I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we’re a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen -- man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino, Asian, immigrant, Native American, gay, straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability. Everybody matters.I used that quote yesterday when I talked about President Obama's message that "Everybody Matters." But there's something else I'd like to mention today.
President Barack Obama, State of the Union, January 20, 2015
A few years ago I began to notice how often Native Americans are included when people list the racial/ethnic groups in this country. Let me simply report that it is a rare phenomenon. I can't even imagine what it's like to have to deal with the genocide/oppression Native Americans have suffered over the last few centuries. But to watch as - over and over again - your very existence goes unacknowledged is truly beyond the pale.
President Obama not only acknowledged the existence of Native Americans, he is the first one I've seen who took it to a whole new level. Let's break down the pairings he introduced.
- man and woman
- young and old
- black and white, Latino, Asian
- immigrant, Native American
- gay, straight
- Americans with mental illness or physical disability
Some might simply write this off as political correctness. But I think it represents the deep respect President Obama has demonstrated for both the gifts and challenges of this land's First Nations People.