“ What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our society than with the language we use to justify it. In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans.”
Our country is at a crossroads. We have a choice to make. Greater wealth for a few or opportunity for many. Tax breaks for the richest or a fair shot for the rest of us. A government that can be bought by the highest bidder, or a democracy that is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people.
“We are the children of Martin and Malcolm. Black, white, brown, yellow. Our birthright is to be creators of history. Our right, our duty is to shape the world with a new dream… We have to begin to thinking of ourselves, we are the ones who are going to shape the world with a new dream. The old American Dream was based so much on exploitation of the earth and of other peoples. So our revolution can’t be the way that we thought of revolution to acquire more things; our revolution has to be one that grows our souls.”
This is the 26th official celebration of the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember the struggle to establish the holiday and wonder what Dr. King himself might think of what it has become.
The following post is reblogged from Seth’s Blog. We hope that it will enrich your life and much as it has ours.
The pain of a lousy boss, of careless mistakes, of insufficient credit. The pain of instability, of bullying, of inadequate tools. The pain of poor cash flow, corrosive feedback and work that isn’t worthy of you.
We’ve been having a good conversation at IISC about ways to challenge and re-frame race discourse in ways that are truthful, loving, compelling, welcoming and so much more. Last week, I posted a video from Jay Smooth about shifting from a discussion about “being” to a discussion about “doing.” Let’s keep the conversation going.
The following post is from Founding Board Chair, Thomas J. Rice. It is a little longer than we post, however, we hope that you will find it is rich in content and helps continue to challenge the way we think about various systems and movements.
Historian James Truslow Adams defined the American Dream when he coined the term at the depths of the Great Depression. What we seek is “a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone.” If there’s one thing we could all agree on, we have lost our way in this quest. And there’s no GPS to find our True North, or the way home.
Enter the Occupy Movement, a spontaneous cri de coeur from a millennial generation that feels betrayed and abandoned by the people and institutions they believed in. No American Dream for them. Their prospects are bleak, in no way better or richer or fuller than their parents. In spite of great effort and expense to move up and out, the millenniums are back in the nest, in serious debt from college loans and working at some menial or dead end job with no health benefits.
Video blogger and hip-hop radio host Jay Smooth makes an eloquent case for understanding that being good does not require us to be perfect, and that learning to live with our imperfections is a way forward in contemporary race discourse. I’d share a few of his comments, hoping this will inspire you to find the time to listen to the whole talk.
“Are you saying that I am racist? How can you say that. I am a good person! Why would you say I am a racist?”
And you try to respond “I’m talking about a particular thing you said.”
“No, I am not a racist.”
And what started out as a “what you said” conversation turns into a “what you are conversation,” which is a dead end that produces nothing but mutual frustration and you never end up seeing eye to eye or finding any common ground…
I’ve thought a lot about how either/or thinking reinforces hierarchies of oppression. As Tema Okun recounts in The Emperor Has no Clothes, “Inherent in western culture is the very act of defining ‘us’ in ways that claim superiority over an opposite and increasingly threatening ‘them.’”