Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What I Hope Americans Hear In Obama's Speech Today...Yes We Can!

Today is going to be a groundbreaker. Today is going to be historical. Today is going to turn things back around for the Obama campaign...for the good. This is my audacity of hope as a bi-racial woman who has lived a life so close to Barack Obama's in so many ways.

I, like Obama, am the product of a white mother and a black father. I too, like Obama, was raised for a time by my white mother because my black father abandoned us when I was very young to pursue his own goals. I too, like Obama, was raised by a surrogate who stepped in when my mother was suffering. I too, like Obama, grew up with discrimination and confusion. I too, like Obama grew up as a devout Christian. I too, like Obama, pulled myself up by my boot straps and went to a prestigious college beyond the doubts of many.

I too, am a woman who's biracial parents are no longer alive to see history being made. I am too, a bi-racial woman who is Christian and heard words I didn't agree with spoken by a beloved Pastor whom I adored, looked up to and who also baptized me and my children. I too, am a bi-racial woman faced with a Christian dilemma. I too, like Obama, grew up with a mother who told me that people were better than the sum of their parts...and that things would get better and that I was the catalyst to make that change happen if I could recogize and realize my power within.

My mother, like Obama's mother, believed that it was better for me to keep on hoping and watching for this change in people. She told me that despite the distancing, alienation and discrimination I experienced from others including my own blood family (her parents, sisters, aunts and uncles) to look beyond their shortcomings to a brighter future. She knew instinctively that there would come a time in history SUCH AS THIS TIME when a bi-racial person would be the only catalyst to unify and join people together for change.

My mother, a white woman, said this to me many times throughout my lifetime. She also prepared me, like Obama, to be the catalyst for this change because as she always told me "I had the best of both worlds." I had the internal DNA (unlike anyone else) to know how to bridge people together, not because of a personal desire to do good for all people and not because of a learned Christian duty. But, solely because, as she told me, God in all his wisdom had a specific intention for people like me - to be the band-aid that would bring people together beyond their divided past. The only question would be how would I search within to find a way to manifest this internal god-given gift to see it birthed into frution. A nation no longer divided because of race, gender, sexual preference, etc...

As I got older I began to see the manifestation in her prophecy as I has friends from every corner of the globe, like Obama. I was always accepted easily but often mistaken for many different global ethnicities and welcomed in the home of my international friends because there was always something familiar about my face to them - something that reminded them of themselves - something from "home." I was often called "the international face."

When it was time for me to go to college, I too, like Obama paid my own way...and had to pave my own way. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth...I was poor and had to pull myself up by my bootstraps. I worked my way through New York University while working a full time time job as a medical technician in one of the world's most famous and reknown NY research hospitals with some of the most presigious and influential medical minds working through school and hoping to join the ranks with them as a physician. I had high hopes to become a physician, but a long, hard, lonely uphill climb to get there, like Obama in his journey to become a lawyer.

I did well when no one thought I would. I was a 4.0 student who got accepted to Columbia University also, like Obama, solely on my own merit after being told 10 years prior that, "I wasn't even NYU material."

I, like Obama looked to define myself through those tough years. I looked to see where that silver lining was my mother spoke of when discrimination would take a back seat, and I could boldly take my seat as a proud American who was no longer seen and judged by my color and sadly at that time I still couldn't find it - until now!

I was never raised with strict religious views, but my mother always raised me to know who Christ was and that he represented unconditional love. But as I entered into my life, I too, looked for this unconditional love from others in the world and was sadly disappointed most times. But, when my mother took ill and couldn't care for me for a short time I finally found that unconditional love in the most unsuspecting place.

I too, like Obama was raised for a short time in my life by someone other than my mother. That person who stepped in for me was a "closet" homosexual man - who was not blood related to me and who later died in 1993 of AIDS, but who saw a woman who was alone in a big city and didn't have any family and needed a helping hand with her two small bi-racial children.

His act of unconditional love for me to step in as my surrogate father when I was only 4 years old and teach me critical life lessons was a turning point in my life - because he didn't have any obligation to do this for me or my mother. This was my first early exposure and living example of true Christian compassion, unconditional love, understanding, and capacity to look past color, creed, blood relation, and religion - in order to love and care for someone who needed it. This man was also an African American.

