Finishing The Agenda of Civil Rights

Given the overt and implied racism of the recent onslaught of tweets and accusations from Trump and his devotees and given the ones that are still to come, we can no longer remain silent. We must stand up for our own diversity. I shun politics in these pieces, but this is not about politics, it is about values. We have it seems, made the next election a referendum on Trump.  But in this case it is not nor should it be about him. It is about the values he represents, values that have vibrated with many who felt overrun by people of color and by the presence of religions other than Christianity.  This is not about ideologies, it is not about the rationalizations some may give, it is not about the arguments the more articulate on each side come up with. It is about finishing the agenda of the civil rights movements. It is about racism and immigration.  It is about all those, who are not yet able to put an individual’s humanity ahead of color, religion, sexual orientation or country of origin. It is about what does and will make us into better human beings, what will help us grow, reach out, serve others as individuals and as a nation. Those who seek entry into the US illegally seek conditions other than poverty or death. Is seeking survival or increasing your safety really a choice? It’s not a question of open borders. There are alternatives. But it is a moral question. To those who are so critical of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants, I say, what kind of a choice is it when you have no choice but to leave all that you know?  I am an immigrant. I know what leaving everything behind feels like. Way back all those years ago that is why people like our family sought to immigrate to the US. Then the US stood for the kind of country that helped people, the kind of country that was inclusive and accepting of diversity (even if at times reluctantly), the kind of country one wanted to be part of. Those are values worth standing up for and our voices must be loud and clear. By whatever means we choose, whatever means are available, let us march, write letters, speak to friends as well as foes, protest peacefully, post useful information, repost important thoughts… Even more important let us vote and make sure everyone we know does as well—because we can no longer remain silent. We must stand up for our own diversity.

Welfare Benefits and Racism

People on the left such as NYT columnist and economist Paul Krugman have long held the view that white Americans resented minorities at least in part because they felt that they received more government benefits than whites did.  A new study now shows him and others right. Having been conducted by academics however, the phrasing of the findings is put in more cautious language. Robb Willer professor of sociology and social psychology at Stanford and Rachel Wetts of UC Berkeley call this the welfare backlash. They explain that as minorities make up an increasing Continue reading “Welfare Benefits and Racism”

Using The Word Dark and Racism

I was driving listening to well known, well liked, remarkably able Larry Mantle on KPCC doing a segment on suicide where people called in and some professionals spoke. One of the professionals from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, a respected center, kept using the word dark when speaking about the place most people with suicidal ideation find themselves in. Then Larry Mantle in summarizing what she Continue reading “Using The Word Dark and Racism”

War Babies and Bi-Racial Children

After the Viet Nam war there were countless children fathered by American GIs, children who belonged nowhere because they were only half Asians, children the US did not particularly want. That was not a new phenomenon.  It has happened in every war, and the racism that accompanies these occurrences is far from new. Still when I read a recent BBC Magazine article about the children of black WWII GIs in the UK, I was struck anew with compassion on the one hand as well as with anger on the other. There were 100,000 black GIs in the UK during WWII, obviously and inevitably inviting love affairs. US law however made it difficult for GIs to marry and for black GIs race complicated the issue even further.  Inter-racial marriages were illegal and miscegenation laws were on the Continue reading “War Babies and Bi-Racial Children”