Friday, June 20, 2008

The ghost of race, the politics of hope:
The first African slaves were brought to this country at Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. The “peculiar institution” of slavery, as it was so often historically referred, gained steam by the mid 1700’s. It ultimately, of course, flourished until, the events leading up to and including our most human-life costly Civil War. Our country has been, even to this day, rent with and divided by the discord of race. Its costs have been huge.

Science through the discovery of the unarguable DNA tells us that we are one species, homo sapiens. The National Geographic Genographic Project yet again reaffirms all of us, each and every human on earth, has their etiology in one place -- Africa. We are, indeed, all related and science proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Still, undeniable proof of these facts is not enough. Four hundred years later, the ghosts of slavery and race continue to chain our conscience, plague our culture and enslave all of us so that still we truly cannot be free. The sands of change shift slowly. Since the first slave ship in 1619 unloaded its human cargo, much blood has been spilled, much controversy generated but much progress has been achieved. It has been a slow hard slog in order that a man so simply, as Dr. King eloquently said nearly forty-five years ago, would be judged not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character.

Who would have believed in 1619 or in modernity today that an African American man, Barak Obama, would seek and most possibly achieve the highest office in our land? The time for that is long overdue. The time is right. The time is now. The world waits with hope and so do I.