Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The New Normal

Oliver (aged seven) asked, "Why are all the brown people crying?"

I realized that watching a black man become president was actually pretty normal for him.



  1. I've sort of been noticing something similar over the course of this election and inauguration. Our reactions to this election are very generational and very regional. I'd go so far as to say that the impact of seeing a black man become President drops off considerably for people under 30, or even 40 and I think it's very difficult for white people who have never had close relationships (or any relationships) via geography, school, work or friendships with black Americans. Apparently the closing benediction was confusing to some people, but I suppose maybe it might be if you can't put it into the perspective of an 87 year old former civil rights activist. My twenty-eight year old step-son has been best friends with a black kid since the seventh grade. He spent the early part of his childhood (as did his friend) as a military brat, living in a geographically and socially integrated environment. I know that he can't possibly understand how unlikely even his friendships would have been had he been born ten or twenty years earlier.

    I like the new normal. If the kids don't know what everyone is crying about, I guess that's a pretty good sign.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Hooray for social progress!

  3. I don't know how to explain to my 3-year old why *I* keep crying every time I see our new President. I kind of don't want her to know, not yet anyway. I like the idea that for her, this is just the way the world is. She's never once mentioned the color of his skin - to her, he's just the new President (or possible just the guy who makes mom cry every time he opens his mouth).

    Aaaaand now I'm crying again.

  4. My husband and I had an interesting conversation .... when you were a kid did you ever say "cotton-pickin?" Like "get your cotton-pickin hands off!" .... I never thought of it as a weird thing to say when I was a kid .... that was our "normal."

  5. I like the new normal as well, though I suspect that Obama would have had a more difficult time if he had spoken with a Southern African-American accent.

    Still, it's a huge improvement over 40 years ago.



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