There is a little known legend regarding former San Francisco 49er wide receiver Jerry Rice. It takes place at the start of the second or third year in his career. He had just come off a pretty good statistical season, working his way into becoming considered an elite wideout. Walking through the tunnel and out to his home field in California, he notices one lone fan, sitting there staring at him. The two lock eyes, and the man says, “You gotta prove it to me Jerry, you gotta prove it to me.” Yeah, it’s good enough score a few touchdowns, and make a few highlights, but Jerry Rice would have to do that for more than just one season to gain true respect. Rice took those words and buried it somewhere in the back of him mind, fueling an already maniacal desire to be the best and becoming the unquestioned best player at his position in NFL history.

I’m feeling like that guy in the stands right about now.

That’s not to say I don’t respect the man. He’s the President of the United States of America, that’s kind of a big deal. He beat one of the strongest families in politics to get the democratic nomination, then a former POW, in a nation where war seems like a good idea for a video game. But, he still has to prove it to me. He has to prove to me the hype machine that changed American politics for a few months and turned Jim Crow over in his grave really has some substance to it. Winning the election was a major victory, but it did not win the war.

That’s not to say I’m going to make it hard for him, as it stands some news outlets are waiting for him to wear white after labor day and use that as an excuse to call him a dirty commie. As the days go by he is going to realize that he’s got a weight on his back that makes Atlas wonder, “what bet did he loose?” And if that wasn’t enough, he has the hopes and dreams of an entire ethnic group riding on his success. It’s on thing to be a mom supporting her son at a soccer game; it’s another to go “if you loose, the whole family looses.” And that may just be the case for him.

I’m not that kind of guy. In fact I don’t see very much happening in these four years, and that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking to see a president who will make mistakes, but then own up to them, learn from them and not make them again. I’m looking for a president that doesn’t call himself humble, just lives a life that makes other people give him the label. I don’t expect sweeping changes. I don’t expect to turn on CNN to see crusty old white men thrown out of the Washington with a shoe print on their back that says “OBAMA”.

He has to prove to me that he is willing to try. Prove to me that he will not bend to the pressure of being president and become a gibbering idiot that spews generic statements when the hard questions are asked. I’m not one to pay attention to politics or business, numbers and percentages don’t meant much to me, and they shouldn’t to you either, since any set of numbers can tell whatever story the story teller wishes to tell.

He has to prove to me he can change the face of Washington. Prove to me that he can do things different, yes getting young people to vote is a big step, but someone would have done it, hell we had a Bush in office that cared nothing for trees, black people, or oil prices. He did so poor a job that a black man, two white women, and a guy prone to flashbacks walked into the room and the good old boys club said, “would you hurry up and get him outta here please?”

He has to prove to me that when he leaves office we have a new set of expectations for our leader. Intelligence is a must, but so is a real understanding of our nation. Prove to me that you can prove to them that gaining an education and a hefty paycheck does not mean you lost your humanity. That if anything will help make it ok for African Americans in the ghetto to try and better themselves. Prove that an awkwardly skinny black kid can do more than wear awkwardly skinny jeans that don’t come high enough. Prove to me that you can change to perception of people who think a black person with a fancy car got it because he can run fast. And if you succeed in that, (and here is the hard part) prove that people can do that, and not look like you. Face it, if you are an African American, and walk into a world where not many other African Americans inhabit, they expect you to react like some character or T.V. personality or Al Sharpton. Change that perception. I don’t have to be 135lbs and 6ft 2in tall to be a presidential candidate, though that probably makes it easier to buy the suits. I can be ME and find success, without selling my soul, without fitting into a cookie cutter figure of what smart and black looks like.

Those are my expectations.

I’m waiting.