I think that to a large extent, how each of us perceives the larger context of Barack Obama becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee for president has to do with the generation that each of us is part of.
I was talking with my 25-year-old daughter on the phone last night during Obama's speech after the Montana and South Dakota Democratic primaries and said, "Well, are you exited, watching history being made?"
"Oh, I'm watching some comedy. ... 'History being made?' "
"Yes! The first time that a major political party has ever had a black person as its candidate! It's so cool!"
"Well, I guess ..."
After talking with her a bit more, I got the strong impression that it's not all that big a deal to her generation to think of someone other than a white man as a presidential candidate. She grew up seeing people as just people, not people who have specific skin colors. And she, an American of mostly Polish and Irish ancestry and with skin whiter than white, grew up to marry a dark-skinned man with Puerto Rican and black ancestors and to be the mother of a pale-mocha baby. But when I was growing up in an insular, racist, middle-class white community in southeast Texas in the late 1960s and the entirety of the 1970s, her life choices would've been seen as very unusual, probably intentionally rebellious, and even socially suicidal. So though I think Obama's win is amazing and wonderful, to my daughter and her friends, it's not amazing. It just is what it is.
Now, that is cool.
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