I found this Atlantic article on Twitter and borrowed it from the Not in Our Town website
Ask yourself, when you interact with a stranger from another race or background, whether you have treated them as you would a friend.
So said Danielle Allen, the luncheon speaker at the Princeton Regional Chamber on Thursday, March 5, at 11:30 p.m. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, she explained the difference between the term “Interracial distrust” and “racism.” As below:
“Interracial distrust does capture something missed by the word “racism.” Most of us use the word “racism” to denote the antipathy of white people to people of color. Though the word can equally well denote negative feelings that flow in other directions, we tend to restrict it to the attention “white” people pay to “colored” people.
“Interracial distrust,” in contrast, captures the fact that negative feelings flow all ways across multiple racial and ethnic lines. The world is too full to focus only on how one group of people perceives another group. I am interested in how each of us, individually, interacts with people who are different from us and whom we fear.”
Danielle Allen, a renowned author and co-editor, is currently at the Institute for Advanced Study but will soon leave Princeton for Harvard to be a professor and direct the Edmond. J. Safra Center for Ethics. aiming to guide the center in a post-Ferguson direction.
She is chair of the Pulitzer Prize board, among other honors. Her topic for Thursday: Pursuing Happiness: What the Declaration of Independence Has to Teach Us About Human Flourishing.
The exact same kind of intercultural conversation that Allen espouses — it takes place in Princeton on first Mondays at the Princeton Public Library. Continuing Conversations on Race is March 2 and April 6 at 7 p.m.
Everyone is a racist at heart, says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Time Magazine (5-14-2014).
Says Kareem: Maybe the worst racism of all is denying that racism exists, because that keeps us from repairing the damage. This country needs a social colonoscopy to look for the hidden racist polyps. And we aren’t doing ourselves any good by saying, “I feel fine. Everything’s fine. Nothing to see here.”
“The truth is, everyone has racism in his or her heart. We feel more comfortable around people of similar appearance, backgrounds and experiences. But, as intelligent, educated and civilized humans, we fight our knee-jerk reactions because we recognize that those reactions are often wrong and ultimately harmful.”
Click on I, Too, Am Princeton.
If you look at the first photo, you can’t NOT page to the end. Please look, please think.
“In the wake of a post-racial ideology circulating in our society today, it is imperative that the light of the struggles that categorize this nation is not erased. With this circulation also comes the muting of the voices that make up the sound of the U.S. This is an opportunity to turn the volume back up….”
Slavery shaped America’s old, elite colleges, says MIT historian Craig Steven Wilder in his book Ebony and Ivory. Wilder told NPR’s Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, this tidbit about Princeton: “John Witherspoon, the president of Princeton just before the Revolution, sent a missive to the West Indians promising that their sons were safer in New Jersey than they could ever be in England, where notorious and mean-spirited men preyed upon wealthy boys in the West Indies. But in New Jersey they would be protected and cared for, catered to and turned into responsible citizens.”
“I don’t think most whites understand what it is to be black in the United States today,” said Douglas Massey, a Princeton University sociology professor in the Office of Population Research. “They don’t even have a clue. They blame the blacks to a large degree for their own problems. . . . As a white, I can tell you that whites have a lot to do to make it a fair game.”
White privilege is not an easy concept for many of us whites to understand. Massey investigates the academic side of it. Tim Wise explains it to the general population with books like “White Like Me.” Wise speaks on Monday, February 10, at 6 p.m. at the Carl Fields Center. Not in Our Town holds “Continuing Conversations on Race and White Privilege” on first Mondays at 7 p.m. (February 3 and March 3) at the Princeton Public Library
The Massey quote came from “And don’t call me a racist! A treasury of quotes on the past, present, and future of the color line in America,” selected and arranged by Ella Mazel, Argonaut Press, available free for download here.