Saturday, January 19, 2008

American Maturity

"History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it."
-Winston Churchill

Forty-two years after the abolition of racial segregation in the USA, who would have thought that a black (Barack Obama) will be a candidate in the primary elections of a country where 80.1% of the population is white? Obama's presence indicates that the USA is willing to turn a new leaf.

With our eyes on the states of Nevada and South Carolina, many of us, Canadians, still believe that most American WASPs are not willing to vote for Barack Obama (photo) just because he's a black. Yes, there are still some racists in the USA, a land where people are defined by the colour of their skin.

However, most of our neighbours are more mature than we believe.

Indeed, most Canadians don't know that Obama, as a senator, got elected in Illinois, a state where 79.3% of the population are white persons.

Besides, although the primaries are not finished and that Obama withdrew his candidacy from the state of Michigan, the USA no longer resembles to what it was many decades ago. The most surprising thing is that Obama beat his closet rival, who is John Edwards (29.7%), with 37.6% of the votes in Iowa, a state where White persons form 94.6% of the local population.

In addition to that, he also tailed Hillary Clinton (39.1%) very closely in New Hampshire primaries with 36.5% of the votes. As matter of fact, 95.8% of New Hampshire's population are white persons.

Without a doubt, most of you are going to say that these are only results coming from the USA's northern states, that is, states that we depict as being close to our values to a certain extent.

After all, don't the Southern's states represent backwardness? Not anymore, in a broad perspective. The truth is that we hear less and less about tensions between blacks and whites in the USA. As for the final results in the Southern states' primaries, changes of mentality will certainly be seen straight ahead.

Therefore, even though we like to caricature the USA, this country continues to surprise us. In fact, since the 1960s, the American melting pot has become more inclusive for blacks and also people of Asian heritage. Hopefully, gone is the time when only Whites could define themselves as being TRUE Americans.

Nonetheless, whether Obama becomes the next leader of the Democrats or not, he'll make history for sure, to some hardline blacks' (i.e. "Black Power") great displeasure. He may be a mulatto, but one thing is sure: Obama cares for Blacks. Thus, this makes the USA the first Western country to have a presidential (or governmental in other case) candidate coming from "visible minorities".

So much things that we can learn! Unfortunately, since Canada is still a country defined by soft tribalism, let's wonder when will Canada have a political candidate who comes from "visible minorities" and also one who defines him/herself only as a Canadian? Well, let's hope that we'll all see this dream come true before we become too old.

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