By Arlene Jones
When it comes to black people, being "the first" or "the only one" has its unique set of challenges, neither of which makes taking on that role easy. A person in that role does not have a one-situation-fits-all landscape. And although each experience is different, there is a richness in the commonality. There will be "highs" and there will be "lows." But traversing that path leaves footsteps that others can and should follow.
How does the black community reward/honor former President Barack Obama for his monumental job of taking on the presidency and doing it well and without scandal for eight years? He had his supporters and he had his detractors (and distractors). Then again, every president does. However, his black skin gave him extenuating circumstances/nuances that other presidents didn't have to address. And those of us who have the same melanin in our skin need to honor him for that.
History will be establishing Obama's Legacy now and in the years to come. For black people, we need to create our own version of his legacy to honor him. Thus I suggest:
O.B.A.M.A - Our Blackness Accountability: Minors and Adults.
There was a time when we as black people valued what we did individually as it reflected on the collective. I am of the opinion that those days need to return. As a community, black people need to begin to hold ourselves and each other accountable. I know that "accountability" has been hijacked and has become a word that is almost derogatory. However, the excuse-filled reasons have done nothing but give those who want to create havoc continuous alibis. This has to again become unacceptable.
Using the acronym O.B.A.M.A gives us an opportunity to not only honor him but also live up to the trail-blazing path he established. Rare is the person who can look at Obama's accomplishment and declare that they wouldn't want it for their child. He was raised by a single parent. Father left at an early age. Grandparents helped in the rearing. Education became his salvation and his mantra.
How do we change it so our young people opt to follow that path and choose it over the street life? We hold them and each other accountable. We cannot afford a "Me" society. Every person has a role to play. From childhood to old age, there's an obligation for one to the other. The importance of this cannot be denied. And children who came of age during his presidency who continue to show the negative behaviors of the past, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is an urgent need for us to step in and make changes.
Who wants to join in and make O.B.A.M.A a reality?
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