Now that we have elected the first African-American President, there are a few things black Americans must be willing to do:
(1) We cannot get angry or upset every time President Obama is criticized:
It is inevitable that President Obama will make some mistakes and miscalculate some decisions. His timing will be off, he will loose site of his goals and everything he campaigned on might not get done in 4 years. In other words, he will eventually get criticized. We have a strong, robust and opinionated free press. They have never given anyone a free pass and they aren't about to loose their tough reputation now. Allow him to be criticized, face tough challenges, win some victories and loose some battles. Just don't cry racism if they kick 'em while he's down once in awhile.
(2) We must be willing to hold him accountable as our Commander-in-Chief:
Even though he goes into office with an 83% approval rating, we must be willing to hold him accountable as our Commander-in-Chief and ensure that he lives up to our expectations and puts forth many of the initiatives he campaigned on. We cannot let him slide, simply because we may feel a special "kinship" or "connection" to him. He might be "Barry from the block" to you, but his official title is President Obama. While we revel in his amazing success, we must hold him accountable while he is in office.
(3) We cannot expect him to publicly live out our self-appointed definition of a Black Man who is President:
In other words, don't get upset if you don't see President Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama hanging out at Ben's Chilli Bowl every Saturday, or having jazz parties on the front lawn every summer. And don't grab your jersey yet, you may not get invited to the basketball game in the West Wing (and no it will not be televised on BET). Let's allow them to live their own lives as President & First Lady without holding them hostage to our cultural ideologies. I know this will be a challenge, we've never seen a black President before, so this is new & exciting! But there is also official protocol and a country to run.
(4) We cannot expect him to end racism and give out reparations:
Barack Obama has a mission, which he has specifically outlined for the American people. That mission is to end the war in Irag, defend our presence in Afganistan, tackle the rising cost of healthcare, stimulate the economy by creating more jobs, invest in our environment and create a greener economy. No where on the list does it say ending racism and promoting black nationalism. Now what we can do, is pledge, along with President Obama and his Administration, to be better Americans by better serving ourselves, our families and our underserved communities.
(5) We must be willing to accept that he is a President for the people, elected by the people: Although he is a historic candidate, black Americans do not have a monopoly on his presidency. He must be allowed to govern equally and fairly for all Americans. This, I hope, can happen without black militants coming out of the woodwork to suppress his presidency and condemn it for not spearheading a "march on whites" or fight the power rally.