On Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 83

On an Upcoming Post
I only occasionally post on weekends. Since tomorrow deserves a special post, I hope you stop by this Saturday or Sunday.

On Palin Moments
Soon after the Arizona shootings, some pundits were quick to point to Sarah Palin and he heated rhetoric as the cause – and to that fact, she should have (and did) speak to those unfounded accusations. Let us keep in mind that defending herself does not protect her from saying something bad, stupid, or wrong.

Regarding Sarah Palin, I appreciated this op-ed by conservative columnist Ross Douthat (New York Times), which happens to be loaded with good quotes. As the media continues to treat her as the one we can’t get enough her, let us not forget that she is a nincompoop.

On a Few Political Shorts

  • This USA Today article regarding President Obama’s first two years is worthwhile.
  • GOP leadership’s decision to decline an invitation to the State dinner for China’s President Hu was not a good decision. Cheers to Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) for accepting the invitation. Boo to Harry Reid for his comments and absence.
  • The GOP repeal of health care has crossed the first hurdle, which is fine as long as it ensures coverage for more people at a lower cost to the government.
  • Occasionally the Fairness Doctrine comes into discussions, especially around talk radio. Emma wrote this informative post about the doctrine, which also includes some history and some personal commentary.

On an Impacting Exhibit
While celebrated Martin Luther King Day this past Monday, reflecting on my own thoughts and behaviors kindled memories of a wonderful traveling exhibit I attended called Understanding Race, which I wrote about in 2009. Good news is that the exhibit schedule goes into 2013 with 2011 stops in Boston, Charlotte, Washington, New Orleans, and Santa Barbara.

On Connecting NFL Coaches
UC also has interesting ties to the NFL playoffs. Going into last weekend, head coaches of 3 of the 4 remaining AFC teams were UC assistants. With John Harbaugh’s Raven’s loss, Rex Ryan (Jets) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers) will battle this weekend to see which former UC assistant makes it to the Super Bowl.

On the Movies

  • True Grit is worth seeing. Jeff Bridges is great as Rooster Cogburn, but for me, youngster Hailee Steineld carried the movie.
  • Anne Hathaway, announced as the next Catwoman in Batman, is an intriguing thought to imagine.
  • Yet-to-be-released (1 April 2011) Source Code created interest in this trailer.

Have a safe weekend and hope you stop by for the special post.

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 Baseball and Civil Rights

This weekend Major League Baseball (MLB) will celebrate Civil Rights. Whether it be Saturday’s game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds or various events held beyond Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark over two days, the weekend is designed to celebrate racial equality.

The highlighted event is a luncheon to honor MLB Beacon Awards to Hank Aaron (Beacon of Life), Muhammad Ali (Beacon of Change), and Bill Cosby (Beacon of Hope). Whether national figures as President Clinton, famous Cincinnati athletes, local and national distinguished figures, or simply the people attending to honor and learn, events will look at both the journey taken to date and the journey ahead.

In light of electing a president who happens to be black, there are other events in the shadows this celebration. We have a prominent South Carolina conservative joking about a gorilla escaped from a zoo: “I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors – probably harmless.” – And then delivering this lame apology, “I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.”

We have racist comments from other notable individuals concerning a Supreme Court nominee – one being the same radio talk show host who promoted and aired Barack the Magic Negro, a song written by a conservative speaker and intentionally distributed by a prominent political leader. Not to mention numerous daily encounters that may or may not make the news.

Whether it be White on Black, Black on White, Christian on Muslim, Muslim on Jew, Catholic on Protestant, Indian or Pakistani, or countless others – whether it be obvious, subtle, in jest, or based on stereotypes and/or misconceptions, individual people need to take it upon themselves to look at their own behavior, as well as their responses when observing such behavior in others.

Let us hope that this weekend’s events in Cincinnati will remind everyone that we are all humans and all deserving the same respect and dignity. Since we humans essential invented the classification of people by race, it is also up to us to do its dismantling.

This is said of Bill Cosby.

He has challenged people to do better. He’s been a very courageous person and has not allowed his fame and his prominence to interfere with his ability to be candid when it comes to assessing conditions and calling on people to step up to the plate.
Retired U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Nathaniel Jones

Personally, I related these words to Tim Valentine – a fellow citizen and fellow blogger whom I regularly read to learn, thus invite others to read him. Personally, the Understanding Race exhibit that touched me earlier this year in this post. Personally, I’m trying to get better. Are you?

Resources

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.