Friday, March 21, 2008

Can't We Just Talk?


Writing in today's Los Angeles Times, Carl Byker agrees with Senator Barack Obama that it is time for white and black Americans to enter into dialogue about race relationships "...in ways that will bridge the divide."

He invites white Americans to ask themselves what it would have felt like "...to work 365 days a year from sunrise to midnight, with no hope of a better life" - and to know that his/her children were condemned to live out "the same nightmare". He urges black Americans to ask themselves: "If I were a white Southerner before the Civil War, would I have owned slaves if it meant a better life for my family" - and to wonder if a decision to do so automatically made him/her an "evil" person.?

I heartily support Byker's concluding sentence: "After years of making historical documentaries, I'm convinced that the most important thing about coming to grips with our past is that it enables us to figure out who we want to be in the future."

Last Tuesday night, in his "More Perfect Union" speech, Obama modeled for each of us what speaking honestly and openly from one's heart looks like. What if each of us were to ponder and answer for ourselves, the questions Byker puts before us? What if, having done our inner "homework", we then began to share our thoughts and feelings about race with members of our families and with our friends? What if local churches, synagogues, mosques, and other groups within our neighborhoods and communities were to offer rooms and facilitators where small groups of citizens of all colors and beliefs could sit down together and dialogue about their "homework"?

Could we, would we, dare to talk together "...in ways that will bridge the divide"? Could we, would we, be willing to dialogue with one another in ways that are respectful of our very different racial and experiential histories? Could we, would we, seek to understand each other, rather than to judge, label, and condemn each other? Could we, would we, have the courage to "Seize the Day"? Imagine the possibilities if we decided that we could and we would...!

8 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

Nice post, Em.

Regarding identity politics: Tivo-ing the News Hour, I just heard Margaret Warner reporting from Kenya. She said she had visited the burg where Obama's father was born, and which Obama had visited (pop. 600). She said the people were immensely proud of Obama. They had no soccer team to root for. So, when Obama was speaking they all grouped around the TV's and cheered for him. But the really weird thing, Warner said, was that a majority of the women there, over forty, were rooting for Hillary. I thought that was GR8!

3/21/2008 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

The world is watching, holding it's breath praying we'll do the right thing for once. God I hop we don't disappoint them.

3/22/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

Digression. Vig, were you in the market for a poodle, perhaps?

3/22/2008 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Utah Savage said...

Very funny Stella! I've never met the vigilante and from his posts and comments on mine and others, I just can't picture it. According to Madmike, what is a poodle owner in the political doggie race?

3/22/2008 08:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Bug-Eye said...

I need to get an Obama bumper-sticker. Where do I go?

3/23/2008 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger MadMike said...

A poodle is a Democrat Utah! Vigil, however, is a Doberman lover. I am trying to convince him to convert to German shepherds. They are the true Obamacans!!! BTW Vigil good pic of the horses. You have your equines and I have my canines:-)

3/24/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Equines are Emily's, Mike. Dobies are mine.

3/24/2008 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Boris said...

Speaking of dogs, it's been said that Hillary Clinton is the Tonya Harding of American politics. She even brings her own bodyguard when she comes to the party.

3/25/2008 08:35:00 PM  

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