Sunday 01 March 2009

From Segregation To Inauguration: Race In Politics

In January 2009, the world witnessed the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American to become the President of the United States of America. The event attracted unprecedented international (including Canada’s) attention and renewed the political interest among the nation’s citizens. The transition in power signaled a new era in American politics that had long been divided by race since the time of slavery started during early colonial periods. Yet, it was not until 1954 that the United States fully abolished the practice of de jure racial segregation between whites and blacks (as well as other ethnic minorities). Despite the historical significance, Obama was not the first political world leader to rise to power in an ethnically diverse nation. In 1994, Nelson Mandela became the first black President of South Africa and effectively ended the longstanding apartheid system dividing whites and blacks living in the country. As a Canadian and a Chinese myself, I am proud of the multicultural representation that currently exists among our political leaders, though this representation is admittedly far from perfect. Indeed, I long to see the day when race will no longer matter in how a country’s citizens choose their political leaders, so that the government they elect will truly serve for the betterment of all of its people, regardless of the colors of their skins.

By Philip Jong • At 12:01 AM • Under Column • Under Life • Under World
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