Those of you that follow my blog know that I never post material that is not my own… But I was so touched by this beautifully written piece, that I felt compelled to share it with you.You can find out more about Mr. Valentine at http://tavalentine.com. Enjoy!
ValidationBy: Tim Valentine
What it means to me as a Black man, a father of 3 boys to see President Obama in terms of race is simply VALIDATION of what I always knew about myself.
Everyone may not fully comprehend this validation in the same spirit as I and others like myself, speaking specifically of minorities, which includes women of any race as well. But for me it says that all of the unconscious discrimination and sociocultural obliviousness I’ve experience by the hands of Conservative White men and on rare occasion so-called Liberal White men as well may be a barrier, but an obstruction that I can overcome.
You see I was brought up in a very racially diverse environment at an early age. I was also brought up with first hand access to Black men of various levels of success and character. I got to see the person behind the pulpit, the local politician behind the podium and the businessman in his environment as well as the man who punched the clock everyday. I recognized their dignity and learned from it. So when I was told or treated like I was less than because of what I was, I never believed it. Perhaps it’s why the gentleman who called me a Pompus Black Liberal Bastard was so mad at me. He realized I wasn’t afraid or intimidated by what he was.
I had a very nice Muslim minister tell me many years ago, “Know who you are and where you’re from.” He didn’t try to convert me to Islam, he respected my beliefs. I’ve had an obviously gay White man who received some terrible news while I was having a conversation with him cry on my shoulder in public. It wasn’t about his relationship preferences, but that I validate who he is and not what others categorized him as. He was a good dude. I could keep on going, but to wrap this thought up, just like the Muslim minister who saw me for who I was and not what I was in terms of beliefs (Christian) he choose to validate my humanity with an encouraging action.
President Obama does that for me. I’m encouraged that I will make it too despite the hatred I’ve experience and continue to experience from primarily, from one segment of one group, Conservative White Men. I don’t hate them, but just as aware of them as they are of me and so many others.
So as I read and listen to those who make excuses for why they’ve chosen to hate this President without addressing the questions they often seek to avoid or downplay, I’ve chosen to embrace this President, President Obama and Vice-President Biden because they’ve chosen to embrace me by validating who I am far above and beyond what I am.
Thank You Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., all who participated in the validation of me regardless of race and thank you again President Barack Obama for reenforcing those validations.