America is ready for a Black President

You hear it repeated often. “America is not ready for a black president.” Other times you hear that he is not “black” enough. If one were to draw a conclusion from the talk of doubters, it would be that since Barack Obama is not black and America is not ready for a black President, then Obama has a good chance of being elected President of the United States in November 2008.

If not now, then when? When will America be ready for a black President? As black presidential candidates go, Barack Obama is the most qualified, highly educated and respected African-American to have made a run for the white house. Senator Joe Biden tried to make that point a few months ago, but unfortunately ended up with a bad case of the “foot in mouth” disease. The fact is Obama has a very good chance of winning the Democratic Party’s nomination not because he is black, but because of his message of change, his impressive credentials and his charismatic cross-over appeal. Being black would only make his victory so much sweeter and secure his spot in history as the first African-American President.

No offence to Reverend Jessie Jackson or Reverend Al Sharpton, whose symbolic attempts at the White House a few years ago served as inspiration to many but realistically never had a chance from the get go. Their efforts were not in vain, but served as a source of motivation to youngsters, including Senator Obama, to seriously consider the possibility of an African-American one day holding the office of President of the United States.

Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell had an opportunity to do what Senator Obama is doing now – be the first African-American to make a serious credible run for the White House. In 1995 the retired General was leading every candidate in every poll and by every indication would have easily captured his party’s nomination had he decided to run.

At the time, his autobiography ‘My American Journey’ was a national best-seller and he was one of the most admired Americans, a leader whose prestige transcended party and ideology. Many skeptics said then that America was not ready for a Black President.

When John F. Kennedy made his run for the White House in 1960 many were of the opinion that America was not ready for a Roman Catholic President of Irish decent. The American voting public proved them wrong then. Will Americans elect a black president and rewrite history in 2008? Time will tell.

Today it is not unusual to find African-Americans leading in just about every imaginable field of endeavor. From the boardroom of International financial corporations, the stage of entertainment, the fields of sport, the Arts and Politics, African-Americans have held top positions – not as tokens to conform to equal employment opportunity regulations – but because of their ability and accomplishments.

The White House is no exception, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown are just a few African-Americans who have held top positions in White House administrations. So why wouldn’t America be ready for a Black President, especially one as qualified as Senator Barack Obama?

Eddy Edwards is host of Caribbean Riddims aired on WTPS 1080 am every Saturday 3-6 pm in South Florida. Visit his website at

Eddy Edwards is host of Caribbean Riddims aired on WTPS 1080 am every Saturday 3-6 pm in South Florida. Visit his website at