Friday, November 07, 2008

Yes, I'm Prejudice...

I started out election evening watching Saved (Side note- Susan Sarandon's daughter, Eva Amurri, definitely has her mother's charisma.) since I did not want to participate in television's over the top news frenzy known as Election Night!

At around 8:00 PM my brother called and urgently asked me if I was watching television. I ask why in reply and he said one word, "Obama."

My heart clutched as I asked, "What about Obama?"

"He just won Ohio."

I had been dropping in to watch the election results at MSNBC off and on up to that point so I knew this, along with the outcome in Pennsylvania, meant Barack Obama was going to become the next president of the United States. My brother and I then talked about how our mother would have been delighted by this news.

After that phone call I kept the television tuned to the news and later, when it was announced that Obama now had enough electoral votes to win the election, I started silently crying. Names and images that had been on television during my childhood flashed across my brain: Megar Evans body laying in his driveway ; Bull Connor turning fire hoses and police dogs on children; the march to Selma; Dr. King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial; James E. Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner's bodies discovered in the dirt of Mississippi; Greyhound buses full of Freedom Riders; George Wallace standing in a doorway at the University of Alabama trying to keep two black students from enrolling in the school;

"Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!"

and two mules pulling a wooden cart carrying the body of Martin Luther King through the streets of Atlanta.

This election was history in the making. Forty-five years ago the thought of a black man being president of the United States for most Americans was as improbable as the thought of a man walking on the moon. Five years later man did walk on the moon- unbelievable can be done in less time that impossible, I guess.

All though the night I thought of my mother. And of all the images playing across my mind one stood out. Some man asking my mother, in a tone of voice that said he would not believe her if she said no, if she was prejudice. My mother stared at him for a moment before replying.

"Yes, I'm prejudice, but not here," she answered, pointing to the skin on the back of her hand. "Here," pointing to her head. "I hate ignorant people."

On Tuesday a large majority of the American people demonstrated that they too thought the same way.

Mom, I wish you had been here to see it.

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