The announcement that Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize has produced a variety of positive and negative reactions; but there is agreement that at this stage, the award remains largely a promissary message of encouragement that positive things will happen, rather than major accomplishments achieved.
However, one undeniably positive effect of Obama’s election has been on the white-black divide. I was in the US shortly after the election result and the elation on the faces of African-Americans and their sense of standing tall was evident, and important for the country. This elation was also seen among US whites, as well as people throughout the world.
Although some racism no doubt persists in the US, it is pernicious to blame the recent and increasing criticism of Obama on racism. Instead the criticism seems focused on major anxieties over where Obama is leading America with his internal and foreign policies. As opposed to the more centrist policies of Bill Clinton, Obama’s more leftward leanings are proving more polarising.
Nonetheless, it would certainly be great if something positive would come from the Peace Prize award to Obama. So let’s hark back to the initial excitement of the “hope” and “yes, we can” days, with my favourite Obama election video from Dirk Powell, family and friends here.