Every four or eight years, a new President is inaugurated and the existing President has to exit the White House. But today, it's not just any president exiting the White House, but the first African-American president of our United States -
Barack Hussein Obama II.
As I reflect over his eight years as President, and listen and read the many comments shared by the African-American community as he leaves, here is a list of some of the qualities I've heard most that we'll miss:
- His intelligence
- His style
- His calmness under pressure
- His great oratory skills
- His love for his wife and family
- His beautiful wife and daughters
- His effortless coolness
- His swagger
- His 'Dap"
- His soulfulness
- His smile
- His wife's beauty
- His wife's excellent taste and style
- His wife's love for her children
- His wife's agenda to fight obesity in children
- His wife's open door White House policy
Although these are all great reasons for why we'll miss President Obama, I'd like to add another one: we'll miss him because of how he represented the African-American community. For you see, for so long our community has been criticized and ridiculed for the way we dress, look, talk, speak and live. For so long, we have been relegated as second class citizens who others didn't think could sit at royal tables with Kings and Queens or talk world politics with Presidents, Diplomats and others in high authority. For so long, our families have been described as broken, problematic, and dysfunctional. But then along came President Obama. He became President and showed the world that in spite of its stereotypes about African-Americans, we are people who love our families, and will do everything necessary to protect our family unit. In spite of racism and character attacks, he became President and showed the world we are people who can respond with dignity, class, patience and grace. He became President and showed others we are people who can walk with world leaders and dignitaries on a global platform, yet have fun on the White House lawn with boys and girls, no matter what color, race, creed or sexual orientation. He became President and showed others we are people who can embrace the swagger, coolness and rhythm of our culture, and not be afraid to display these same qualities walking down the corridors of the White House, all the while shouldering the burdens of his Presidency.
So yes, we are saddened, that President Obama's tenure is coming to an end today. And between our tears, we say thank you. Thank you, Mr. President for representing us well. You showed the world African-American life and culture in a way no one else could have done, and to paraphrase an unknown poet, "it may have not always been perfect, but it was the best of us the world has ever seen."
Sharing my perspective,