Still on firsts

8/8/2014, 4:38 p.m.
Why are we still, in 2014, celebrating "firsts"?

When will it cease to be a salient leading fact that a black person, highly qualified to fill a position, has their newsworthy story cast as a “first”?

In other words, why are we still, in 2014, celebrating “firsts”?

This week, for example, Washington, D.C., trial attorney Michele Roberts broke into a males-only club when she was named executive director of the NBA players union.

Ms. Roberts, who is African-American, will be the first woman to lead a major U.S. sports union — a remarkable achievement.

Players who dumped their past executive director for questionable business practices chose her in large part because of her reputation for integrity.

Separately this summer, Michelle Howard became the first woman to reach the rank of four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy. An admired military trailblazer, she became the first African-American woman to command a ship in 1999.

Meanwhile, Kendrick “ICE” McDonald is bringing diversity to the world of magic.

A professional magician for 30 years, he just became the first African-American to serve as president of the Society of American Magicians in the group’s 112-year history.

Sam Cooke once sang, “A change is gonna come.” He just didn’t mention how long some of the change would take.