I admit that I did shed tears while watching the inauguration, and I am really, really, super happy to have someone in the White House who could be legitimately pictured with a thought bubble over his head. The historic aspects are also not lost on me. People all over the US are bursting with pride that we really did elect a Black man to be president. People all over the world have exploding heads (metaphorically speaking) as they try to reconcile their recent impressions of us with that same election of a Black man.
However, while we gaze at each other in happy astonishment, blinking in the glorious new light and drying our tears, I am going to be a bit of a wet blanket here. I have developed the habit of looking for (and often finding, to my chagrin) unfortunate motives in myself, so here's a broader exploration in that vein: I wonder how much of the pride felt by White America is (secretly?) very self-congratulatory.
I keep picturing a White youth showing off a new boyfriend or girlfriend who is Black to his or her parents or friends. "Lookitme, folks! I'm really dating a Black person! Aren't I progressive?" Once the self-congratulation and novelty wears off, turns out there's all the same stuff that you would have in any relationship. Plus the racial stuff to deal with on top of that, which many people aren't ready to deal with.
Now before I get any angry comments about interracial dating, I just want to point out that I am all for it. Go back and re-read it. This post isn't really about that.
This is about how White people may be getting a little too full of ourselves and patting our own backs in the wake of this election. Now we really need to make sure that it's not just mental tokenism.