First of all, I don’t think that Barack Obama sees himself as black or white, but as an American with diverse roots. Though important, his main message is not one of integration of minorities in a discriminatory society, but of change and renovation, whatever the colour of the people bringing it. Our Obama, a European Obama is not an Arab, an African or whatever person from a minority, to prove ourselves how good we are, how progressive and open our societies are becoming. No. Our Obama is a person representing the ideals that the real one represents for millions of people around the world: democracy, equality and the power of the individual. I don’t care about the colour or gender of this person, I care about the change in the pursuit of these dreams that we need in Europe. We, Europeans, are arrogant, conservative and highly discriminatory, socially and racially. We think that because we once ruled the world, we have better societies, better political institutions and better cultures than the rest of the world. But we don’t realise how our education systems, our economies, our societies are clinging to the past, and how we are not willing to change for building a better future; instead we prefer to blame others for our failures.
We need a European dream. We need to renew Europe by recognizing the errors we made in the past as part of our legacy (racism, colonialism, exploitation, violence and war…), by reaffirming our common values and ideals as the foundations of our societies, and by building our unity in diversity. This is the European dream.
Alejandro Ribo-Labastida, DPhil student, Oxford Internet Institute