With the Democratic primary over, perhaps one might think that the national conversation on race opened during that contest might cool to a simmer. I think we’ll find, however, that it will begin to rage instead. There will, I believe, be both overt, but, more likely, undertoned reminders to white America that they are about to entrust the Oval office to a black person (gasp) for the first time. Do yourself a favor and head over to the Washington Post today to read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s piece, “The Color of an Awkward Conversation.”
Adichie’s piece reminds me of the stories we’ve heard from Obama volunteers in the field. They tell of everything from being simply turned away with a look that spoke volumes to being spit on, having things thrown at them from cars, and worse. While you’re surfing, check out this post at Zennie’s Zeitgeist: a firsthand account of an Obama supporter being spit at by a racist in PA.
Please don’t misunderstand, while we’ve heard our fair share of disturbing experiences, we’ve heard a lot of really amazing ones, as well. Senator Obama’s candidacy, just by the virtue of its own existence, has moved some small mountains. But this will not always be a feel good story. And if we are to come out the other end of this experience with greater understanding and, if one may dare to dream, some of the peace and unity Obama envisioned in his speech on March 18, we will have to go through the pain of weeding out the extremists on either end.