For years and in many different situations I have heard appeals to Justice Harlan’s one-person dissent in the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision of 1896, in which he articulated the idea that the Constitution, and therefore the law of the land is “color blind.” Continue reading
In the early 70’s a Black, male friend exiled from South Africa, spoke angrily with me about his impatience for change; he wanted change YESTERDAY!
In the early 70’s a Black man from South Africa spoke with me about the need for patience. Continue reading
I am an angry man!
I am an angry white man!
I yearn for another, earlier day in my years!
I pledge to work for a return to the good old days! Continue reading
Recently I was talking about racism with some people in a corporate setting, and was pleased by a spirited discussion and many comments which affirmed that my contribution had been helpful. In the midst of the verbal evaluation and many accolades, Continue reading
For a Christmas gift a son and his wife sent me a book which has quickly become a treasure. Speak Now Against the Day by John Egerton bears a subtitle: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South. It is the story of men and women of the South who spoke and worked against the development of segregation as a way of life which they knew to be destroying both the South and the idea of equality. Continue reading
He was a young man of Italian descent, a student in my class at Boston College. The class is gathered around the topic: The History and Development of Racism, and features a great deal of discussion between students as we look together at the broad sweep of racism in our history. Sal had been a vigorous discussant in that group, and it is clear from his level of participation that a lot was churning in his head and heart. So I was not surprised when he requested a chance to talk about his most recent paper. Continue reading
There have been numerous occasions in my work on issues related to racism when I have seen creativity stifled by someone who says, “but,” “but,” “but.”…. It usually comes in response to a suggestion about what a person or group might do programmatically to counter the effects of racism. Continue reading
In the waning years of the twentieth century it is time to recognize the significance of the Civil Rights Movement as a major contribution to democracy. It was Vincent Harding whom I first heard say that the Civil Rights Movement was about democracy. Continue reading
Proliferation is an appropriate word to describe what is happening in many sectors of society under the heading of “managing diversity.” Most weeks bring to my desk a new announcement about another group that is offering to do “diversity training.” Continue reading
Having come to the reluctant acceptance of the permanence of racism and the simultaneous liberation that acceptance has brought to my involvement in the struggle against racism,  I have been asked often to indicate the reasons which lead me to the assumption of “permanence.” Sometimes the questioner seems rooted in stubborn resistance, sometimes in puzzled inquiry, sometimes in defiant incredulity. The question begs both my mind and my heart for an answer. Continue reading