Wednesday, June 8, 2011

NEW OPTIMISTS


Ellis Cose, a black writer, who writes about "Blacks" and race, titled his recent article for Newsweek, "Meet The New Optimists."

The photo of eight young blacks receiving diplomas, grinning happily, said it all.

Cose has a down-to-earth voice, and proved his point with numbers from polls that show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that blacks -- older guys as well as the younger generation -- feel as if doors are opening for them. They feel there's a better chance, nowadays, for them to get the good jobs, and crack the glass ceiling.

I don't need the numbers or polls. If I were a black, no matter how old, with a black president, and all the other blacks around him in the administration, all the blacks working in high ranking jobs in the business world -- I'd be thinking, hey, it's happened!

It's happening more and more.

We "Whites" sort of expected this to happen. Blacks not only feel good about one of them being the president, they also saw immediately in the attitude of their friends and neighbors, a new something -- respect, and a "yes sir, yes ma'am" expression of admiration for their living through the years of inequality, and surviving, and emerging with "black is beautiful, black is In, black is powerful."

There's a wow feeling in the air. A black can have a dream, an ambition to make it -- "it" being money, fame, and real power -- being a boss, being the top guy, the leader.

Times have changed.

Will things change back? The President had to prove with a birth certificate that he was American born and constitutionally qualified to hold the office of President. And the story of his white mother and black father keeps popping up like a nightmarish black-Jack-in the box.

Has life changed for my black housekeeper who has worked for me for 30 years?

No.

She inherited her parent's attitudes and limitations -- she's been "maiding" all her life -- mopping, dusting, lifting, lugging, bending, washing, scrubbing, and polishing -- tidying things for whites six days a week. Her seven adult kids, working mostly as menials, more than likely won't be more than what they already are. As for their kids, well ...

I wonder if were a black child, or grownup, male or female, would I have hope in my pocket, or on something that I tucked away? I can't imagine being me without hope. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with racial heritage. It seems like a magical ingredient a very young child breathes in, and like a seed, hope takes root in his soul

Gee, maybe IF I were black, maybe as I child, I'd have breathed it in, but learned not to hope, put away hope.

Anyhow, speaking just for me, myself, right now, if I had a chance to be born again and I could choose ...?

Well, black is .. dark. I'd choose white. I don't feel very optimistic about jobs and the glass ceiling. But white is a lot easier to see. No doubt about it -- it's much, much easier to be white.
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