Tag Archives: race

Danielle Allen: canceled — but — wait!

The Princeton chamber lunch on Thursday with Danielle Allen has been cancelled, due to weather — but you have another chance to hear her.  She will speak at Labyrinth bookstore on Tuesday, March 10,  at 6 p.m. With Melissa Lane she will discuss Lane’s new book the “The Birth of Politics: Eight Greek and Roman Political Ideas and Why They Matter.”

Here is Diccon Hyatt’s interview with Allen in the current issue of U.S. 1  This interview focused on her reading of the Declaration of Independence, whereas I was more interested in her direct declaration of how she advocates for bridging cultural divides, as reported by Not in Our Town Princeton here.

The chamber lunch will not be rescheduled, but Allen will stay in Princeton till June. Perhaps she be persuaded to talk about intercultural dialogue here, before she goes to Harvard.


Social Justice Calendar

It’s been a busy week, highlighted by events surrounding the exhibit Freedom Summer, starting with the lecture by civil rights organizer Bob Moses (at left and reported here)bob moses library 15627635898_42dccf5699_z
And more to come —
Garden Theatre hosts a free screening of the documentary on Freedom Summer on Sunday, November 23, 1 p.m. There may be some tickets left at Eventbrite, or just show up and hope.
The Freedom Summer exhibit continues at the Carl A. Fields Center from Tuesday, November 25 to Friday, December 5. 
NIOT hosts its monthly Continuing Conversations on Race at the Princeton Public Library on Monday, December 1, at 7 p.m
Lawrence Graham, an attorney who writes about race, class, and privilege, speaks at Princeton University on Tuesday, December 2. 
A screening of the documentary “15 to Life” will be at the library on Wednesday, December 3, co-sponsored by The Campaign to End the New Jim Crow, Princeton & Trenton chapter.
There is much to be thankful for, and much to improve…

Why is the White doll the good doll?

Why is the white doll the good doll? In a study of kindergarten children, both black children and white children chose the white doll as their favorite.

Blacks and whites alike have been programmed since birth to think that whites are better. Black children are taught to be aware of their behavior at all times, because of possible danger, while white kids have the privilege of just being kids.

Tonight (Monday, December 2, at 7:30 p.m.)  I will join Debra Raines, Director of Mission Advancement at the Princeton YWCA, in facilitating another in the series of Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege at the Princeton Public Library.

Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege are a friendly, safe, confidential opportunity to share ideas and voice concerns. They are planned and facilitated by Not in Our Town Princeton and held on first Mondays, from October through May, in partnership with the Princeton Public Library.
We will consider the particular cases of two men and two women. The  men: George Zimmerman (trigger happy and violent against both blacks and stinneywomen) and George Stinney  (at left, 14, the youngest male executed in the 20th century). Also the case of Eleanor Bumpers (fatally shot in New York in 1984 during an attempted eviction)  and Reneisha McBride (shot by a Detroit man when she knocked on his door in the middle of the night.)
Then we will discuss what you THINK is helping
and what you think is HURTING. What is your role on either side?
All are invited — we meet in one of the conference rooms on the second floor, either the Princeton room or the board room.
(This post first appeared on the Not in Our Town Princeton blog).

Not Just Old White Men


That someone in the Medici family had African heritage may come as a surprise, but that’s what we learn in Revealing Presence in Renaissance Europe, on view through Sunday at the Princeton University Art Museum. When Alessandro de Medici, the out-of-wedlock son of Pope Clement VII and an African maid in the Medici household., became the Duke of Florence, there were no full-face portraits of him. Contemporary portraits showed him with a hood. After his death the portrait was painted that hangs on banners all over campus to promote the exhibit. Look here for an intriguing art history puzzle, about the picture next to it. The label on the picture reveals the sad fact that Alessandro was no popular favorite, “tyrannical,” is the word they use.

