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AN AFRICAN AMERICAN’S FEAR AND HOPE

 

By Chauncey DeVega

 

Tuesday, November 04, 2008.

 

1. I am excited that the American people may be more mature, wise, and reflective than I would have guessed them ever capable of being. I am scared that they may not be.

 

2. I am excited that Obama's victory could be a cathartic moment for our country as America moves one step closer to confronting, and maybe if we are really lucky, of conquering the demons that plague its racial subconscious. I am afraid those demons may be semi-permanent fixtures in our politics and culture.


3. I am excited about Obama winning. I am scared that if he loses, what that defeat says about
America, our future, and the prospects for a truly shared and democratic political culture.


4. I am excited that Barack could be what
America hopes and dreams him to be. I am scared that if Obama is just a man, if he is not superhuman, if he is merely just a good president, that this won't be good enough.


5. I am excited that these last few months have been witness to conversations about race, class, and gender (even if they were often "coded") that hint at a need and want for a real conversation about this country's future and what is/was an often ugly and shared history. I am scared that these first steps will be final steps and that our much needed national conversation won't continue.


6. I am excited that White Americans are displaying a bit more responsibility, courage, and wisdom as citizens than I would have ever thought them capable. I am scared that I am about to be disappointed.


7. I am excited that we are at the cusp of a great moment in our history. I am scared that we are investing too much in that one moment.


8. I am excited that the house that race built may be teetering just a wee bit more than it did a year, a decade, or certainly a century ago. I am scared that it will never fall down.


9. I am excited that a Black person will be president. I am scared that he won't be free to simply be mediocre.


10. I am excited that the president of the
United States may happen to be a Black man. I am scared that many will view Obama as a Black man who is president.


11. I am excited that a centrist may occupy the White House. I am scared that the wolves are already waiting at the door to attack him for not being "radical" enough.


12. I am excited that the Right-wing in this country has been dealt a devastating blow. I am scared that the Right will somehow find a way to profit from this moment.


13. I am excited that we may see history happen today. I am scared that we may instead witness history today.


14. I am excited about the future, our undiscovered country. I am scared that the force of history, of inertia, and of bad habits--a moribund nostalgia--will keep
America from stepping into the future.


15. I am excited about being blown forward by the winds of change today. I am scared that there are too many whom will instead decide to stand against the winds of change today.


16. I am excited that an unapologetically Black man may be president. I am scared that Obama, as "white" as he is, may still be too "Black" to be president.


17. I am excited that many of us seem ready to move forward as a society, as a country, and as a community in order to salvage and resuscitate
America's influence and image in the world. I am scared that so many are going to have to be dragged into the future.


18. I am excited that we may be able to scratch one more item off of our list of "Black Firsts." I am scared that list of Black Firsts is still too long.


19. I am excited that
America will make the correct choice today. I am scared that America will make the wrong choice today.


20. I am excited about a Post-Racial future. I am scared about what a Post-Racial future may hold.

21. I am excited about what an Obama victory means for the Black Freedom Struggle. I am a scared about what an Obama victory may mean for Black politics.


22. I am excited about what it means to be an American today. I am scared about what it means to be an American today...and for every day thereafter if
America stands against history and decides to not move forward with it.

 

Chauncey DeVega is a political commentator who blogs at Respectable Negroes

 

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