Yes we did! Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. And to the Black Community for Representing.

It’s a done deal!

When it became clear last night that John McCain had lost both Pennsylvania and Ohio, it was all over but the shouting. Barack Obama wound up winning in an electoral college landslide.

The black community deserves some credit for this, in two ways.

First, it’s clear that the black vote was enormous. A combination of a huge black turnout, plus a near unanimous vote for Obama-it looks like as many as 95% of African Americans voted for him-smoothed the way for his victory. (This makes me wonder-why did we have to wait for a black man to run for president, before we turned-out in these numbers? If we had done this in 2000 or 2004, maybe Bush wouldn’t have been elected or re-elected. But that’s a discussion for another day.)

A black woman at a liquor store made a Red Foxx/Richard Pryor “old school” kind of joke that there were so many black people on line to vote, they could have filmed three or four Tarzan movies. Yeah, it’s not PC, but I thought it was funny. Please forgive me for any offense.

But to get serious and back to the point, there is a second reason why the black community was so key to this election. It’s because you represented.

Back in the spring, I was talking with a friend about Obama’s chances of winning the election. I said I was fearful that white Americans might not be willing to vote for a black man for president.

He replied, “I’ll tell you why white people will vote for Barack Obama. It’s because they know you and they know me.”

And I got it. So many of us, myself included, underestimate the impact that we as as competent, articulate, professional, honest, decent, and hard-working black people have on the whites we interact with, in the workplace or other settings.

When white people see Obama, they’re not necessarily associating him with some sorry stereotypical image of black Americans.

They are also associating him with you and with me.

And the good will that we’ve created, in turn, created a reservoir of good will among white voters that Barack Obama was able to tap into, in an apparently successful manner.

So, I want to thank YOU for representing the race, and for making this historic win possible. You deserve those thanks.

Now go ahead and have a good cry.

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