When I first read the news, a chill ran down my spine. How can such blatant and violent forms of racism still be prevalent in today's society? Of course, the above news clip features a whole slew of bystanders that speculate that they "think" the statement "might" be racist, rather than political. Wow - ya think?
My second thought after hearing of the story was the sympathy I felt toward Obama. My fiance (a fellow Obama supporter) told me today that many people predict that Obama will be assassinated if he is indeed elected to office. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to absorb the constant harassment and disrespect he receives simply on account of his race, and how much courage he must have to be able to deflect it all.
But then, I realized that Obama is a strong, insightful, intelligent man. And it's kind of like being a feminist - you already know that everyone is going to hate you for taking a stand, but it's your responsibility and privilege to do so. Consider this lyric from Ani DiFranco's great song Crime for Crime:
"They make it even easier
by seeing me as a symbol, and not a human being
that way they can kill me
and say 'it's not murder, it's a metaphor
we are killing off our own failure
and starting clean'"
When you stand up for what you believe in, you have unknowingly made yourself into a symbol. You sacrifice your ego and identity for your cause. Therefore, when people personally attack you, they're really having an emotional response to the issue at hand, not you as a person. Being a symbol takes strength, and I believe that Obama has what it takes.