Tag Archives: racism

What to do in those moments of rage! EXPEDIENCY on the STREETS – Part Two

In Part one of this two-part series, “What to do in those moments of rage,” we called out the increases in acts of hate after the recent election. We follow up here with some tips for getting home safely.

But here’s the reality that threatens that goal – “drive by hate” can spring up unexpectedly, anytime and anywhere. And it’s on the rise across the country. Such acts can puncture your comfort zone while crossing a parking lot, walking on campus, sitting in an athletic stand, in cyberspace – anywhere.

Continue reading What to do in those moments of rage! EXPEDIENCY on the STREETS – Part Two

What to do in those moments of rage! EXPEDIENCY on the Streets – by Terry Howard

(Article is Part 1 of a series) So here we are, and not in some far-flung foreign country either. We’re in America 2016, and hate is popping up across the nation. And as incidents of racist, sexist and Islamophobia harassment continue in the wake of the election, many are asking, ‘what should I do when (not “if”) acts of hate are directed at me or others?’

“God Bless You,” was her seemingly choreographed response to this question I asked my friend and her young black son “Mark”:
“Given the documented cases of hate crimes since the election, how would you respond if haters drove by you and yelled ‘Hey N—-r”, go back to Africa. We’re taking our country back!”
“Uh, uh! If that happens to me, I’m ready to rumble!” said “Mark,” at hearing mom’s response.

Continue reading What to do in those moments of rage! EXPEDIENCY on the Streets – by Terry Howard

The Privilege of Failure – by Patti Hague

Even after forty years, I still remember the most important lecture I heard at college. It was delivered to me by a friend, standing in the dormitory hallway. I had once again done something thoughtless and self-centered. She had had it with me. She delivered a lecture on all of my failings, all of the ways I had let people down and acted in selfish self-interest. Defensively, I pushed back. But I also absorbed what she said.

Continue reading The Privilege of Failure – by Patti Hague

They protested, did they not? Just asking. – by Terry Howard

When it comes to courageous writing, it doesn’t get much better than James Ragland. He constantly serves up a menu of thought-provoking lines that allow for wannabee writers like yours truly to do some free cherry-picking.

“And when did civil protest — of any form, really — become the object of scorn in America, even when it’s not hurting anyone except the guy whose butt is on the line? You may not like what Colin Kaepernick is doing, but fighting for what he believes in is about as American as it gets.”
–James Ragland, Dallas Morning news

Continue reading They protested, did they not? Just asking. – by Terry Howard

Riots & Race: Then, Now and Next? – by Deborah Levine

It’s been two years since the shooting  and subsequent riots in Ferguson. One year after that event, I wrote about having the dubious honor of witnessing three generations of protests related to race, inequality and injustice. In the 1960s, protest marches were televised nationally, inspiring many of us. Yes, some protests became violent riots, but some gave rise to long-term institutions promoting racial equality. Those of us deeply invested in the movement shared a vision and were committed to making a difference through advocacy, education, politics, and, as I did, urban planning. However, after the shootings of unarmed African American men in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, the killing of police officers in Dallas, the numerous street protests, and the ongoing threats, I am less hopeful than I was coming out of the sixties.

Continue reading Riots & Race: Then, Now and Next? – by Deborah Levine

The Perils of Paybacks! – by Terry Howard

There I was pecking away on my keyboard. Part Two of “Hey, Speak English,” was coming along nicely when last week, “the racial week that was,” kicked the legs out from beneath my comfort zone. In a dreadful span of 72 hours, seven lives were senselessly snuffed out in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas. Of course, many more lives ended that week, but thanks to the combustible mix of race, firearms and mobile devices, these are the ones that owned the headlines.

I insert here my worry, folks!

Although a bit of a stretch, a force fit, some may view the killing of those five white police officers in Dallas as payback in the same way that some jurors in the O. J. Simpson criminal trial delivered a not guilty verdict as payback for the beating of Rodney King and the atrocities heaped upon African Americans over the years. They may not have said it publicly, but the bet here is that the thought probably raced through some minds and showed up in private conversations. “The chickens have come home to roost,” as the saying goes and as some likely thought.

Although I can understand the sentiments, the simmering frustrations resulting from black lives constantly being snuffed out, payback utterings make me uncomfortable, very uncomfortable.

Turning now to why we need to careful.

You see, the problem with “paybacks” is paybacks begat a paybacks in turn. So before we realize it, the circular cycle spirals totally out of control. (Think about the revenge killings by gangs). And along the way widows and orphans are made, careers, relationships and reputations – and sometimes, bodies – are left in the wake. And at the end of the day, who really wins? None of us.

So what do we do? Or maybe the better question is what do we not do?

Well, if the thought of payback crosses the mind, Dr. King’s advice should put that idea firmly to rest:

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
-begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
     ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So here we are – you, me, all of us – sitting back in the comforts of our living rooms, eyes glued to TV sets, or in our places of worship trying to figure out what all this means, where on Earth are we going and what can we do personally to make a difference. A conundrum that’s indeed a daunting one.

But here’s hoping that any thought of engaging in payback is one option that’s kept off the table.

An open letter to the college student – by Terry Howard

This “letter” requires some imagination. It is purposefully direct, graphic, hard hitting and may cause some discomfort. The reader is urged to read it carefully, several times perhaps, then pass it along and maybe even make it the focal point of a small group discussion (family, classroom, fraternity, etc.)

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Tap Dancing with Donna – by Terry Howard

I went 12 rounds with Donna, a “bout” that started eleven months ago when I settled into Douglasville, Georgia. You see, Donna, a full-size middle age white woman, and me, a full-bellied middle age black man, first came into contact with each other in the convenient store a mile from my house, a tiny place reminiscent of the bucolic town of Mayberry in the old Andy Griffith Show. This is the place I stop by early mornings for coffee and a newspaper. Donna works there.

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Race Relations and the Confederate Flag – by Deborah Levine

Morris Dees, Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), was the featured speaker at the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga annual First Amendment dinner. Mr. Dees was introduced by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. Mayor Berke, a member of Chattanooga’s Jewish community was comfortable in the Federation setting and shared that he was not wearing a tie due to the well-known perils of ketchup. Picking up on the informality, Dees removed his own tie and listened, along with a packed house, to the mayor’s remarks.

Continue reading Race Relations and the Confederate Flag – by Deborah Levine

Imagine All the People – By Yvor Stoakley

Close your eyes. Imagine that you are the average white American in the early 21st Century. You can visualize yourself as president of your country (or country club). You can see yourself as the object of widespread adulation for winning an Oscar or Olympic gold. You have no difficulty picturing yourself as a graduate of Stanford or Harvard or Duke, as an inventor, as a diplomat or a thousand and one other achievements. But when you focus your mind on your fellow Americans of African or Asian or Native or Latin heritage, what do you imagine then? What images spring to mind?

Continue reading Imagine All the People – By Yvor Stoakley