Race Dialogue Should Be Less About Conflict, More About Peace

Friday, May 18, 2012

quilt, race relations, Patchwork quilt (Sherri Lynn Wood/flickr)

Celeste Headlee, co-host of The Takeaway, speaks at the National Race Amity Conference in Boston today. Richard Thomas, professor emeritus of history at Michigan State University is also talking at the conference. He’s the creator of the race relations concept, "The Other Tradition," which focuses on the efforts of those who, during times of racial conflict, have worked across racial lines to promote friendship and peace.

William Smith is the founding executive director of the National Center for Race Amity, based at Wheelock College in Boston, and is the organizer of the annual National Race Amity Conference. Thomas and Smith discuss their work, and a book they’re currently collaborating on called, "Race Amity and the Other Tradition: A Primer for Promoting Race Relations in America."

Guests:

William H Smith and Richard W Thomas

Produced by:

Elizabeth Ross

Comments [4]

Oh yeah, and when was the GOP about equality? Abraham Lincoln was not pro-civil rights, he was a very wavering anti-slavery man. If Lincoln had his way, all the former slaves would have been sent back to Africa.

May. 18 2012 12:45 PM

@Listener: First, this is not academia. Second, if you were a member of academia, you would know that the subject of race and the Democratic party are constantly discussed. Thirdly, this discussion had nothing to do with Political Parties, it was a discussion of The Civil Rights movement and the inclusion of non-African American supporters.

And lastly, the Civil Rights movement was the era when the Democratic Party threw down the gauntlet at segregation and segregationists ran to the GOP...cause theirs is the party of inclusion!

For the second time today, I've had to beat back your uninformed rhetoric.

May. 18 2012 12:43 PM
listener

Why does the history of the Democratic Party and racism remain a taboo in academia?

Why does discussion of the founding abolitionist principles of the Republican Party and the demands of the Radical Republicans for absolute racial equality in the United States and against the demands of racial oppression by the Democratic Party ignored in academia?

Are historians in the business of an honest exploration of the past or do they simply tell a modern audience what they want to hear to perpetuate their political prejudices?

If the national character can be challenged than why cannot a political party that influenced the direction of that nation be challenged?

May. 18 2012 11:07 AM

We live in a racialized world, one in which perspectives have been created by a history of stereotypes and subjugation. The two primary movements to deal with this, stemming from the middle of the last century, were the Civil Rights movement and the Black Nationalist movement.

The latter failed for many reasons, not the least of which being that it rejected the help of white people. The cause had a noble goal, but was doomed to failure since it rejected the historically privileged race. I don't deny the ability of minorities to help themselves, I only acknowledge the immensity of the deck stacked against them and its overwhelming paleness.

The Civil Rights movement; however, did not fail. It continues to succeed, partly because it included whites. Some feel this movement survived due to it's palatability to Whites over Black Nationalism. The truth is that involving the oppressor and changing his thinking is as important as inspiring the oppressed. Imbuing a sense of equality in today's white children is as important as imbuing a sense of pride in black children.

Some people may find these sentiments racist and I can only defend them by saying we live in a world where every idea has an opposing aspect. I live in a country where my skin affords me privilege or at least protects me from disadvantage and my thoughts are not always from the point of view of the repudiated.

May. 18 2012 11:07 AM

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