Wednesday, July 2, 2008

FGC: Taking it personally

I went to hear Reverend James Lawson the other night. The Reverend talked extensively about his work in the Civil Rights movement. He has had many amazing experience, some of which he shared

He talked for well over an hour and a half I thought of leaving, but felt like I owed him that much, to listen to him. So I did. The problem was that he energized the crowd, at first. Then he kept talking and the energy in the crowd sagged.

A big point he made repeatedly was that racism was still very much alive, even in the North. This was not news to me, sadly.

What bothered me that when he would tell his stories of ongoing racism to the 99.5% white crowd, he kept saying not to “take it personllay”, as if he didn’t want to offend. This, too me, made his talk very hollow. I think we all neeed totak it personally. Not to sit around and wallow in “white guilt” but to look at our own racism and take steps to make a difference.


Suzy said...

The other evening, we went to hear the comedian Will Durst speak at Escape Java Joint. He made what I thought was an interesting distinction between things being racist and being racial. Not everything that is racial is racist. I don't deny that there is racism -- individual and institutional -- or that as a person who grew up privileged and white, I have vestiges of racism in my thoughts or actions. There was a lot of institutional racism among early American Quakers, even the abolitionists that set the stage for that 99.5% white audience.

I try to be aware as my starting point when I'm dealing with my students and their families.

When I get angry that Barack Obama is not the candidate I'd like him to be, I try to put myself in the shoes of a black person and think how very exciting his candidacy is.

I don't know where I'm going with this thought. I am a bit tired of being beaten about the head with the concept of racism -- Quakers are good at that. And ... I'll stop now because I can't think how to end this comment.

Peace, Friend. Have a good drive back home.

Suzy said...

There should be a comma after "abolitionists" in my previous comment.

poodledoc said...

That is interesting what you share about racist vs racial. As for Barack, I do try to put myself in the shoes of a black person and realize the excitement for them. But then I realize that I'm very exxcited my self. In my own little size 10 shoes. No candidate will ever be the "perfect" candidate. I've given up on that. But I have hopes for Obama. Of course, maybe it's like my hopes that the Cubs will win the World Series. Continuing diappointment. We shall see.