By Tiffany Okeani, AP Student
Inspired by Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
I am an invisible man. Yes, the American people elected me twice and yes, I brought hope and change whether you agree with me or not. I am a man of substance, of degrees, of knowledge, of tolerance and of love-and I might even be said to possess a real birth certificate.
Yet, I am invisible, understand, simply because the country is still yet to deal with the full implications of an African-American man in the White House even when I’m gone. Throughout my two terms in office, my efforts to heal racial division and uplift Black America has been plagued by the tea party’s racially tinged attacks on my policy agenda and by my successor to the White House, who constantly belittles my achievements with the notion that I wasn’t even an American citizen.
The invisibility to which I refer to occurs because of the color of my skin that my opponents like to focus on, rather than the content of my character. It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it’s most often rather wearing on the nerves as evident by my gray strands of hair. Both political wings labeled me, either as a symbol of “post-racial” America or as a monster that would revolutionize America. I wish that Americans, however, only saw me for me and not through a pane of stained glass that distorted who I truly was.
Still chased by invisibility, as minorities tend to be because most are seen only as stereotypes and statistics, I move forward with newfound knowledge and meaning in my invisibility. Even in the last days of my presidency, I hope that people can see that I turned my “Yes We Can” into a “Yes We Did.”