Sunday, July 25, 2010

Shirley Sherrod: Let's All Quit!

I am sure that you have heard about the firing of USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, based on remarks she made at an NAACP event. Some blogger, who has made quite a name for himself, posted on YouTube portions of Ms Sherrod's speech about her struggle to help white farmers when she considered how Black farmers had historically been treated. Upshot is that Ms. Sherrod was asked to resign without so much as a hearing; only to find out that the clip was edited and posted out of context.

My response to this set of events is the same as my response to all similar ones: RACISM is as AMERICAN as CAPITALISM. And you can not talk about one without evoking the other.I wonder what will be the financial gains for the blogger. Yes, it's always at work--present blogger included.

Anyway, Ms Sherrod's actions/emotions towards the white farmers was an American of African descent's knee-jerk response in at least two ways: 1)She possesses a Black American collective consciousness based on historical and personal experiences in America; and 2) Rooted in that
consciousness is an African-informed mindset that is spiritually based that was also born out the survival necessities of her African ancestors. The latter would not allow her to Other even the descendants of an Oppressor. Similarly, with her sense of justice and perhaps her spiritual consciousness, she was compelled to share with the group how the problem was not it appeared. And experienced a sense of personal growth and enlightenment, an experience her audience probably shared.

I agree with her sentiments in that the problem is not as it appeared. For Ms Sherrod, it was not race but class--about haves and have-nots. For
me it's not ONLY about race and captial; it is about honesty. Until American gets honest--as did Ms Sherrod, She will always be apologizing for something.
I am so sick of the superficial apologies for which no one is really sorry. Except in this case--the White House official that fired her were
acting out of the usual American hypocrisy-- another knee-jerk racist response. I'm referring to is our infamous penitent non-apologetic apologies. Can we just stop with the insincerity. For me, it's like asking a child to apologize when they sincerely and wholeheartedly intended to kick the adult
that pissed them off.

What we need to do is acknowledge the pervasiveness of our racism and TALK PEOPLE. As hopeful as I am, I get the sense that we'd rather "go on pretending and living a lie" (a la Gladys Knight) than to be honest about the poverty of our race relationships.

BUT, if we are not going to take this doctor's advice then we should all
resign--just quit. My looming fear is that we already have, which is why we continue to apologize for things we are not at all sorry about.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Watch BET College Hill May 19

10 PM Eastern. I will be the therapist for the housemates. I believe all of the co-eds are of African descent, but the diversity between them gets in the way of their harmonious living. Check out my approach to the group's problems. Let me know what you think. You might need me to work with your difficult group. Does not matter what kind of group it is.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Diversity the new Inclusion

Diversity refers to difference--any kind of difference. it bring to our attention the obvious and it poses a question. Inclusion, however, offers the answer--what we need to do about difference. We know all too well what is wrong and how we have mismanaged difference. Now, with inclusion, we find ourselves mending our relationships. We, with the wisdom of the past, know that we need to invite others to the table. That's it, inclusion connotes invitation. So now with a new consciousness of difference, we invite everyone to the decision-making process. We now know that we are truly an ecosystem where what affect one affects us all. Don't know what took us so long to figure that one out, but I'm glad we did. The other way of dealing with difference was not only costly, but exhausting. Distrust wears on you health. Now, that we are aware of what to do about our differences--be inclusive--we can be about the business of building a cohesive community.
I like the word inclusive because it's active, it tells you what to do, very simple. It even implies a sentiment
of the value of those once thought as 'other." I like this new word. Besides, "diversity" had lost its value.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This is still America

Come On Guys,

We know that "change has come to America," but we also know that change is gradual. So we have to bear with ages of bigotry both within us and our neighbors "just a lil' while longer." NO, I'm not saying we should ignore the chimp comic strip, but I am saying that we need to continue to create the world we want by standing up to ourselves. This simply means that each one of us has a job to do when it comes to the ignorance like that exhibited by the NY paper. I know we have to stand against such blatant racism, but after we stage our protest, let's keep the protest going by contributing to the well-being of our communities. Making our world better , more inclusive will sustain the change we want. I believe our President would want us to find ways to create community. I believe he's saying "I'm going to be fine. Y'all just need to find ways to re-build our country in the community where you live." In other words, take that protest energy and serve some worthy cause.

Oh, how about this?

If we want the news paper to pay for their wrongdoing, then why not demand that they do community service in an under-served school? Now, that is true restitution. Perhaps, the company could purchase new computers, pay for after school snacks, or pay salary for extra teaching assistants. Because we can pressure owners in to making a real apology, but we can't make them mean it. But if they contribute in some meaningful way to some needy group, they will be doing some good. For an apology would be an empty formality--and we've had enough of those to last another hundred years.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Race? Naw, It's All Made Up

Biologically, there is only one race--the human race. So, when will begin to use language that represents our reality? I move that every informed person begin, now, using new language. Instead of saying "race" when referring to different kinds of people, say ethnic group or cultural group, which is where the difference lies. The difference in not in our essences, as we are but one people. One People. So, I challenge those of you who agree that the idea of "race" has been divisive to join me. And invite your friends to do the same. One person at a time we can change things. Change your language and change the world!

If you agree that there is only one "race" sign my petition

1. Debra Harris Nixon, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Inclusion:" The New Diversity

I like the word diversity, but some people
cant' get over the idea that it means
Black and White. Whatever. So let's talk
inclusion. Inclusion is more inclusive, I guess
; at least it sounds that way. You think of
everyone: tall, short, attractive, not so, old,
young, educated, un, skinny, not so. Well
you get my meaning. Now that we've upgraded
the word, what will you do to upgrade your
inclusive behavior. The word does not change
me in any significant ways. I still have to
consider how I may be excluding those
who is not like me. The heart of the
matter does not change for me; I will
still do occasional self-checks to make sure
that I am including those who exclude me--
that I am honoring and respecting their
ideas even when I flatly disagree. So,
no matter what its called, I have so much
work to do on myself, so far to go before I
get there. What about you? How's your

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Movement Part 2

Back in the late 50's early 60's a Civil Rights Movement swept the country. Great leaders like MLK, Rosa Parks and a host of other committed civil rights/human rights activists invited our country to look at its diversity practices. Of course, they didn't call it that then, but the rights of women, Blacks, and the poor were championed in a way that we had not seen before or since. I believe they were on to something, but they knew that even in the midst of protest a different kind of change had to come before the dream would concretize. This very spirited, and yes, spiritual contingent knew that lasting change has to begin within. When I was in primary school we sang a song, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." Knowing what I know now, I'd say, "let it begin in me." The world we want, the peace we pray for will not come without minds changing or actions changing, and not necessarily in that order. From where I sit, we will have to change our actions and then give our hearts time to catch up. There was a lot of political action in the day, but I wonder how much heart action took place. I further believe that when we change our actions-do something different—it is a sign that our hearts have (simultaneously) changed. I believe we all want a more peaceful world.

I believe that Black people would rather live prosperous lives than retell and relive the stories of pain, suffering, and struggle forever. I believe White people would much rather be comfortable around their Black colleagues than the wonder if they have said something stupid, insensitive, or racist. But none of this will happen until we change our actions. The movement part 2, to my mind, is the answer. This is it. We are about to ignite a qualitative shift in the way we do human relations IN OUR TIME. Stay tuned.