Listening to excerpts of Obama's speech and participating in a diversity-themed lunch at work has really made me think about race. It's not as if race isn't something that I think about on a regular basis, but gender is something that I'm more frequently confronted with (just getting ready in the morning reminds me of my gender).

Like many African Americans, I wasn't shocked by Rev. Wright's words. They were something that I've heard before and that I acknowledge and accept as a part of the sentiment shared by many individuals in the African American community. I can't wholly share the views because unlike my mother and grandmother, I haven't been regularly discriminated against, called profane words, or belittled to non-existence. Yet, I am a part of that history and a mere generation from the way American was (and in many ways, just under the surface, still is).

I grew up in the SE suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. I won't got into Atlanta's history but it will suffice to say that Atlanta has a history of de jure and de facto segregation. To remedy this and help equalize educational opportunities for children living on the North (White) and South (Black) side of the county, my county instituted a voluntary integration/busing program. It wasn't without its critics and it has since ended, but it was one of the most influential experiences of my life. As you can imagine, this program created racial conflicts and I can still remember discussions with classmates on their right to revere and bear the Confederate flag vs. Malcolm X-MLK for reasons of "familial/ethnic pride" on their hats, t-shirts and car bumpers. So back then, I was reminded of my race more than I was reminded of my gender. In fact, I was often forced to be the "token" tasked with challenging all the stereotypes about my people. Confounding all that, I was a n oreo. But I don't want to go into that here.

My experiences aren't unique. Yet, I wanted to share them to underscore how silly it is to not acknowledge that race is still a significant part of America's history and many American's daily existence. I think it's naive to think that all the wounds have been healed. I know that through each generation's strides for equality and integration, some of the fissures and wounds can be healed. But it will take a while before things are idyllic.

So, when Rev. Wright speaks, I stand with him in acknowledgement of the past and when Obama speaks, I stand with him in acknowledgement of what we all hope for our future.

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