f Senator Barack Obama is elected as the president of the United States, it would be a watershed, history defining moment.
Our Weekly conducted a poll to find out how Obama winning the presidency could impact the lives of black men and how it will shape their views on black America in the future.
“We’d have a sense of hope that things are starting to change,” said Quincy Daniels, 38, a barber at the Unique Stylez barbershop on Western Avenue. “If he gets in office, Obama’s plate is definitely going to be full. The first thing he’s going to have to do is clean up Bush’s mess, which is the economy.”
Chuck Young, 50, reflected, “If Obama’s elected, he will definitely have an impact on racism because he’s biracial. It will be good for our children to see a black face as president. The kids will see him and understand that it’s possible that they can do anything now. It will impact our youth as far as their faith in this country because black kids will be able to see themselves in the Oval Office or in a high ranking position. It will prove to them that a black man is just as qualified as anyone else.”
Pausing, Young added, “This is a movement for our people. We had to sacrifice a lot in the ’60s to get this far. A lot of black people died. A lot of us got killed in the streets or locked up in prison.”
“It will make the country better,” Michael Cummings reflected. “We have never had a black president. I’ll be happy and I definitely will celebrate. It would be history making,” Cummings maintained.
James Bolden, press secretary to Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke, said, “Obama’s run for the presidency has already affected us as a people. Whether he gets in office or not, we’ve already benefited from his race for the presidency. I went to a concert and ran into some ballers and we had a discussion about Obama you would not believe. These were people you would not expect to be into politics. Gang members and people you would never think are talking about Obama. He stimulates conversation with people from all walks of life.”
“For one thing, it would be a joy to have a black president,” said Harold Huntsman, 58. “I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. It would change my life. The United States is messed up real bad, and if he can do anything about it, it will be a joy. I hope he can bring down the gas prices and the high rent. I’d love to see him try to get us more jobs and better education for our people.”
“It gives me notice that a man of color can achieve any goal. The sky’s the limit,” said Vincent Coulson, 20, a math tutor at the Al Wooten Heritage Center.
Alex Simpkins, 34, a business owner who paused after getting his hair cut, said, “It will definitely give a boost to the morale of black people and let them know that there is nothing beyond their reach. Obama’s election will also show black people that they must take full accountability for their actions. If Obama becomes president, black folks will not be able to make any more excuses about being held back in society and not reaching their goals,” said Simpkins.
Deen Demola, 50 a Nigerian business owner, said, “Obama will be a good president. If he is elected, it’s going to provide a lot of chances to motivate the kids and the adults. I hope that he will focus on the immigration policies and that he will provide a lot of opportunities for citizenship.”
Pausing, Demola said that Obama’s African ancestry has been recognized and celebrated in the motherland. “Obama is very smart, very intelligent,” said Demola. “It’s the first time an African man has come into this position. He will make a lot of changes–not only to the community, but the world.”
“I’m 60 years old and I feel like its an achievement to see a man of color as president,” said Charles Banks, who spent his youth in segregated Georgia. “I grew up thinking that the president’s job was reserved for white Americans. To have a black man challenging that position is phenomenal. As a whole, I feel as if it will make a lot of young blacks more ambitious and make them feel that they can reach goals and achieve things. Oh, and I would like to see John Edwards as Obama’s running mate,” said Banks.
Chris Clayton, 82, who paused on his walking cane after a trip from grocery shopping, said, “I’m 82 years old and it would be nice to see him become president because the end of my time is near. But deep down I’m fearful. I feel he’s going to get killed the first week. I really believe that he will get shot. I would feel terrible if he gets killed.”
“It will feel good if Obama is elected,” said Rodney Thomas, 35, a painter. “I hope nothing happens to him and that he doesn’t get assassinated. I’d love to have a black person as president. I hope he would lower gas and food prices, and housing so people can live right.”