1) Conservatism really is a racket.
Whatever comes of it from here on out for the larger country, Obama has redefined blackness for white America, has served notice that wherever we are, we are. What he is positing is blackness as a valid ethnic identity with its own particular folkways and yet still existing within the broader American continuum. Already a wave of black politicos–Deval Patrick, Corey Booker, Jesse Jackson Jr.–have raised a similar banner, and there is nothing “postracial,” “postblack” or “transcendental” about it. (By the way, does anyone call Joe Lieberman “post-Jewish-American” or Mel Martinez “post-Cuban-American”?) Indeed, it is a deeper black, the mark of a less defensive, more self-assured African-American leadership. Our forebears, God bless them, held blackness like an albatross, which they sought to affix around the neck of white America. But this generation, Obama’s generation, holds blackness like a garland, sure in the knowledge that the only neck it belongs around is our own.