Light of the Future/Rays of Hope, a mural of Barack Obama in Bushwick, Brooklyn
From In These Times:
For this is the way the new power lies: Those who once dwelled at the margins of the Commonwealth have appropriated the language of their colonial masters and used it with great degree of articulation as they inch toward the center, crossing all kinds of demarcations, dispelling the old myth. If Crusoe contends that he still is the lead actor, Friday is far from being content to playing subservient and sidekick any longer.
That old superior-inferior fiction is further supplanted and eroded by the way history flows. Major cities have become highly diverse, and demographer point to the inevitable: by the year of 2050 whites will become a minority, just like the rest.
It was Defoe’s conceit in his novel—published in 1719 and considered by many as the first novel written in English—that the “savage” can only be redeemed by assimilation into Crusoe’s culture and religion. It was beyond his power of imagination, however, to see how much Friday, in time, could radically change Crusoe, and that the world of Crusoe’s is forever altered for having absorbed Friday.
But on November 4, 2008, Friday spoke up loud and clear and eloquently, and declared himself an equal. And his voice is reaffirmed on November 6, 2012. He tells us to dare to dream big, for change has already come and the world forever changed. He tells us to dare to dream big, even this once considered impossible dream: Son of Africa becomes the new patriarch of America.
The old curse ends. Some internalized threshold for previously subjugated people is breached. A child of any race in America now has a fighting chance. Those dwelling at the margins can see a path toward the center, crossing all kinds of demarcations. He knows now it’s within his powers to articulate and reshape his new world, regardless the color of his skin, and to have the audacity to play central character of the script of his own making.