Sunday, July 8, 2012

Photo I Like: The Obamas

Official Obama Family Portrait 2011
Sometimes I stare at photos of the Obama family and think, and let myself feel, "My God!  We have a black family in the White House!"  I think it's because I never believed I'd see it in my lifetime.  Being from the South, I was always aware of just how much progress still needed to be made in how whites and blacks live together- because in my time in Virginia, I felt people lived very separately.  (I don't think that's limited only to the South- there's also plenty of separation up here in the suburban Northeast.)

I was very proud when our country elected Obama in 2008.  I think he's done a good job in a difficult economy. And having a young family in the White House has been a real joy.  It has been a pleasure to watch two caring, attentive parents spend lots of time with their kids while at the same time doing an important job.  I have also loved watching Michelle Obama encourage the nation to be healthier, and I love that she has talked about the importance of breastfeeding.

Freedom Rides 1961
I know a person's skin color isn't the only lens through which to view him or her, but with our country's ugly history around race, skin color represents where we have been and where we are going.  In the case of a great-great-great-granddaughter of slaves being the First Lady, it shows how hard many people have worked to overcome difficulties and discrimination.  It was only fifty years ago that the Freedom Riders encountered violence while simply trying to integrate buses across the South.  It's been less than 150 years since slavery in this country ended.  We've come a long way.

That's what looking at that photo of the Obamas makes me think of.

Oh, and if we don't reelect Obama?  I'm moving to France.  The South of France.  I'm going to live in a stone house on a shrubby hillside overlooking the Mediterranean.  That'll make me feel better.

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