First Posted: 1/22/2009
Throughout my childhood a lot of things my brother has told me proved untrue like if you swallow gum it will stay in your stomach for seven years, he was mom and dads favorite and I was adopted, among others.
Another one of his assumptions, a black man would never be elected president, was disproved earlier this week a black man became president.
It was something he never envisioned or imagined, because as a young black man, color had often been viewed as a barrier or an obstacle that stood in the way of achieving some of his dreams.
But barriers dont just come in skin colors, they can be backgrounds, economic status, disabilities and lack of educational opportunities.
Barack Obama represents more than a man of color ascending to the highest national position. He represents that any person of any ethnicity, sex or background has a chance to do something he or she truly wants if that person is diligent.
There have been enough news reports, columns and comments about the first black president, and how Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s dream has been realized or the limitations of the past have been cleared away.
Frankly, we are at the forefront of Kings dream that one day we will be judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character, and that we will improve race relations and live in unity.
Obamas presidential inauguration is not the finalization of Kings dream or a huge boot to racism that suddenly eliminates past racial hurts that have damaged generations.
Its more like an invitation to accomplish more.
There are still paths to tread, and barriers to knock down.
There are still discriminatory attitudes that need to be changed, and misconceptions and stereotypes that need to be shattered.
There are prejudices that need to be challenged.
Let us not take this historic moment for granted and think that we have accomplished what others died to achieve.
It takes more than electing a leader of our country, who happens to be a minority, to change the practice of racial discrimination that were developed through hundreds of years and has contaminated mindsets.
This is not a post-racial era.
To mirror what Obama said in his inauguration speech, just because the earth has shifted beneath us doesnt mean our thoughts of the world have shifted in us.
While weve reached a milestone, let us remember its not the finishline. There is still work to be done.
Erin C. Perkins is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1952.