This post is in response to a Slashdot post on the election of Barack Obama.
The fact is that there is still a very real discriminatory element in our society toward under-priveleged races. There are certainly many cases in which black people are demonstrably on equal footing with the more priveleged social groups, but it is also demonstrable that blacks continue to be underserved because of their skin color, in a significant number of cases to make it a problem.
I don't think the people saying they're finally on equal ground really believe there will be no longer a bias against them, nor did they not work toward the highest pursuits in our society before Obama was elected.
I think what they really mean, the right way to interpret their claim to be finally on 'equal ground', is that there is now proof that the consensus of the country is that it can accept blacks into any position in the country. This consensus existed for some time before Obama was elected, but we don't know how long. But we know that before a certain time, the consensus was that a black person could never be president of the USA.
In the end, it's a question of power. The black race began in the US at the bottom echelon of society, and were treated as such. Now, to have someone of that race at the very top echelon of our society, in the most powerful position in the entire world. One could see it as the final desegregation.
It means they have representatives working from the very top end of our society, advocating for them, even subconsciously, and the subconsciouses of people in our country will slowly change, seeing a black person as their leader. It will no longer be out of the question, and from now on, no position of power will be as biased against blacks because of the question as to whether or not blacks are capable or should be trusted with such power. Now people will become more comfortable with a black people having power over them.
To sum up, this election is both a proof of something that's been true for some time, and also an impetus for a shift in our society, though both have been and will be rather subtle.