Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Obama: “He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill”

Writer Alice Walker explains why Barack Obama is her choice for President in "An open letter to my sisters who are brave" in The Root:
When I joined the freedom movement in Mississippi in my early twenties it was to come to the aid of sharecroppers, like my parents, who had been thrown off the land they'd always known, the plantations, because they attempted to exercise their "democratic" right to vote. I wish I could say white women treated me and other black people a lot better than the men did, but I cannot. It seemed to me then and it seems to me now that white women have copied, all too often, the behavior of their fathers and their brothers, and in the South, especially in Mississippi, and before that, when I worked to register voters in Georgia, the broken bottles thrown at my head were gender free.

I made my first white women friends in college; they were women who loved me and were loyal to our friendship, but I understood, as they did, that they were white women and that whiteness mattered. That, for instance, at Sarah Lawrence, where I was speedily inducted into the Board of Trustees practically as soon as I graduated, I made my way to the campus for meetings by train, subway and foot, while the other trustees, women and men, all white, made their way by limo. Because, in our country, with its painful history of unspeakable inequality, this is part of what whiteness means. I loved my school for trying to make me feel I mattered to it, but because of my relative poverty I knew I could not.

I am a supporter of Obama because I believe he is the right person to lead the country at this time. He offers a rare opportunity for the country and the world to start over, and to do better. It is a deep sadness to me that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him. Cannot see what he carries in his being. Cannot hear the fresh choices toward Movement he offers. That they can believe that millions of Americans –black, white, yellow, red and brown - choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black, feels tragic to me.

When I have supported white people, men and women, it was because I thought them the best possible people to do whatever the job required. Nothing else would have occurred to me. If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. We look at him, as we looked at them, and are glad to be of our species. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill. The change America must have if we are to convince the rest of the world that we care about people other than our (white) selves.
You can read her entire essay here at The Root.

2 comments:

goodwolve said...

I love this "humanly stunning"... what an amazing thing to say about a person. I want to be humanly stunning too!

Charlie Talbert said...

As she says, Obama is a remarkable human being. And so is Alice Walker herself. You probably agree. It’s affirming to have such a credible person agree with our opinions – in this case, that Obama should be President.

I hope that those who value Alice Walker’s opinions will also be open to a position of hers that may not be so affirming to what most people believe here in 2008, including many progressive Unitarian Universalists. She compares human slavery, which every decent person abhors (today), with animal slavery, which today most people heartily support.

She wrote the introduction to The Dreaded Comparison. In it she observes, “The animals of this world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites, or women for men.” http://tinyurl.com/2ud33c