Obama in Ghana

Well, it happened! The American public voted him in. Meanwhile, two so-called white supremacist, would-be assassins were caught by police, Palin suggested that Africa was a country, not a continent and Berlusconi, that obnoxious manipulator of Italian politics, congratulated Barack on his tan. These are merely connected filaments in the mycelium which exists beneath the surface of white, western societies. They join up to the millions of historical dots that are/have been the expressions of racism. They leak into the itineraries of the media in various forms; some as terrifyingly real threats and some as – amusingly – ignorant gaffes, but all are based on a singular premise – that the colour of skin defines differences between peoples. And that white is superior to any other shade. The absolute indicator of the end of racism will be the day that skin is not used as a primary descriptor of a person, in every day life. We probably will always rely upon it in the criminal field, in profiling a suspect but, come that day, it won’t add one atom of antipathy, deprecation or prejudice. All that will matter is the simple fact that the sought-after individual is Chinese, Asian, Caucasian or whatever. It won’t infer, in any way, that this is a lesser being and that there may be a causal connection between skin and act.

For the moment, it is great he won. Ghanaians, I have met, even those who have as much knowledge of American politics as Palin has of this continent, know and love one thing. Obama is black. He may prove to be a great President. He may fall from grace. But now he enjoys the right to do so, just like any white human being.

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