Some Keys to their Success
| Barack and Michelle Obama should be commended for the great example they have demonstrated, particularly for their black brothers and sisters. Such modeling has not been validated nor widely practiced within the black culture to any great extent. Those who have followed their example are often denigrated as Uncle Toms for selling out to the majority, often referred to as the plantation owner. Many aspects of their modeling are mainstream for folks who wish to get ahead, whether or not they are of minority status.
Speak English: The Obama’s have mastered the English language. This mastery undoubtedly started at an early age at home with parents and others who also spoke understandable English. A large number of black persons, particularly across the southern states, speak English marginally, or not at all. While English is their first and only language, understanding and communicating with some of them is approaching impossible. To succeed in the greater culture, there is no more important skill than to be able to communicate with the public at large in the native tongue, English. This starts in the home with parents who speak English, and should be encouraged by all parents as a vital life-long skill.
Get the best possible education: The Obama’s have demonstrated the importance of education. While both are graduates of Harvard’s law school, their success at Harvard was made possible through their childhood and adolescent preparation in elementary and high school. Their parents undoubtedly advocated the importance of an education, particularly for minorities, and encouraged their success in all their school-related activities. Hopefully the message will resonate among all black families that a quality education is available to all those who wish to earn it through hard work and dedication.
Get married: A cultural pattern within the black community during the last half of the 20th century was for black girls to have one or many babies with one or multiple fathers because welfare provided the necessities with few questions asked. While this was not limited to the black population, the black sub-culture was the clear leader in out-of-wedlock births. This was not an exception, but the rule. In one school in Georgia two children in the same grade with identical birthdays were born in the same hospital from two different mothers and the same reported father. Getting married within the black community appeared to be the last straw, rather than any part of a cultural value.
Barack and Michelle have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams as African Americans who wished to get ahead. They followed the above few rules, and Michelle, possibly for the second time in her adult life, can be proud of her country. She can demonstrate that at least for four more years in the public spotlight.
What a great example as role models for any minority couple. May their lead be emulated by their brothers and sisters for the good of the country.