Pluralism and Racism

A genuine concern for a culturally pluralistic society is emerging. Numerous commentators on social trends have written asserting that white ethnic groups will increasingly claim and affirm their heritage. School systems are beginning to adopt Evaluation Guidelines for Multiracial, Multicultural Education, and teachers are developing supplementary units stressing an appreciation of diversity. The “melting pot” theory is dead. Continue reading

On Being Color Blind in 1980

I felt as if I had stepped into a time machine and been thrust backward at least twenty years! It was early morning, in late July 1980, and I was walking across the Boston public gardens when a black woman friend greeted me, and pushed a local paper into my hands. “How do you respond to this?” Continue reading

To Friends at the YWCA

[Editor’s note: In 1970, the YWCA of the USA adopted as its “One Imperative” the elimination of racism “wherever it exists” and “by any means necessary.” Community Change was present when the Imperative was adopted and later trained national staff and board members. Each local YWCA was charged with implementing the Imperative in its work. To some individuals, however, the phrase “by any means necessary” seemed to go too far. Did the YWCA leadership really mean that members should participate in any activity opposed to racism-including violence? The following essay is a response to those concerns.] Continue reading


“Oh! Incidentally …” You’ve heard that or said something like it many times. You may have been talking with someone and the conversation suddenly called to your mind another concern about which you had forgotten. You mention it, while you are thinking of it … “Oh, incidentally … that reminds me … I just remembered …” Continue reading

Guilt, Shame, and Responsibility

Recently I saw an old article written by a white man who had gone through an experience in which he had found relief from the sense of guilt he felt because of racism. For him relief from guilt came from a direct experience in which a black person forgave him. Continue reading

A Context for Understanding the Current Attack on Affirmative Action

We have heard a number of calls in recent months to rethink and to redefine Affirmative Action. They have come from a variety of sources, including editorial writers, political leaders, government agency heads, professors, economists, and corporate executives. Whites and people of color, men and women have joined a small but vocal chorus. Continue reading

A Higher Education About Racism

In recent years I have talked with people from over thirty colleges, mostly in the New England area. These people include students, administrators, and faculty whose points of view in regard to racism differ considerably. From what I have experienced, seen, or heard about, here I will share anecdotal data which will illustrate some of the forms racism takes in those college settings. Continue reading