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Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

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The Legal Corner: Post-Racial My Foot

November 5, 2008

As I write this article on Election Day morning, most polls are pointing toward a Barack Obama victory in the presidential election. (Note to reader: If John McCain somehow upsets Obama, insert the word “almost” where appropriate.) Certainly this is an historic occasion. An African American elected to the presidency. Many in the country, even many of my conservative friends who voted for McCain, are heartened by the fact that our country has broken through a racial barrier that has plagued much of our country’s history. The euphoria is so high that many commentators contend that we have now entered into a post-racial society.

What nonsense. While the United States more than any other country judges individuals based on merit, asserting that we are now living in a post-racial country is simply naive. To illustrate that we have not nearly moved beyond race, one need simply look at the federal and states laws in our country. The federal government outlaws discrimination based on race and views a crime committed against someone because of his or her race as an additional crime to the act committed (a hate crime). Many states, including New Hampshire, have similar laws. Even with the election of Barack Obama, I do not suspect that these race-based laws will vanish.

Moreover, if we were a post-racial society, we would not be celebrating the election of our first African American President, but celebrating the election of an intelligent, inspirational leader. If we were post-racial, we would focus on Obama’s fascinating American story. If we were post-racial, we would not even view Barack Obama as an African American. Like most Americans, Barack Obama comes from a mixed ethnic background. His father was born in Kenya and his mother was born in Kansas. Admittedly, given our country\'s history, electing a person with any African ancestry is a major event. But we will not become a post-racial society until we no longer view Barack Obama as African American, but simply as an American. (Far left liberals are just as guilty, if not more so, as far right conservatives of injecting race into issues.)

That being said, regardless of political affiliation, we should celebrate the election of Barack Obama as a major step toward a post-racial society. One hundred and fifty years ago, slavery was not only legal in many states, but an integral part of the economy in the south. Fast forward to present and a man, whose father was born in Africa, is on the verge of attaining our nation’s highest office.

This election is a watershed moment in the movement toward a post-racial society where individuals will be judged not on their color, religion, or sex, but based solely on their ability. It took almost one hundred and fifty years between the end of slavery and the election of a man of partial African descent to the presidency. Hopefully, the United States can move beyond race toward a pure meritocracy before another one hundred and fifty years has passed.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay