Tag Archives: people of color


If free people of color in New England had anticipated enacting their freedom as an entitlement, under the same terms as whites enacted theirs, they soon learned that whites’ understanding of antislavery and Revolu­tionary rhetoric was quite different from their own. As whites’ eighteen­th-century observation that servitude made slaves servile hardened into their nineteenth-century conviction that all people of color were inher­ently servile ¾ freed slaves perhaps, but free people, never ¾ people of color struggled to adapt their expectations of citizenship to the grim truth of mounting hostility, ridicule, and escalating efforts to control and even eliminate their presence.

Joanne Pope Melish, Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and Race in New England, 1780-1860 Continue reading

The Danger of Becoming a WANNABUT

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

Self-Interest for White Anti-Racists

Recently in a class I teach at Boston College, I observed a young African American woman speak firmly and eloquently about her anger in the face of racism; in that context she challenged white students to be angry also. One of the women asked, “What should I do, as a white?” The answer was quick: Continue reading

Racism: Negative Effects on Whites

Over the years I have often heard talk about how racism has impacted white people. Usually that discussion comes in the context of an assumption that, if whites can see that racism has negative effects on them as a group, that realization will motivate action to eliminate racism.

I do not share that assumption; racism is a far more powerful and recalcitrant force than this assumption acknowledges, clinging stubbornly wherever it is lodged. Continue reading

An Open Letter to White Males October 1991

During a panel at a recent conference I heard an African American woman direct an important question. She directed it specifically to white males, and that is what prompted me to think about some response. Since she is a person for whom I have great affection, I am also eager to respond. Continue reading

Assumptions (Convictions) About Racism in United States of America

Recently a friend who was writing a doctoral dissertation about racism, asked me to share some of my major assumptions about racism, how it functions, and how to work to eliminate it. Continue reading

The “New” Racism ???????

Every once in a while I read about a phenomenon which is described as the “new” racism. That sends my thoughts racing, trying to figure out what is “new” about the action being described. Soon my thoughts go in two contrary directions: one direction tells me that there is no such thing as a “new” racism, and the other acknowledges that maybe there is. Continue reading

Multicultural/Diversity Emphases …Not Enough!!!!!

Many places I turn today I see, hear, and read about an emphasis on multicultural studies, intercultural relationships, and managing diversity. Both my head and my files bulge with the concepts those words represent. Most of what I have heard about, read, and seen has been good; I applaud those who engage multicultural and diversity issues as major foci for the emerging century.

BUT …multicultural/diversity emphases are not enough! Continue reading