Caught Between Two Black Men

I am blessed to have an uncle who has truly been a father figure in my life. Let me first state I was raised in a two parent home, but both my parents died when I was in my twenties, and at that time my uncle stepped up and became more than just my uncle.

He is a son of the south and vividly recalls the sting of segregation. He vividly recalls colored only signs, his father being called a boy by children his age and the KKK marching through the streets. He is in his seventies and does not believe he will ever see a black president in his lifetime. He moved to the North and spent a lifetime working in the steel industry, and retired on a comfortable pension.

My husband is an Ivy League graduate who possesses an incredible work ethic. He has worked in corporate America for the past 20 years. He has seen progress in race relations, but occasionally he has felt the sting. One incident comes to mind, he was working as an account executive for a family owned business and one of the partners asked him to come to his child’s graduation party and act as “security”. My husband is a tall guy, but the point is this request would never have been made of his white co-worker. In spite of this kind of situation he can still see the progress, but he still can’t believe America is actually ready for Sen. Obama.

I stand between two generations of disillusioned black men. One who experienced a glimpse of the promised land, and the other one who stands on the cusp, but is still not fully living the dream.

Why is it so hard to believe this in 2008? Is it because we have become used to seeing black candidates that were one note “soloists”? These former candidates championed the cause of the poor and the down trodden and, only sought an opportunity to verbalize societal ills on the big stage of the convention floor? Their voices never truly reflected the concerns of all black Americans.

We have longed for a candidate that talked about all the issues. We no longer want a special speech full of rhymes and nonsensical prose.

I believe that Barack Obama is the candidate that we have longed for and I will spend the next few months trying to convince two black men that Barack Obama is for real and the time is now. America is ready and this is not a fairytale as some have said.

It is a time to write some new American history that not only reflects the stings of the past, but also reflects the vibrant hope for the future.

Joni Reynolds is a media director for a non-profit organization. She has been writing articles for the past 5 years and has written articles for What’s Up? Annapolis Magazine and monthly email to empower women, Just Joni. She has worked as a marketing manager, copy director and writer for corporate and non-profit companies. She also speaks for women’s groups and non-profit organizations.

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