07 April, 2008

Race and the Race to the White House

Since the times of Jesse Owens who was never invited to the White House nor bestowed any honors by the then residents of that House; since: Emmet Till, Rosa Parks, James Meredith, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X - Americans have achieved much in their quest for equal rights for their different races and ethnic groups. America has a long road to go before that dream of living 'in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character' is fully realized. Still, Americans should be proud of what they have achieved so far; though they have more to do, they are undoubtedly much better off than citizens of most countries and states around the World.

Few countries, if any, have created the conditions and environment that allows any one, with a talent or skills or ambition, irrespective of race or gender - to achieve as much as America has. It's only in America, where not only a woman but a descendant of former slaves: Oprah, could have attained as much as she has; or made another woman from the same background: Condoleezza Rice - as powerful as she is. It's only the US that has made it possible for: Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Carl Lewis, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Reginald F. Lewis, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Ralph Nader, Lewis Howard Latimer, George Washington Carver, the Williams Sisters, Tiger Woods and very many others like them and from their kind of back ground - to be what they have been or what they are.

It's in America most, where not only its history, but its society and culture - have been driven and formed by the issue of race. And Americans have much to be proud of and they should consider themselves lucky, to have achieved what they have and to have created the kind of country and society that they have. It's that achievement that has made America presently, lead in: science and technology, military might, sporting activities, the entertainment industry; and overall agricultural and industrial production. And it's that achievement that has made it possible for some one, who - from a similar social background - could never have in any other country or state out of America, to dream of doing what he is doing now: race for the Highest Office.

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" Martin Luther King jr.

No other country would have given or can give Barack Obama, with his kind of background and social heritage - the extent of freedom and opportunity, that he now has. An opportunity that Martin Luther King would have been proud of. No matter what some might say, America, since the days of MLK has indeed been transformed. Very admirably and enviably transformed.