This man embodied the same strange contradictions as Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He introduced and showed unadulaterated Christian love, stepped in as a surrogate father, spiritual guide and teacher to someone who wasn't blood related to him, and yet harbored a hated and demonized secret deep within himself (much like the words now categorically spoken and representative of Rev. Wright's deep feelings about America - which were hidden away from a wider American public tucked away in the black church until now.)

Our open denouncement of this man's anti-American sentiment of race and discrimination reminds me alot like the American sentiment on homosexuality - a taboo subject that was thrust into the public forum for discussion by way of the AIDS epidemic and the fears and prejudice that it personified for most average Americans. It made people have to confront the elephant in the room, and it served to make or break them about their feelings on homosexuality and it's dicotomy in American culture and the church.

Ultimately, it made them come together to collectively decide if they were going to be consumed by their fears or stand up and do something about defeating the disease that was ravaging a religiously condemned people. It made them realize that gay people were people like all of us - a people who deserved to be loved with the same forgiving, unconditional Christian love that we learned about in Sunday school and demanded from each other.

It was another opportunity for us to love the way we wanted to be loved. Much like this situation with Rev. Wright who represents another "imperfect" human being who was raised in a day and time when racim, segregation, and discrimination was very real and created a deep seated feeling of outrage. Outrage that was carried with him to the pulpit along with his deep seated conviction to love and help poor people like Christ - unconditionally.

We now owe that unconditional Christian love back to Barack Obama and Rev. Wright just as I did to my father when I found out he had AIDS and was secretly gay although it was against every Christian tenet for righteous living I had learned about in Sunday school. This is what makes us human and Christian all at the same time - sin and forgiveness. This is our blind duty to one another - the colorless, race-less, religion-less duty we owe back to one another now as we move forward to grasp onto the change we say we so desperately want.

These are the reasons that makes me and Obama and all bi-racial children the right catalyst for this change. We were designed as the embodiment of this type of change for everyone else. A unique people who learned from the examples shown to us through the lens our white side and our black side from the viewpoint of divided races, who were now ready and able to blend this perspective into a collective caleidoscope to then show others how to love unconditionally regardless of race, creed, nationality, religion, mental instability, sexual preference, political party, handicap, gender, sex, or human condition.

This example shown to me by my mother and surrogate father solidified and exemplified my mother's message of hope for this country -the same hope Barack speaks of. The same hope I completely identify with. Through my father's love for me I was able to understand her call of duty to my life as a catalyst for change between the races when I found out my father's secret gay lifestyle through watching his physical health deteriorate from AIDS and I was left with a Christian dilemma much like the country is in now with its current political dilemma.

Would I condemn my father by God's word because it said homosexuality is an abomination and that homosexual's would burn in hell? Would I condemn Rev. Wright to hell because of his condemning remarks about America and racism and disown Barack Obama. I say...Hell no! Because Christ also charged us to forgive one another as we are all sinner's saved by His grace. It also says, judge not...lest you be judged.

So, being a person of character, charged with a higher calling on my life, I did what Christ asks of all of us as Chritians and that was to pray for my father and Rev. Wright and to ask God on both of their behalfs if God would recognize the loftier sacrifice they both made to improve life through unconditional love and compassion for "imperfect" human beings, and not judge either one of their human indiscretions (something we all have) as was given to me by Christian favor by my father when I was suffering.

This is the definitive message sent forward by Barack Obama that I hope with audacity will join the races together after this Rev. Wright debacle. There is no one better suited to do that than Barack Obama. I should know, because he is made and cut from the same cloth as I am.

I can no more denounce Rev. Wright as I could my homosexual father who also made a mistake in his life, but more than made up for it by showing a sacrificial love for others. I want to move forward past these hard, painful issues towards a better America.


House Frau said...


Thanks for your comments. I am very aware of Tuskegee, as I worked in clinical drug research for several years. The Tuskegee atrocities are one of the first things we were taught when I was a new employee a long time ago. Part of my job was to ensure the safety and efficacy of patients as a Clinical Research Associate, to review consent forms, later helping manage all aspects of phase III clinical trials. The system isn't perfect but it has come a long way. After working in the industry I personally would never be on a study drug unless there were no other alternatives to save my life. So I can understand if people doubt the industry but I still can't believe the government cooked up AIDS in a lab.

Anonymous said...

Hi kamaya2-

Just wanted to say I enjoyed reading your entry about Obama's speech and the parallels in your life path. Very inspirational!

Traci (from WorkItMom)