Friday, November 07, 2008

Rip Van Loomis

Hello. My name is Rip Van Loomis. I just awoke from a 20 year sleep. How can you trust this? Look at my giant beard that clearly shows I have not shaved in 2 decades.

I'm looking around at this new society. And I'm finding one thing quite striking.

Did we just elect a black guy president?

Did I wake up in bizarro America?

To be serious, I simply can't get over the fact that the United States has elected an African-American president. This is the most shocking event of my life. Much more so than 9/11. I was sure that the only way we would ever elect a minority or a woman as president was if it was a Republican. To have elected a left of center Democrat with a weird Muslim-sounding name is unbelievable. Really really amazing.

I am wondering if one of the unintended consequences of this election is that it is going to be harder rather than easier to discuss race in this country. Now my students can easily buy into ideas that race doesn't matter, that anyone can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and that there is no such thing as institutionalized racism. That Obama played down race and because enough Americans now think that having a black leader is an OK thing, this will lend credence to these myths and make teaching these issues all the more challenging.

Well, I am sure getting sleepy. When I wake up in another 20 years, I am expecting an openly gay president. Which I actually think is not all that unlikely by 2028.