Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"I Don't Get It"

Walking into the Apparel Center today, there were hundreds of people, nearly all of them Black, waiting in line throughout the day at the Sun-Times store to buy copies of last Wednesday's Chicago Sun-Times (the one that Oprah walked around stage with on her show) that had simply a picture of President-Elect Barack Obama and the words "Mr. President" on the front cover.  

In addition, they were buying copies of the special commemorative section that accompanied Sunday's paper, as well as assorted large, full-color photos of the new president and first family. I believe these photos and front pages are going to be the equivalent of the pictures of JFK that every Irish Catholic family in the United States (as well as some in Ireland) seemed to have hanging in their homes in the 1960s (and beyond).  It is also something that no matter how happy we are that he is going to be our next president, that no matter how progressive we are, no white person can grasp the entire meaning and importance of the election of Barack Obama as president.

After seeing a line with dozens of people, nearly all Black, waiting to buy their copies of last Wednesday's paper, I got on the elevator to go up to work. Also on the elevator were two white guys, in their mid-20s to early-30s, in their "office casual" garb, Blackberry in one hand, Starbucks or Jamba Juice in the other. I caught only the tail-end of their conversation, but it was clear they were commenting on the phenomenon of people buying up copies of last week's post-election paper, since one said, "They're just going to yellow, and disintegrate," then the other agreed, saying, "Yeah, I don't get it."

You're right buddy, you don't get it.

(Post Script: I got off at the 9th floor and these guys were headed to 10, which is where the executive and sales offices of the Sun-Times are. Shit, I'll bet these goofs don't even buy the paper. Yet they can turn up their noses at those who this edition really means something to. One more sign how and why our industry is dying.)

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