Ruby Slippers and Race In America

In Ruby Slippers and Race In America
Phillipe Copeland provides some insightful commentary on the reactions to Senator Obama\’s recent speech on race in America. Quoting a New York Times editorial entitled \”Let’s Not, and Say We Did\”, Phillipe points out some of the problems with the editorial\’s logic.

First the author, like many people believes that \”racial progress\” is measured by personal attitudes rather than structural equality. Essentially if people of different races like each other more than they used to then things must be better. … Of course the problem of race has never been just in our heads, it\’s reflected in policies and practices that perpetuate the privilege of some and the deprivation of others based on race and ethnicity (among other things).

He also points out a false dichotomy (one of the more popular logical fallacies these days):

Another problem is that the author creates a false dichotomy between \”sober, results-oriented debates about economics, social mobility, education, family policy and the like — focused especially on how to help those who are struggling\” and \”race talk\”. I would love to have the kind of debate that he is describing, but that should include the issue of racial/ethnic inequality and what our nation intends to do to correct it.

He wraps up with a quote from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá about the necessity of action:

\”What profit is there in agreeing that universal friendship is good, and talking of the solidarity of the human race as a grand ideal? Unless these thoughts are translated into the world of action, they are useless. The wrong in the world continues to exist just because people talk only of their ideals, and do not strive to put them into practice. If actions took the place of words, the world\’s misery would very soon be changed into comfort. My hope for you is that you will ever avoid tyranny and oppression; that you will work without ceasing till justice reigns in every land, that you will keep your hearts pure and your hands free from unrighteousness. This is what the near approach to God requires from you, and this is what I expect of you.\”
(Abdu\’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 16)

And man-o-man, that action part is the hardest… It takes doing more than just going through my day the same old way.

in Charlottesville, Va

Jeff Lavezzo