After the Reelection of Barack Obama…What?

After the Reelection of Barack Obama…What?

On November 6th, 2012, the country reelected Barack Obama as president. As an African-American Democratic Chicagoan, I was ecstatic. I partied so hard Tuesday night that I had to drag myself to work Wednesday morning. After work, I really wanted to go home and sleep, but my favorite American poet, writer, activist, and educator, Nikki Giovanni, was speaking at Governors State University and I had to go see her. Ms. Giovanni never disappoints which is why she’s one of the nation’s leading social and artistic voices. Her work illustrates her commitment to civil rights, activism, family, and love.

Some of the notes I jotted down on my program during her lecture included these points:

-You cannot be reasonable with unreasonable people.

-I’m not just pro-choice. I’m pro-abortion because if you don’t want to have a baby, then I don’t want you to have it either.

-Falling in love is like riding a bicycle; it requires trust and balance.

-Now that Barack Obama has been reelected, we have to find ways to push back on some of the hatred that's coming with his second term. This election showed that racism if still alive and thriving. People of color need to actively support other people of color and organizations of color. Everyone in here should join the NAACP.

For the past month, Ms. Giovanni's advice about supporting people of color and organizations of color has stayed top of mind. To this end, I compiled the following list to help achieve her suggestion:

-Support black media, especially African-American owned and operated entities, and know the difference between entities that are owned by blacks or just showcase black voices.

-Purchase a season pass to your local American-American museum. In Chicago, that’s the DuSable Museum of African-American history. http://www.dusablemuseum.org

-Read and promote literature by and about people of color. I'm an avid reader and I list my recommendations on Goodreads.com. A few books I’m highly recommending right now are “32 Candles” by Ernessa T. Carter, “Bicycles: Love Poems” by Nikki Giovanni, “Perfect Peace” by Daniel Black, “Freeman” by Leonard Pitts, “This is How You Lose Her” by Junot Diaz, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot, "143 - Love According to Musiq" by Musiq Soulschild, and of course “Single Girl Summer” by yours truly.

-Send a donation to a historically black college even if you didn't go to one. If you went to a non-HBCU (general market university), contact your Black student union and ask what you can do to help.

-Join and volunteer with an African-American nonprofit or civil rights organization like the NAACP or National Urban League.

-Volunteer to speak at the career day at an inner-city school. Be a mentor. Be a voice and beacon of hope and inspiration.

-Support black businesses. Don't be put off by bad experiences. There are numerous quality African-American owned and operated businesses that provide excellent customer service. And circulate references and referrals for those quality businesses amongst your friends and social network. I love my dentist Dr. Anthony King at Private Dental Services.

  • -A new iPhone app ‘Around the Way Locates Black-Owned Businesses.
  • -Purchase “Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy” by Maggie Anderson from a Black bookstore and read it. Near Chicago, check out Azizi bookstore in the Lincoln Mall in Matteson.

-Host investment club or book club meetings at Black owned businesses and coffee shops.

-Start your own Black owned business.

Reelecting Barack Obama was just one step closer to Martin Luther King’s dream or equality and prosperity for African-Americans and all people of color. The job is not done. There is plenty of work to do.

Deanna Burrell is an account executive at WVON and is the author of the explosive novel, Single Girl Summer. Described as “If Waiting to Exhale and Sex and the City procreated, the bouncing baby would read like Single Girl Summer,” the novel tells the story of three women navigating the ups and downs of life during one special summer in Chicago. Find out more at http://www.singlegirlsummer.com.

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  • You mistake "hatred" -- and I assume you mean racial hatred--with political and philosophical differences.

    Just to remind you, that without "white America", President Obama would not have been re-elected, or elected in the fist place.

    I find it ironic that you appear to be judging the content of the character of many Americans based on the color of skin. There is the forest and there are the trees, and you may not be seeing the forest.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    "Hatred" refers to the plethora of offensive and racist signs, jokes, pictures, quotes, bumper stickers and etc. that are constantly targeted at President Obama and his family. I recommend you google "racist obama images". Here's a great article for you to start with "10 Most Offensive Tea Party Signs And Extensive Photo Coverage From Tax Day Protests (PHOTOS)" at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/16/10-most-offensive-tea-par_n_187554.html. It shows pictures of signs like "Obama's Plan: White Slavery", "Obama, What You Talking 'bout Willis!" and pictures of Obama's image superimposed on Hitler.

  • Deanna....to your point of "People of color need to actively support other people of color and organizations of color.", I believe that such action is a start, however, it only scratches the surface. I don't doubt that in addition to some of President Obama's political ideologies, it his his skin color that has fueled the fire to the tensions in Washington. For this type of conflict to ever be eradicated, it is incumbent upon the white population to first of all admit their hidden racism and accept the fact that it is no longer the 1950s and white men are no longer solely in charge.

    The most recent examples of hidden (or maybe not-so-hidden) racism are the recent objections raised by Senators McCain and Graham over Susan Rice's POSSIBLE nomination for Secretary of State. As the nation is about to fall off a economic fiscal cliff, their concern over this issue at this point in time is troubling, to say the least.

    As a middle-aged, white male, I'm as sick and tired of seeing nothing get done in Washington as anyone could be. I think President Obama is a good person who has good intentions. I think there is more he could be doing to resolve tensions now that he has been re-elected, however. I think his strategy to take his "fiscal cliff" crisis to the people in campaign form is a mistake and is only alienating the Republicans further. I'd suggest that he work more closely with the opposition as soon as possible.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/tomfoolery/2012/12/what-fiscal-cliff/

  • In reply to Tom Byelick:

    Thanks for your comment. I agree with you and it will be very interesting to see how Susan Rice's POSSIBLE nomination shakes out. It would be nice it parties would work together and actually got something productive done. But each one is so busy trying to make the other one look bad. The politicians go round and round chasing tails and the people suffer.

  • Deanna...to your point that "people of color need to actively support other people of color", I agree, however, that is only scratching the surface. It's troubling for all that there is so much tension and hatred so blatantly visible within the ranks of our leadership. Without question, there is hidden (and sometimes not-so-hidden) racism occurring and ever-present.

    I think President Obama is a fair and decent man whose hands have been tied in many cases by a vicious opposition. Now that he has been re-elected, however, I think he is in a better position to smooth the waters. I think he is making somewhat of a mistake by taking his "fiscal cliff" message directly to the people in campaign fashion. I think he would do better by working more closely with the Republicans and demonstrating greater leadership.

    As a middle-aged white male, I'm as sick and tired as anyone with the lack of admission regarding racism in politics and in society in general. Whites with "conservative values" need to relaize that this is no longer the 1950s and demograhpics have changed. The sooner people realize this, the sooner we might get some things accomplished that need to get done.

    http://www.chicagonow.com/tomfoolery/2012/12/what-fiscal-cliff/

  • This is the most insane thing I've read in quite a while. While I voted for Obama twice, the "support black things despite whatever the hell they may be, good or bad" idea is terrible, and takes race relations back years. The point is to be okay with people of any color, not blindly support your own race. Otherwise you're just as bad as the KKK.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    I did not say anything about blindly supporting your own race. If you read my article, I listed museums, media, businesses, and civil right organizations that uplift people of color. Those suggestions are not just for people of color. I invite you to also visit museums that celebrate people of color, listen/watch/read ethnic media, send donations to historically black colleges, etc. I'm not excluding anyone. Here's your personal invitation to be a part of the solution. Let me know which suggestions you implement.

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