Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Getting along together is trcky

A friend of mine felt down because a person of another ethnic group had achieved so much more in life.  It was clear that being born into that group brings many stresses and obstacles, often subtle slights and cuts that the inexperienced wouldn't notice or read as the negative wishes and actions that they are.  Over time, this friend seems to have forgiven personal self-failure to attain high position when others with more burdens did so.

As my group of learners in retirement plans its set of presentations and trips for the coming fall, we find here in the US and during the last days of Black History Month, plenty of reference to human origins, ancestors, physical appearance and related subjects.  Our current political situation emphasizes group contrasts, often in a disrespectful and harmful way.

Last night, I watched TED talks by Prof. Brittney Cooper, Miriam Zolla Perez and Dr. Dena Simmons, each informative and moving. All are available on the TED Talks website.  I ordered "Dreams from my Father" by Barack Obama and I have "Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Cooper emphasizes the fact that things in the US for people who are not white are often painful, dangerous and slow, slow, slow to improve:

Let me loop back to the past quickly to give you an example. If you think about the Civil Rights Movement and the cries of its leaders for "Freedom Now," they were challenging the slow pace of white social inclusion. By 1965, the year the Voting Rights Act was passed, there had been a full 100 years between the end of the Civil War and the conferral of voting rights on African-American communities. Despite the urgency of a war, it still took a full 100 years for actual social inclusion to occur.

Since 2012, conservative state legislatures across the US have ramped up attempts to roll back African-American voting rights by passing restrictive voter ID laws and curtailing early voting opportunities. This past July, a federal court struck down North Carolina's voter ID law saying it "... targeted African-Americans with surgical precision."

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