Let’s See How Far We’ve Come

January 21, 2009 — Leave a comment

shepard-fairey-barack-obama

Growing up, I was always the organizer.  Most of my friends and I loved to play basketball, but no one liked to pick up the phone and take the work to try to get everyone together to play.  Although I sometimes got frustrated that I always had to do the work, I usually figured the work was worth the benefit of getting to play together.

So a couple of weeks back, I was craving the middle school days of calling up friends and being able to have a pick up game in minutes.  I ended up contacting my dad’s church for the next available time the gym was open and called up my friends.  Turns out that once your only responsibility is not just going to school, people can’t just show up.  So I only had two of my friends show up, but luckily one of my friends brought three high school kids from the apartment complex where he lives.  We played the first game and I found out that I was just slightly better than the others on the court, which is always the best.  Whenever there is good competition, but you can come out on top.  …Yeah…I’m a selfish competitor/winner. ☺

My two friends who I invited were white and the three high school kids were black.  After a couple of 3 on 3 games, one of the kids said, “whites vs. blacks”.  I looked at him and started laughing a little bit and responded, “I’m not so sure I’m comfortable with saying that, but ok!”  Of course I’ve got a big mouth on the court, so I start chanting, “Let’s go Caucasians!”  It was really funny and for the first time in the history of mankind, the white guys won! Lol!

As fun and hilarious of a time this was, this is a beautiful picture.  Here is a black kid, who just met me 20 minutes before, who is comfortable with saying we will pick teams based on our skin color.  The beauty of this is that there was not an ounce of racism from either side.  In fact, they made fun of one of my friends for looking “so white out there” (he was attempting to act goofy).  This simple story of us playing basketball shows exactly how far we’ve come as Americans.

To think that these people could not have taken a drink from the same water fountain as me 60 years ago is unreal to think about.  Black people were worth 3/5ths of a person!  How do we think such unreasonable thoughts as humanity?  I’m not sure, but that is not the point.  The point is that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream and that dream resonates so true with my generation.  I’ve never even really experienced racism.  Heck, I had black friends in college who were comfortable with me calling them the “n” word!  That is ridiculous!  To think that black people were treated like animals and now a formerly derogatory term now can mean, “you are my boy” is unbelievable.  And beautiful.

And so watching the inauguration of an intelligent black man was an unbelievable experience for me yesterday.  We could argue all day about the politics of it all, but historically, today, I am proud to be an American.

(Title of post inspired by this song by Matchbox 20)

Jonathan Sigmon

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