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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Selling Obama, Buying Change

With low sales driving hundreds of retail stores to close, it seems that the only thing that is selling right now is Obama. From Obama t-shirts, mugs, coasters, bumper stickers, to bobble heads and even shoes, people are buying into anything Obama right now. Obama Mania, as it has been aptly called, has spawned a new age of political fanatics. A man who personifies a multiracial background and a global life experience (he also lived in Indonesia when his mother remarried) has appealed to the international masses. The question now is, will Obama be able to sell his face to promote cultural diversity?

Obama’s campaign opened a greater media dialogue about race. His speech at the Democratic National Convention earned him legions of fans when he exhibited great understanding of the complexity of racism as he addressed the racist remarks of his former minister. His election as the first black president of the United States of America is considered by many as the achievement Martin Luther King’s dream. But others argue that this is just the beginning of the dream and that there is still a lot of work to be done. “Barack Obama is an American idea whose time has come,” Clarence Jones, civil rights activist, explains in Time Magazine. How this idea will translate into concrete plans and into action is yet to be revealed. But people are hoping and people are talking.

Can we do something about the racism that still exists today?

“Yes, we can.”

Obama’s optimistic tagline communicates a belief in the American people’s ability to change, and his election as president seems to signify that people want to do just that. But changing our perceptions and understanding about racism, discrimination, and cultural diversity requires a deeper introspection of our individual biases and prejudices. It will take more than just buying an Obama t-shirt to identify with the ideals and values that Obama stands for. In a capitalist commercial society where nothing seems to surpass the realm of monetary exchange, it is a new idea that cannot be easily marketed. With a war in Iraq, a financial meltdown, and climate change, it seems to be a challenge that Obama will not have enough time or energy to completely address.

Whether or not Obama actively endorses cultural diversity or tackles the issues of racism and discrimination here in the US is yet to be seen, but the fact that he is the president of the most powerful country in the world, certainly stimulates changes in society. As Obama Mania stretches across the globe, we can hope that the US loses its mark as the international bully and becomes an international leader once again. After all, it is about time that Martin Luther King’s dream becomes part of the great “American Dream.” And while eliminating racism in this country may not exactly be part of the Obama “Change” package that got him into office, we can always hope that it will happen eventually. Just as his electoral success was unprecedented, a harmonious multiracial America may just be around the corner. If there is one absolute thing that Obama sold in his campaign for presidency, it is hope. And we can all hope and work that this country will embody freedom and personal liberty for all men regardless of skin color. As all men are essentially created equal. Now, that’s an idea worth promoting.