It's Urgent That We Stand UpSeptember 23, 2009 4 Comments
There have been constant questions in the press over the last few weeks about whether much of what’s happening in the US these days is about race.
- Here’s a recent article from the New York Times in which Bob Herbert calls it.
- And another from Newsweek by Raina Kelley.
- And a great blog by Damali Ayo
And so I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I read in graduate school by people like Ervin Staub about the critical role that can be played in situations of impending violence (and even genocide) by those who see clearly what’s going, stand up, call it by name and loudly and persistently demand that it must stop – the critical role played by what Staub calls “active bystanders.”
Not that this hasn’t been needed for generations, but the situation is incredibly urgent these days. The rampant and violent racism in the US calls for all of us to stand up and insist that it stop. Many of us see it clearly – and we need to be calling our Congresspeople, contacting the media (old and new) and talking to everyone we know to call things as they are and say, “Stop!”
And to any who don’t see it, we all need to be talking (REALLY talking), opening ourselves to explore the possibility that race is at the bottom of a lot of what’s going on – and explore it with each other. It is high time for deep conversations about race in the US. It’s not surprising that we’re at this moment. It IS, though, time to take it up! We all (especially those of us who are white) have a role to play! Every day we AREN’T actively engaged in the conversation, it’s getting worse. And we’re letting this moment of potential change slide away.
It is an extremely dangerous moment. Racism is being whipped up tremendously in the health care conversations, discussions of immigration, reactions to the President and the so-called czars and so much more. We need to step in and call it as it is – call for a stop to it. But is that enough? What else can we do? What ideas do you have?