It’s definitely worth trying to get there before this exhibit closes on June 9. And it makes an intriguing juxtaposition to the four walls of shoulder to shoulder portraits of Old White Powerful Men, the former portrait collection of the New York Chamber of Commerce.  J. Pierpont Morgan, William H. Vanderbilt,  Grover Cleveland — these portraits are fascinating because the  personality of each man shows through.

This exhibit has a different title from the one I used, but the bottom line is — that when the need for diversity came along, i.e. the idea  that women and people of other races might possibly be admitted to the great halls of business, the paintings needed to go. As the New York Times review says, “old white men did not fit in with the chamber’s commitment to diversity. ” They are now owned by Credit Suisse and on view in Princeton through June 30.

If you think that in 2013 nobody makes politically incorrect comments about race, or gender, think again. Today in the racing column of the New York Times, in a discussion of a filly that will run in the belmont, a veterinarian was quoted as saying, “It takes a special filly, one that is willing to stare down the boys and say, ‘No this one is mine.’  It’s so much about personalities and intimidation when these horses match up. I think it’s the same reason women don’t have as much, and the same kind of success, as men in the workplace.”

I would be more outraged, except that the person quoted was a woman.

Orange and Black – and White Privilege

Hall of Privilege: The Mathey College Common Room includes a fireplace dedicated to a Rockefeller, Laurence, Class of 1932

“Unpleasant social encounters resulting from white privileges and preferences became a boot camp for survival,” said an African American, Robert J. Rivers, who grew up in Princeton, In 1953 he was one of the first African Americans to graduate from Princeton University. Many would say that “unpleasant social encounters” never happen today, but I’ll bet most of those deniers are white.

Rivers credits the desegregation pioneers, including Frank Broderick, Class of ’43 and editor of the Princetonian, who attacked the social and emotional hypocrisy of fighting for “democracy” without admitting black students.

Andrew Hatcher, who grew up in Princeton, was refused admission, and later became President Kennedy’s associate press secretary.

Dean Carl Fields (after whom the Fields Center is named) who set up ‘home away from home’ families for black students.

Photo by Roland Glover

George Reeves, camp cook at Blairstown and grandfather of Jim Floyd, who graduated from Princeton in 1969. In the picture, he is shown with graduating PHS seniors Sam Nelson, Juan Polanco, and Jacklyn Adebayo, who received Unity Awards from Not in Our Town last month. (Floyd was so impressed by their accomplishments that he offered an additional gift toward their books at college.)

The speaker,  Rivers,  was one of three black students in a class of 700 in September, 1949. His account of the segregation and desegregation at this university, delivered at the Pan African Graduation in 2008, is an eye-opener. (This year’s event is Sunday, June 2 and I learned about this speech from a Facebook post from the Center for African American Studies.)

He concluded his speech in 2008 with appreciative words: But 55 years later, I count my blessings because I have been richly rewarded by unpredictable opportunities – and Princeton has changed.

Yet 55 years later, remnants of past attitudes emerge, as documented in Looking Back: Reflections of Black Princeton Alumni. Whites still have privileges that minorities do not.

On Commencement Eve, Not in Our Town will host Continuing Conversations on Race at Princeton Public Library. That’s Monday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. In a discussion entitled Tongue Tied? Rehearse What to Say, we will talk about how to have a meaningful dialogue with people who have differing views about race and white privilege. You are invited.

Questioning the Values of the Establishment

Achieve Achieve Achieve? Maybe competing for good grades is not a good enough value, said New York Times columnist David Brooks, speaking to a Princeton University audience last week. He said he was disappointed that university students — whom he famously criticized a decade ago for being overly competitive — still place too much emphasis on achievement. “The language of achievement has overshadowed the language of virtue,” he said.

Many of the same views are held by Roberto Schiraldi, a counselor and therapist who formerly worked at Princeton University. He contrasts the values of elitism, power, wealth and control with the values of cooperation, sharing, support, and service. He questions what Princeton students and residents hold as core values and how these values relate to white privilege and race. 
Schiraldi and Barbara Fox will facilitate a discussion at the monthly session, co-sponsored by Not in Our Town, of Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege, on Monday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library. All are welcome.