It's that time of the year again where elections and feelings are running high. Either you're a die hard Obama fan or loving you some Romney; either way when it comes to the election and these spectacular debates the one thing that resonates with everyone is truth. As in who's the truth?? According to the last presidential debate Romney seemed to be himself in which some critics have characterized his performance as the "true" Romney. Obama on the other hand was viewed as tired, inexperienced and docile to Romney, which forms the questions was this the true Obama?
For many African Americans I think we know this wasn't the true Obama, however, his actions were very truthful to how some of us act when we're in professional debatable scenarios with white colleagues. Yes I know race isn't everything but to us African Americans and Latinos our interactions with the white race will ALWAYS be about race and how our positions are displayed. For example if I'm in a meeting and I oppose an initiative I'm viewed as aggressive, my white counterpart is viewed as passionate. If I ask too many questions I'm dumb and not on target, my white counterpart is inquisitive and insightful. If I appear confident when my boss or colleague is addressing me then I'm arrogant; my white counterpart is assured and is deemed with leadership qualities. Get the picture!
As I looked at Obama's demeanor during the debate it was as if he was afraid to be himself. It was almost as if he were more concerned that his appearance did not offend Romney, because such offense might be mistaken as a disrespectful badgerer. It was obvious that his performance was lackluster and just plain ole terrible! But I wonder was it really that bad or is it really bad that we have to act a certain way in order for us not to be misjudged, and if so when are we able to show our true selves?
Recently while being interviewed I noticed that I was very uncomfortable with my speech, demeanor and overall conversation. When I left the interview and got in my car I played my mixed CD of Biggie, Blackstar, Tribe Called Quest, DMX and Nas. I felt relieved that I was done but more importantly I felt like ME! The sad part of assimilation for African Americans is we really can't be ourselves and if we can't then how in the world do we pretend to be happy when we have to act for at least 8-10 hours a day and I mean some serious Oscar winning performances. This revelation made me realize that within certain circumstances like interviewing I have to be me! No I will not issue a response like "Gurl, I'm saying....", but I and like many others have to find that median where we're not selling out to be sold out and remain true to ourselves. First and foremost many of us are innately intelligent whether its academic or common sense, we need to understand that assimilation shouldn't mean dimming our light so others can shine. Would this mean my chances of success are slimmed, maybe it is, but I do know it may also mean that my happiness and inner truth will be happy as all hell! Maybe if President Obama can find his median and display his truth perhaps he will have a successful debate! Let's keep our fingers crossed that President Obama can set the standard of display that if we oppose you it doesn't mean we're Nat Turner and about to revolutionize, for God's sake all we want is to be able to be our TRUE selves!