Thursday, February 19, 2009

On Black History Month

I'm no one to disagree with Morgan Freeman, but I do. The YouTube clip is short. And it is sort of fun to see Mike Wallace flummoxed. [:55]

When asked "how do we get rid of racism?" Freeman says "Stop talking about it!"

No -- that's not how it works. We reduce racism when we raise our consciousness about how systems of racial power infect every aspect of our lives. Black History Month may be trite, tacky, and irritating to Black People. Maybe White Supremacy History Month would be preferable.

I was delighted to see that Eric Holder, Obama's Attorney General agrees. Here's what he said to an audience of Justice Department employees.

[He] urged employees yesterday to take advantage of Black History Month to begin a dialogue about race, labeling the United States a "nation of cowards" for not discussing the country's checkered history openly. ...

Holder told employees that the level of social interaction among people of different races is "bleak" and that it in many ways does not "differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago."

Demographic changes that within decades will result in no single racial majority only underscore the need for openness and, in some cases, confrontation on issues that separate people, Holder said.

He added: "If we are to make progress in this area, we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about racial matters that continue to divide us."

Washington Post
February 19, 2009

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