On the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, I find myself reflecting upon the significance of an African-American becoming President of the United States.
I humbly admit that I do not know what it is like to be discriminated against and discounted solely because of the colour of my skin. I have not experienced racial segregation or the humiliation of being forced to use a side entrance because I am seen as less than a person. I have not personally witnessed the atrocities committed against the Blacks. I have not felt the sting of systemic racial inequality in the workforce.
However, I do know what it is like to be discriminated against and discounted solely because of my disability – or perceived disability. I have experienced segregated classes and programs specifically for the disabled. I have experienced the feeling of less than when using an accessible entrance around the back. I have been sickened by the appalling treatment of far too many people with disabilities. I face the sting of living below the poverty line and being on social assistance, for now.
If an African-American President can reside in the White House, empowering all African-Americans and quashing racial discrimination, then hope exists that discrimination based on disability can also be overcome and we can all be “judged on the content of our character”.
In his speech on Sunday from Lincoln Memorial, President-elect Barack Obama spoke these words, filling me with hope:
…a belief that if we could just recognize ourselves in one another and bring everyone together – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; Latino, Asian, and Native American; black and white, gay and straight, disabled and not – then not only would we restore hope and opportunity in places that yearned for both, but maybe, just maybe, we might perfect our union in the process….
Together, yes, we can!If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.