The new black
Today I opened a piece of junk mail and realized that my entire perception had shifted. On the flyer urging me to accept my bank’s rebate of $300 for installing a security system of my home was a photo of a charming, beautiful black family sitting outside their charming, beautiful home. I noticed they were black, but I didn’t think, "Ah, the bank is being affirmative and inclusive," I thought, "like the Obamas," and I realized that without making any kind of connection consciously, I was considering a home security system with more seriousness than I ever had before. The urge didn’t last long, and as soon as the I-want-to-be-the-Obama-family connection was made, the urge vanished, because obviously a security system would NOT make me like the Obama family, but still, that quiet push was there.
I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately and seeing even more magazine covers which suggest Obama, a black man as President of the United States, has changed everything. I understood this was theoretically possible, but I admit I have been thinking, no, not this quickly, and the romanticism of Obama is being too overplayed. But as I looked at that photo and realized my subliminal reaction to it, and as I thought of the contour neck support pillow whose packaging featured a black model looking startlingly like Michele Obama, which I had noticed only after I purchased it, and as I think of other subtle things, I’m starting to think I’m the one who’s wrong. Maybe it does happen this fast. I thought it was just Obama, because I acknowledge part of me wants him to be the PR rock star he has initially seemed to be, and I know I hear his name or see his face and I simply feel better for knowing he is there, but until I saw that family on that flyer, I’d attributed that reaction to Obama himself, not his race. I still think it’s Obama the man who has the most power. But now I’m thinking that Obama the black man has a lot of power, too.
There will be no security system installed here. But I’m thinking that there will be less pricey and complicated purchases I will make without realizing it because I saw them hocked by a charming black family, or woman, or man, and I will have been thinking of the Obamas, or, more simply, of the comfort and security one other charming black family has given me.