Thursday, January 22, 2015

 

Political Mayhem Thursday: Let's NOT talk about race?


In a comment to my piece on Tuesday advocating talk about race, Anonymous2 disagreed, saying:

See blog, first page of today's Waco Tribune-Herald, re BU BB fan.

The picture speaks a thousand words.

Some subjects are not always and everywhere fit subjects for oral conversation. Can't imagine my black neighbors and I profiting by verbalizing on the subject of race in general terms, and no need to on a personal level. Basketball, chinch bugs, irregular postal delivery, and concerns about health, bereavement, the neighborhood association and Neighborhood Watch have real world relevance and are more in our line.

"Hey Rico, how do you feel about race relations in Waco?" I don't think so.

You can see the Waco Trib story referred to here, and the photo is above.

What do you think of Anonymous2's response?  For what it is worth, the city of Waco is roughly 1/3 white, 1/3 black, and 1/3 hispanic, and Anonymous2's thoughts weren't a surprise to me based on the 10 years I lived there.


Comments:
I would love to talk about race. As a matter of fact, I have studied race in American for most of my life. First as a very young person who was intensely curious about and admiring of American subcultures that had fought through adversity to succeed and contribute (thinking about the Irish in America and Italians and Jews and Catholics and, of course, African Americans to merely name a few). Then as an adult I have studied race professionally--and, through it all, thought about race incessantly.

One thing I am certain: there are many more people of good will of all races and subcultures in America than there are malefactors. That is the key to a future in which we create a "society at peace with itself and a society that can live with its conscience."

On the other hand, most of the people who insist they want to talk about race, generally, have an agenda that lacks nuance (see any cable news network "discussion of race" for proof of that assertion).

Moreover, talking race honestly and with layers has become super dangerous in our culture.

As a result, while I am still dying to talk about race, and sometimes wake up and say "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, I am going to jump in to this conversation," in the end, I am more reticent to talk race in a public forum than I have ever been in my life.

I will continue to struggle with my obligations to share what I know, what I think, what I think I know, and what I think I ought to think. And I will also weigh that duty as a citizen, neighbor, and quasi-community leader against the slings and arrows of an outrageous and unfortunate public snake pit on race.

But one thing of which I am certain: there are many more people of good will of all races and subcultures in America than there are malefactors. That is the key to a future in which we create a "society at peace with itself and a society that can live with its conscience."
 
WF-- thanks for a great post.
 
"black neighbors and I"

C'mon Anonymous 2., you know better than that.
 
Thank You Anonymous2, AWF and Mark for touching on this topic once again. Falling asleep with Anonymous2’s comments politely scolding me as I struggled to remain awake Tuesday night promised a more nuanced response the next morning. The next morning came swiftly, though Wednesday and Thursday were not mine, as the days quickly got away from me, and who better to respond to my ‘promise unkept’ than both of you. . .

My ‘rose colored view’ and ‘Pollyanna’ disposition have afforded me many an opportunity to recognize and draw ‘others different’ together through design, on project sites and in the marketplace. In those settings we are temporarily all a captive audience of each other – at the end of the day, often not so as we return to our neighborhoods and communities, where we ‘are’ often absent from interaction no matter the homogeneity or diversity of place.

AWF is correct, many are “reticent to talk race in a public forum. . .” for good reason. If diversity of race can occasionally be joined together in common cause when all are temporarily a ‘captive audience’ – who must lead to begin leveling the economic playing field and rebuilding the middle class – those with ‘means’ or those needing to educate / train themselves for tomorrow’s opportunities? As all have aspirations, dreams and wants, all also appear to have been offered a role. . .

Today more than ever, being societally ‘absent’ may portend a continued journey down a path few ever imagined. . .
 
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