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Anorak | Africa’s First Family: Obama Wins New York World Series

Africa’s First Family: Obama Wins New York World Series

by | 16th, November 2008
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THE euphoria over the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America may have died down, but there remains a feeling – on the street, in people’s homes, in cafes and bars – that this momentous event is still percolating through society and will continue to do so for months, probably years, to come.

I live in a predominantly black neighborhood in Brooklyn, on the border of Crown Heights, where a race riot erupted in 1991, and Prospect Heights, a small, rapidly-gentrifying area where just a couple of generations ago few whites would consider living.

Today, black, white, gay, straight, Jew and gentile co-exist as well as any group of people living on top of each other can. Obama’s election did little to change the geniality that characterizes daily life in many of Brooklyn’s vibrant, multiethnic communities. But it certainly changed the way I, as a white, Jewish, British immigrant, perceive, and feel glad for, my black neighbours.

On November 4 and 5, the joy over Obama’s election could be heard in the shouts and car horns echoing down our block, seen in the newspaper and magazine headlines that trumpeted a historic victory the next day, and sensed in the unusually good mood that seemed to envelop most New Yorkers for the rest of the week. It was as though the Yankees had won the World Series and the entire city was a fan.

A couple of weeks on, and that sense of victory can still be felt, whether it be a celebratory toast at a party or a snippet of conversation overheard in the street. New Yorkers have a much greater tendency to talk to each other than Londoners. And travelling home on the 2 subway train the other day, I overheard a Hispanic girl complement a black female passenger who was wearing a large pin with a picture of the Obamas above the slogan “Africa’s First Family.” Her compliment was a simple as “I like your pin.” Yet it implied “I’m with you, too.”



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