Commentary: Is Another Black President a Pipe Dream?

Commentary: Is Another Black President a Pipe Dream?

Commentary: Is Another Black President a Pipe Dream?

Some believe Obama will be the last Black president they see in their lifetime. Why we shouldn't give up hope just yet.

Published January 22, 2013

For President Obama and his supporters, the president’s second inauguration was a time of celebration. But for some it was also a bittersweet moment, as it perhaps marked the last moment they’d ever see a Black president sworn into the White House.

There is no direct evidence that America won’t ever see a Black president again — at least not in most citizens’ lifetimes — but many are just getting that feeling, according to some news reports.

This from Marisol Bello in USA Today:

Twitter was awash with sentiments that Obama would be the nation's first and last black president.

"Today is another great day for history. Probably the last time in a while there will be a black president. MLK would be proud," one tweet said.

Another said, "We should all cherish these last four years with Obama ... Because this truly might be our last black president."

"I know deep down inside none of these people want a black man running this country," one tweet opined.

In the Washington Post, reporter Vanessa Williams further noted that, sad tweets aside, of the people who could theoretically be president in the coming years, very few are Black. “[T]he current pool of possible candidates suggests that the next black president will not be taking the oath of office anytime soon,” Williams wrote.

Of course, despite all the naysaying, there are still some people who say we have reason to be bullish on the idea that America needn’t give up all hope on ever having a Black president again.

Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith, in fact, believes that America’s very next president could be Black, owing to the fact that America’s growing need for diversity is dovetailing nicely with the rise of beloved candidates like Cory Booker. Beyond that, there’s simply the unpredictability of American politics. A good politician can make a name for him or herself over night, as President Obama did after giving a rousing speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

If you asked most Black Americans in 2003 if they’d have a Black president in five years time, I’d imagine most would laugh at the notion, and yet here we are today.

In other words, it’s generally a fool’s errand to try to guess what’s going to happen in the frequently absurd and nonsensical world of American politics. So don’t go sleeping on the chance of another Black president just yet.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

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(Photo:  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Written by Cord Jefferson


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