On a personal note, my teenager asked me if I thought Obama's Presidency would really change the downward spiral so many Black people in America seem to be heading in socially and economically, especially young Black men. When she asked me this question, I was immediately reminded of a proverb:
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. [Proverbs 23:7]”
If nothing else, young Black boys guided by Black men can now believe we can and must be in control of ourselves, our children ,our communities and our future. This is what 100 Black Men Of America has to say about the Obama election.
This is a very insiteful editorial below that appeared in a recent USA Today by Attorney Yolanda Young about what Obama's election means to her brother.
A Worthy Role Model for Black Men
As I watched Barack Obama take the oath of office, I, like other African Americans, understood that he is not just "our" president. I am keenly aware, however, that while his election has inspired millions, it has also sparked a paradigm shift in the psyche of black men like my brother. To be sure, the two men have little in common.
Obama distinguished himself in college and law school, stuck with his wife and children through rough patches and developed a style befitting someone in his profession. My brother dropped out of college, fathered three children with three women and grew accustomed to wearing the oversized hip-hop T-shirts he sold from the back of his truck. Obama is disciplined. My brother has consistently demonstrated he has no follow-through. That is, until recently.
For the first time in his life, my brother voted. Aside from the general apathy that keeps many from voting, my brother had the added barrier of being a former convict. Laws regarding a felon's ability to vote vary from state to state, so to even attempt registering, my brother overcame what are enormous fears for black men — being rejected and embarrassed.
Up to the day of the election, there was suspense — would my brother have the patience to stand in a long line? But at 6 a.m. on Nov. 4, he joined millions of others in heading to the polls. A preliminary analysis by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that the percentage of African Americans who voted appears to have smashed records and surpassed white turnout in a U.S. presidential election for the first time.
For too long, black male role models have consisted of rappers, athletes and neighborhood thugs peddling aspirations that are at best unrealistic, at worse pathological. Finally, the most popular black man in the U.S. can move blacks — and black men in particular — to action in positive and realistic ways.
Smelling the cigarette smoke on my brother's hands as he placed his newborn daughter in my lap, I decided to test the theory. I said to my brother, "You know Obama seems to be having a difficult time giving up cigarettes. If he asked brothers to kick the habit with him, would you?" My brother thought for a few seconds, then said in all earnestness, "You know what? I'd try." Those sound like simple words, but as the president would likely tell you, nothing is simple for a black man. Yolanda
Young is the founder of www.onbeingablacklawyer.com.