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Archive for March, 2011

I’ve had Jews compare their histories and experiences with Blacks – yet we see how they’ve moved ahead.  I’ve had Latinos compare their struggles with those of Blacks – yet in many social dimensions, they have moved ahead.  I’ve had a paraplegic soldier tell me that he feels left out and cast aside…just like a Black.

Chris Rock, a famous comedian, in one of his comedy routines tells the crowd that he has millions of dollars, but not one of you would want to switch lives with him.  The crows laughed knowingly, approvingly, uncomfortably.  Somebody spoke their truth.  He joked that his mail carrier chided him one day stating: “Yeah you have lots and lots of money…but ha – at least I’m not Black.”  I was sitting on my couch watching that, and I remember nodding my head. “Damn straight!” I thought to myself.

Many adult Blacks of other cultures will angrily tell you: “I’m not African American.  I am Black.”  What is this recognition and simultaneous rejection of self by self and self by other? 

Can anyone explain that to me?  What is this all about? 

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We’ve had some really interesting conversations to date this semester. We’ve talked with folks representing racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQI youth and young adults, and we’ve read some interesting perspectives. It seems that there are some very fundamental issues of inclusion and exclusion that are faced by all marginalized communities. It also seems that all marginalized communities share a feeling of External Locus of Control…a sense that each can do only so much before somebody locks the door, pulls the chair, pushes them back down, does not allow them to go further, creates socialized environments to exclude them… Yet – – – somehow we don’t see those fundamental issues as universal or stretching across all communities. Why do we empathize with some populations and not with others? Why will we be concerned about inclusion rights for one group, but not another? What are the differences (internal, external, learned, subconscious, social, political…) we see that account for our different reactions to different populations?

This weekend a protester at the capitol was holding a sign, featuring four symbols representing LGBTQI/Women/Latinos/Blacks. The message read, “Different Differences but Same Need for Equality.”  

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