And yes, we did get to see history happen rather than to be a witness to it. God, I can't describe how amazing that feels. But now, we have to grapple with the implications of what could be (or not) a sea change in how think about race and politics in this country.
As a follow up to my "22 Things About the Election that I am both Excited and Scared About," I would like to share:
1. We were so happy on election night: the cheering, screaming, crying, and pride. How soon will that joy turn into anger and disappointment?
2. And if we were so happy on Tuesday Night, why were they so miserable?
3. Obama's victory is a struggle between the symbolic and the practical. Which side will win out?
4. We finally got the ball and now have to run with it. What if we get the ball, run with it, and don't score a touchdown? What if they have rigged the rules to keep us from scoring?
5. An exceptional black man named Barack Obama will be president. When will a person of color who is below average and a failure of a man--someone like George Bush--get to be president? Would the latter be more progress than the former?
6. As they look down on us, are Martin, Malcolm, Sojourner, John Brown and Harriet smiling? Or as they look down on us, are Martin, Malcolm, Sojourner, John Brown and Harriet shaking their heads because we don't know what is waiting for us around the corner?
7. I am happy that many people voted for Barack Obama because he is black. I am saddened that many people voted for Barack Obama because he is black.
8. Where do WE go from here? Where do THEY go from here?
9. A change is gonna come. Or is it?
10. Three words: White, conservative backlash.
11. Publicly, we were/are so excited . Privately, what are we afraid of?
12. They can hate us but love him: Some people dislike black people yet voted for a black man because of the economy. Is this racial progress? Are we just treading water? Or is this a step backwards?
13. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in physics and in politics. What will the opposite reaction be?
14. The scholar in me is both scared and excited. Part of me is biting at the bit to work through how this moment matters for the study of race, ethnicity and politics. Another part of me is worried to death that so much of what we know will be forced into obsolescence. The plain old American part of me is excited and happy about how exceptional we can indeed be as a people. The Black American part of me is joyous and proud...but is waiting for the other shoe to drop.
15. Yes WE can. And you know what, yes THEY can too.
16. I am happy that little black boys and little black girls will grow up in a world which has known a black president. I am really scared that little black boys and little black girls will still be penalized for being Black--and these little black boys and little black girls won't have a language to describe what they are experiencing.
17. Right now, I am proud to be an American. Right now, I am scared to be an American.
18. Barack Obama's personal safety is guaranteed. Isn't it?