Obama breaks obsolete stereotype

The ‘unlikely’ candidate raises the ‘standard’ and sets timely example

By Lindsey Williams | gargoyle@flagler.edu

There was once a time when it seemed impossible for an African-American man to capture the presidential nomination for an American political party. So much so that discussing the chances served no real purpose other than being a fun addition to the “what if” game. But today, before us, a black man stands ready to serve as this nation’s next president.

For years, blacks in this nation have stood circumspect of times to lead and times to follow. However, the option of following often seemed more feasible than that of leading. Or the option of defeat was chosen over the option of winning.

For too long have I bared witness to black men, in particular, anticipating this taste of defeat as opposed to reaching greater heights of success. I’m talking about dreams, hopes and ideas for a better life; ideas that are birthed in a nation where blacks have historically been laughed at for trying, punished for seeking change, and often gawked at for breaking the preconceived mold.

However, then rose the unlikely candidate. A man who’s presence has dispelled a million stereotypes.

A million stereotypes, which drag a long line of excuses to settle for an image served to them by media and by experience, have been challenged with his arrival.

With Barack Obama, unlikely dreams, possibilities and hopes have surfaced. Dreams of someday starting and running successful business are erased from the list of “what ifs” and added to the list of “to dos.” Hopes of becoming more than your barren surroundings achieves not only high possibility, but elevates itself to a state of reality.

A state of mind has changed. This change will usher in a wave of CEOs, leaders, physicians, teachers, and citizens who will accomplish more than the calculated statistics that most young black men have had etched over their heads. These are statistics that include things like incarceration and unemployment.

Coming from a writer who is neither a registered Democrat, Republican nor Independent, I urge you to take note of the direction this election is going.

But allow me now to address the new audience who may potentially influence your life: There is no excuse, young men, for not achieving. The next leader of this country could be someone that was, and perhaps still is, looked upon in similar ways that you have been. However, the plights of such perceptions have not kept this man from possible presidency. You have no excuse to lead a life without the expectancy of greatness. Today, you have no excuse.

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