Sam learns he could grow up to be president

Of all the things anybody is going to say about the election and Barack Obama, I’m sure this is the least relevant. I don’t care.

I kept Sam up tonight while his dad put Olivia to sleep because I wanted him to see the election. He’s 4 1/2 years old. I know he didn’t care, really, and didn’t understand. I tried to explain it to him.

I said, “Sam, do you know why it’s so important that Obama won?” He continued to stare at CNN all in red and blue and he shook his head, “No.” I said, “Because Obama is black.” Sam blinked and furrowed his eyebrows. “I mean, his skin is a different color. Didn’t you notice that?” He shook his head no.

I said, “Well, it’s not really ‘black,’ like the color. But people call his skin color ‘black’ because he’s considered African American. Half African, half American.”

“I’m from America,” he said.

“Yes, and you’re considered ‘Hispanic,’ because you’re half white and half Hispanic.”

And he looked down at his arm to look at his skin. He looked confused again, and I knew what he was going to ask. So I said, “It doesn’t matter what color your skin is. That’s the thing. Before Obama was elected president, before tonight, it did matter what color your skin was. But now it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that you’re half Hispanic. The thing is, now you could be president someday.”

He looked back up at the TV quickly. I said, “You know how people had signs in their yards for Obama, and we counted them the other night? When you grow up, they could have signs in their yards saying, ‘Williams.’ They could say, ‘Vote for Sam Williams for President.'”

This made him smile big. And I said, “You could run for president – or Micah or Jason or Katie or Zane or even you sister, Olivia, could run for president. And you could win.”

He kept smiling. He said, “I’m going to tell my teacher tomorrow. I’m going to tell her that I could be president someday.”

“Yeah, tell her. And tell her, so she better watch what she says to you!”

“Yeah!” he said. “Because I could grow up and be president!”

A few minutes later, he told me he was tired and started walking to bed. I told him to lie on the sofa and just finish watching with me, and he did. His dad and his sister were asleep now, so it was just us. And he was fighting to stay awake. As we watched John McCain walk out to give his concession speech, I told Sam that it was official – that Obama had really won.

“Good, Mommy. So I can go to sleep now?”

“Yes, little boy, go ahead and go to sleep.”

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2 Responses

  1. […] November 5, 2008 · No Comments Wrote about Sam’s reaction to the election on my other blog. See it here: https://givingcityaustin.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/sam-learns-he-could-grow-up-to-be-president/ […]

  2. I do disagree that people had evolved, way before Obama’s election, in ways that racism meant less. Our nation has constantly been evolving in ways where no one is judged by teir skin color as much anymore.

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