Sunday, August 03, 2008

"Am I Not Obama Enough?"

One of my close friends from college was in town this past week. We met up at a book store in Cambridge (Massachusetts). He is an amazing writer and I cannot wait for his first book to come out. It is supposed to get published within this coming year. I will write about it here once it gets published. I am certain that he will become a best-seller. He is an amazing writer and also he is a lot to say and narrate about his childhood in Zimbabwe.

In any case, during the couple of hours that we spent together sipping on our coffee and sharing our thoughts and stories of the past year, he told me about his recent experience. Hearing about this experience made me think for many hours. Even though it might seem like a minor and insignificant moment between two strangers in the streets of Boston, I cannot pass by it without disappointment. His little story was as follows:

A few days ago, he was walking in Boston and was trying to find a restaurant. He was a bit lost and so he decided to ask someone for directions. He asked a white woman who was passing by for directions and the lady did not respond. He asked her once again and the lady still did not respond. The third time, she only looked at him and did not respond. When she turned back to look at my friend, he saw an Obama pin on her coat. My friend told me, “I thought to myself: ‘Am I not Obama enough for you to respond to my question?’ ”

We talked a bit about the connotations of being black in this country (and perhaps in other countries. My experience is only in the context of the US). I do not mean to write an in-depth post about this topic and just wanted to share the painfully ironic experience of a friend and his hurt feelings about it. “Am I not Obama enough for you?”…..My friend’s voice gets echoed in my head and the voice repeats this question: “Am I not Obama enough for you?”

We are strange creatures and are unbelievably trapped in our own world of restricting stereotypes and prejudices with which we live and consequently miss out on expanding our horizons. How incredibly sad…


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