The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde

i absolutely agree. i consider myself a moderate republican and am not in favor of what obama has done so far. but if i criticize him, does that make me racist?? of course not. it's just as silly to say that you hate white people if you don't like bush. thanks for writing this.

on Dec. 4 2009 at 5:35 pm
firstsnowfalls DIAMOND, Marcellus, New York
51 articles 6 photos 105 comments
Ahem. Then why are no females acceptable?

izz123 GOLD said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 2:29 pm
izz123 GOLD, Gaithersburg, Maryland
13 articles 5 photos 24 comments
Discrimination is "treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:" while racism is "a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others."

I kind of agree on your point. During the election process, I also thought that way too much emphasis was being placed on race. This is certainly discrimination, based on the above definition.

But is it racist? In the article you wrote "racism is discrimination." It is true that racism is one form of discrimination, a particularly negative one. Yet, I do not think that the emphasis placed on Obama's victory is negative. On the contrary, the emphasis is positively put, stating an end to extreme racism in years before. I think that it will be a long while, if not forever, before discrimination melts away entirely. I too think that this being "colorblind" would be ideal. But right now, as long as the discrimination isn't racist, then I think it's an extremely considerable improvement, all things in the past considered.

Tashie said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 1:48 pm
Tashie, Quakertown, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Suicide is man's way of saying to God, "you can't fire me, I quit!" Priceless!!

Very valid. The whole election was boistered on not being racist, on seeing past color, but every article in the newspaper proclaimed African American. If supporters of Obama can't see past his skin color, then how can they expect others too? It's like the Nobel Prize, part of me feels that he was awarded that due to skin color. I applaude what he stands for and the direction he wants to take America in, but my views are educated, researched and based on his prior actions, not the way his skin color differs from mine. It seems that people who try to make up for racism are equally if not more racist than others.

lauren2323 said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 12:29 am
They're all old white males because you A) have to be at least 35 to be president B) have to be credible as a politician for people to even consider electing you C) Have to have been born in the U.S. and D) Old rich white politicians generally tend to fit the bill for presidential requirements. Not saying Obama should have been elected. I don't care what color he is as long as he does his job.

on Nov. 21 2009 at 12:59 pm
E.L.W. PLATINUM, Glen Allen, Virginia
31 articles 0 photos 59 comments

Favorite Quote:
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels.
The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes -
the ones who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo.
They push the human race forward.

Very good article -- and I love the point being made. We have all black colleges which many applaude, but if there was an all white college nowadays there would be an uproar. Racism goes both ways.

LUVSPIE!!! said...
on Nov. 12 2009 at 7:53 pm
This article really made me think. Part of me agrees and the other doesn't. I'll be thinking about this writing for a while, but good job.

on Nov. 12 2009 at 6:31 pm
firstsnowfalls DIAMOND, Marcellus, New York
51 articles 6 photos 105 comments
:) haha i hear ya about the presidents all looking the same. why is it that theyre all white, old, males?

on Nov. 12 2009 at 6:19 pm
firstsnowfalls DIAMOND, Marcellus, New York
51 articles 6 photos 105 comments
I can kind of hear what you are saying but I don't believe it is for the right reasons. If racism is so nonexistent in this country, then why has their never been a black president before now? Are African Americans less smart, less qualified? No. Are women inferior to men? No. But somehow, this is our first black president and no females yet to speak of. I agree that we should look at candidates for what they bring to the table, not their color. But this is still an amazing point in American history, and a major step toward ending discrimination on all bases. It is empowering for all minorities and groups of people that are still discriminated against today. We should not condemn Obama's victory, but hope that it can prove to people with doubts or prejudices, that white, elderly men are not the only ones that can lead our nation, as the case has been in the past.

simmokim said...
on Oct. 21 2009 at 6:44 pm
it raises the question... was Obama elected in spite of his color or because of it?

on Oct. 21 2009 at 4:48 pm
maddog6000 SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
6 articles 8 photos 26 comments
Beautifully written. I agree that we should not judge Obama by his race or skin color, but how well he performs his duty.

on Oct. 21 2009 at 4:20 pm
IsobelFree DIAMOND, Hamilton, Other
71 articles 20 photos 296 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As long as there is open road, the familiar has the most formidable competitor." - Anonymous

Good article. First of all, I see your point. Second of all, I somewhat disagree with it. You say it shouldn't be a triumph and we shouldn't be so excited that we have the first black president, but we are. the fact is, the US is an extremely biased and racist country and it IS a triumph to have the first black president, because the US history is full of bigotry and prejudice and the fact that the American citizens have elected a black leader is astounding. And yes, just because he is the first black president doesn't mean he will do a good job, but the fact is, I respect him as a person, and I honestly don't care what colour he is. He has plans to make a difference, and that's all I care about. I just wish we had such a cool leader in Canada.