On MLK Day 2010

With today being Martin Luther King Day, I find it appropriate to set aside my Monday entertainment feature to reminder others of something of greater importance. While new watchers will see various clips featuring Dr. King, I decided to repost one of my favorite reports from 2009. May it serve as a reminder of how far we have come, but more importantly, how far we still have to go on the journey for a better tomorrow. May Dr. King’s dream become a reality.

On a similar note, I started reading Tim Valentine’s post sometime ago. Not only has he taught me a lot, he makes me think – so I invite you to not only read his MLK Day post, but visit him every day.

On Racism in the News

racecoverThink about how “race” has been a headline the past 10 days. Yep, race, that label humans attach to other humans because how one looks.

We have our first African-American president, who actually is biracial; whom many voted for or against because of race. We have a distinguished professor of Black culture at a prestigious university making calls of racism against an officer who also trains peers against racial profiling.

We have a presidential news conference with President Obama making a mistake when answering a question. As fellow blogger Tim Valentine explained to me, the president answered as a Black man and not as a president. Yes, Tim, thanks for helping me understand.

We have a Latina nominated to the highest court amidst charges of racism in judicial ruling, yet none have been cited. We have a senator voting against her because of potentially biased judgment, yet he was denied a spot on the Federal court because of his racial views.

We have a Fox News Commentator calling President Obama a racist. We have countless of viewpoints on race from columnists and bloggers. We have CNN airing a news documentary, Black in America 2 (which I watched), and the first promotion of their fall news documentary Latino in America.

We have a Boston policeman accused of making inflammatory, racist remarks; yet who knows have many other incidents across the USA and around the world that were racist and didn’t produce a major headline.

Change in racial attitude requires 4 key steps: education, reflection, admittance, and reconciliation. Put another way, we have to learn to increase our awareness, examine our personal beliefs, admit our short comings, and actively seek to change what we do.

I think of a recent interview I saw when a person said they had just boarded an airplane and then noticed both pilots were Black. Yes, he initially wondered about whether or not they could fly the plane, BUT he caught himself. Besides admitting to himself that the thoughts were ludicrous, he also publically talked about his thoughts being wrong.

Pope John Paul II going to the prison to forgive his shooter is remarkable forgiveness. In terms of race, I recall the meeting between Elwin Wilson and Rep John Lewis (D-Ga).

Earlier in the year I posted about my trip to the Understanding Race exhibit that toured through Cincinnati. It was a great learning experience. The exhibit is currently in Philadelphia (Franklin Institute) through 9/7/09 before opening a several month stay in Los Angeles (California Science Center) in late September. If you get a chance, go to learn about yourself. FYI: The exhibit’s online site is also a great resource and includes a virtual tour.

We’ve come so far in the past 50 years, but the journey still has a long way to go. I sincerely wish that race was irrelevant – unfortunately it isn’t – but maybe that day of irrelevance will come in the future. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wonder what will happen first, racial irrelevance or the fall of the new Rome … personally I hope for racial irrelevance.

Additional Information

Image courtesy of the American Anthropological Association

On Bummed

Readers who have been here before will probably not a different tone, so I admit … I’m bummed.

There’s a lot of bad news these days. Not that the media used to be cheerful, but the nature of difficult times is applied each day. I can’t recall ever feeling this disturbed about the big picture. Yes, I’m bummed.

This isn’t about a political party; not about an ideology or a theology; not about a race or a philosophy – yet it’s all reality.

I see the world in a difficult economic crisis, but I don’t see the world even trying to work together for its own common good.

I see this country in a difficult economic period, but I don’t see sincere attempts to help its self, let alone within a worldly role.

I see a country that once led the world by being the leading lender, now being deeply indebted to others.

I see this country needing leadership, especially legislative – yet in a time of need, partisan gamesmanship gets the highest priority.

I see new president who is young, articulate, bright, and with potential to rally the people; but one who has already been sucked into and dumped on by both sides of the aisle.

I see a financial market suffering, and the retirement of many shrinking; yet now wonder if our retirement will ever come.

I see selfishness as the first and only, which doesn’t bode well for us.

I see a people needing help and to the need to help each other, yet concentrating on a pointless blame game while shedding responsibility.

I see a human species with an unbridled ability to learn, yet knowing so little about itself – thus the battles between the ignorant and the stupid.

I see many people expending energy of hate in many forms, thus causing me to lose hope in the nature of human goodness that I used to think would prevail.

I see life as we knew it quickly vanishing, yet wondering when the next shoe will fall.

I hear myself wondering – does anyone really care? Not about me, but about all this.

Yes, I’m bummed.

On Understanding Race

racecoverRace: Are We so Different? is a travelling exhibit developed by the American Anthropological Association. Thankfully, Cincinnati is a location on the tour.


I visited during the first week with both anticipation and eagerness. The closing of the first film set the stage by challenging visitors to think and reflect one’s own views. For an exhibit that isn’t physically large, my two-hour engagement caused me to reflect for days.


The exhibit, divided into 3 sections (historical, biological, and currently) allows visitors to determine their own order. Interestingly, and to my surprise, race wasn’t defined; yet it is clear that race is complex, shaped by choices and stereotypes, and misconceptions besides determining who we are and how we interact with one another.


Random Notes

  • The exhibit has a wonderful Web site.
  • This video hit me hard. The YouTube video below is a news report about the filmmaker, while the link is to the exhibit’s video.
  • I didn’t finish the exhibit, but plan to return … and hopefully engage in discussions with other visitors.
  • I didn’t consider myself a racist, but this exhibit helped me see how most of us really are.
  • Philadelphia and Los Angeles are the next tour stops for 2009; here’s the entire tour schedule.  


Image courtesy of the American Anthropological Association and video courtesy of YouTube.