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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Despite historic presidency, we still have a long way to go”

    On this day of a new beginning, it’s tempting to look back at our nation’s history and remark, “”We have come so far.”” And to some extent, we have; after 11 score and 13 years of the United States’ existence, one of its most oppressed and mistreated minorities finally has one of its own in the Oval Office (quips from the peanut gallery about Obama being “”not really black”” aside).

    But never forget that it took a hell of a lot to finally get a black man in the White House. Eight years of what is certainly one of the worst presidencies in our nation’s history. A Republican nominee who inexplicably promised to continue many of the old administration’s policies, in addition to picking a completely inadequate running mate. An economic crisis that pronounced the final verdict on Republican economic practices.

    Obama’s detractors nonetheless tried hard to portray him as an angry, radical black man. But he was able to get elected because he did everything in his power to avoid being typecast as “”the black candidate,”” which is debatably what torpedoed the campaigns of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in the past. And despite a masterfully-run campaign, Obama’s “”landslide”” victory amounted to a mere six percentage points in the popular vote, including a 12-point loss among Caucasian voters.

    What is disheartening is that some pundits will definitely use Obama’s success as an excuse to claim that affirmative action is no longer needed, blacks should bootstrap themselves like everyone else, and reverse racism is just as strong as regular racism. And by marveling too much at the fact that we finally elected a black president, those of us who embrace the new president commit the same error by getting ahead of ourselves. The truth is simple: America hasn’t yet entered a “”post-racial”” (whatever that means) period, as some would really like to say, and racism is far from dead. The next four years – not the preceding election year – will tell us if we’ve truly made any progress toward that goal.

    -ÿTaylor Kessinger is a senior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology, math and physics.

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