By Maya Pope-Chappell

Keynote speaker Barack Obama, candidate for the Senate from Illinois, speaks to delegates during the Democratic National Convention at the FleetCenter in Boston, Tuesday, July 27, 2004. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

With the election only weeks away, many are wondering how Barack Obama, if elected, could reshape the nation.  Some say Obama will bring change to the White House, implementing new policies and regulations, while others say he will be the change.

On Oct. 8, 2008, I sat in on a Center for Communication event that featured political journalists Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine and Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker.  As the two gushed over Obama, both agreed that an Obama elect would symbolize the ushering in of a new era, one that progresses past racial inequality and prejudice.
“Can you imagine the joy?” Hertzberg asked rhetorically. “If he wins, we’re due for an explosion of happiness.”
Hertzberg went on to say “I think Obama is potentially another Lincoln,” a comment that issued an aggressive gasp from an avid McCain supporter.
While I agreed with most of the points the two raised, I could not go as far as to say that the nation will be elated over the election of a Black man.  Nor can I say that racism and prejudice will cease with the election of one Black man.

The reason?  While Obama would be a step in tearing down some of the pre-conceived notions that some have of Black people, one man cannot carry the burden of America’s racism engrained so deeply in our society.

However, as the first viable Black candidate, Obama brings an exciment to politics that for a long time, has been absent from the process.  He also brings hope to Black Americans who have waited, in some cases their entire lives, to see a Black man that embodies hope, resilence, and accomplishment.  One that many are proud to witness in their lifetime.

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