“The Voice” staff
The inauguration of President Barack Obama was a defining moment in American history. Finally, an African-American man was elected to the highest office in American politics. The racial barrier has fallen, only 154 years after the Civil War ended. The President might not have been served food at a restaurant 50 years ago. While the Voice acknowledges this, and congratulates the President on his inauguration, the staff has wondered why the media outlets in this country continue to state the issue.
During his campaign, Obama was criticized for playing the “race card” by Republican opponents John McCain and Sarah Palin. The media created a circus over this, and debated it on every talk show from the moment it came up until the end of the election. Looking at all the evidence, Obama himself never took that angle. He was more concerned with his plans for the country. The media, however, decided to take a different approach.
The papers on January 21 all had similar lines. “The Press Enterprise” stated: “A jubilant crowd of more than a million…stood for hours in frigid temperatures Tuesday to witness a young black man with a foreign-sounding name take command of a nation founded by slaveholders.” It later said “He had a message for the world: ‘We are ready to lead.’ Meaning that he, the young African American, was ready to lead.” If President Obama had wanted to say he was ready to lead, he would have said so, and not used the word “we.”
The “New York Times” said “Mr. Obama, the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas inherited a White House built partially by slaves…the sight of a black man climbing the highest peak electrified people across racial, political and generational lines.” All of these comments fell in the first three paragraphs of the article. “The Press Enterprise” was by far the worse, spilling onto the next page where it read “The presidency passed to black Democrat Obama from white Republican George W. Bush.” The only paper that barely mentioned his race at all was the “USA Today.” You read, race free, until the fourth paragraph where it mentions his parents’ respective heritages and makes note that his inauguration happened less than two miles from where civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. After this, the article mentions his plans for the country and our economy.
We at “The Voice” feel that while the President has made history, and though we are all congratulatory, perhaps we need to stop thinking of the President as “the first black President” and instead think of him as “President Obama.” He has made his niche in history, and it is something we are all glad to have seen and be a part of. We need to stop focusing on him by what race he is, and instead look at why we all elected him as the new leader of the free world. Let him do what we elected him to do, and stop worrying so much what he looks like. Because now is his time to lead the land that is the melting pot of the world. Regardless of what he or any of us look like, follow or believe in, we are all Americans, and that is what we need to follow.