Race and America's Future

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Angela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink, and Manuel Pastor, professor and director of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California, discuss race and American identity. In Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future, they explore race as both a dynamic facet of American identity and a major cause of American disunity.


Angela Glover Blackwell and Manuel Pastor

Comments [19]

Rafael Shimunov from Queens, NYC

Check out to continue this conversation on September 29th!

Sep. 26 2010 01:51 AM
P. Jones from Hampton Roads, VA

There's a gross presumption being made here, especially by Ms. Blackwell, and especially regarding blacks, that people, whites included, really give a darn. Even the flippancy in the way she addressed, or didn't, the fear of blacks competing for jobs with illegal immigrants make clear her black-elitist perspective on race. You're doggone right blacks are scared, as are whites now-a-days about competing with new groups over the ever shrinking job pool.

Let us not confound the drive behind the Civil Rights movement of the 60's. Dr. King used the U.S. Constitution and fears that it's unfaithfully execution was harmful to every American, just not blacks. Also, the appalling behavior of Southern whites toward blacks brought international shame, etc. Caring for black people had nothing to do with it and still doesn't. Her guessing that people are better than they've been portrayed simply isn't true. The policy issues both she and Mr. Pastor complain of are in place just as the majority needs them to bee.

Government backed loans for housing and education, and health care and social security are wonderful, until someone else gets them. This is precisely the tool used to motivate our friends and citizen in the Tea Party.

How, Ms. Blackwell, does this reflect wrongly on Americans?

Jul. 16 2010 04:00 AM
sam from Rochester NY

Mike-You quoted my statement about "political correctness" correctly but you tried to use it to support your misguided reasons for why whites don't want to talk about race. I talk to all kinds of people about race and they all have many different views. They are still respected as long as they can explain their views in a logical fashion. You must learn to understand people based on their experience... This is part of the respect for others I wrote about...

Jul. 14 2010 02:10 PM

"The Truth from Becky" is written by a liar. No one is that dumb. Is she typing from a penitentiary?

Jul. 14 2010 02:06 PM
Eric from NJ

Becky, I would like to suggest that Opal's example begins to teeter on culturalism and honestly it's all wrong. I agree with you... racism and culturalism are both one ways streets... and no matter which way you are traveling one way from... you are wrong.

The initial challenge seems to always be skin tone;light or dark. The construct of one religion hating another... well, all I can say about that is it is wrong and that any religion that teaches hatred should be likened to a drug that cures a symptom. Blaming others does nothing but impose limits on yourself. I need to learn more, be more understanding, help others even if they are not of my tribe, my skin tone, my spirituality... I suppose not all people agree but I can't influence them with my words, only my action and maybe not even then... So I have to try my way and hope my efforts resinate.

Jul. 14 2010 01:13 PM
The Truth from Becky

BigMax - are you serious? racism is a two way street??? - that is a very naive statement, glance up to Opal's comment to see what I mean.

Jul. 14 2010 12:50 PM
The Truth from Becky

MIKE - apparently that information has not reached the whites at my place of business because they openly voice their opinions on people of other races.

Jul. 14 2010 12:45 PM
Mike from Inwood

Sam states: "I guess I should not be amazed because the people who normally complain about this are the ones in the majority(or upper level of the society). They are not really affected by the subject."

Yes, and Eric Holder encourages us all to talk about race at work. Every White person knows that there is only one acceptable opinion to have at work and that expressing anything other than this will make you unsuitable for adancement at best and fired at worst. Talking about race WILL affect White people, so they shut up. No one can be surprized by their reaction.

Jul. 14 2010 12:39 PM
Mike from Inwood

While no one wants to 'sugar-coat' anything, to reduce the anti-immigration forces in this country to racists who are afraid of an inevitable future is itself racist. This is typical; Black people of her generation have yet to acknowledge their own racism and instead wear it self-righteously on their sleeves.

Jul. 14 2010 12:32 PM

I am always amazed when people complains about "political correctness" .
I think respect for others is important in a civil society. Yes going overboard with it could turn into an uptight society but you need to have some "acceptable levels".

I guess I should not be amazed because the people who normally complain about this are the ones in the majority(or upper level of the society). They are not really affected by the subject.

I think "people of color" is not the best term but it is easy to understand. It is also a little better than saying "none white".

Yea, people could talk about race in the 60's because back then people had the feeling that we were all in it together and we will solve it together. That is all different now. Everyone(or most) is all in it for themselves. The talk of race is just for "complainers". Racism does not exist, and if it does is more against the majority by the minority( look at the recent supreme court case during the Sotomayor hearing).

Jul. 14 2010 12:31 PM
Eric from NJ

No there isn't. But without hope and goals what has man kind to work for?

Jul. 14 2010 12:27 PM
Gene from NYC

To me, race is THE issue of the 20th Century.

As far as my own personal history as an Irish/Italian in this country, in this era--I lived in Memphis in 1968, when King was shot.

I saw first-hand, from my relatively sheltered Calif. upbringing, how an entire people can treat another group of people _horribly_ -- for no reason whatsoever.

So I am very race-conscious; I feel racist about it--I can't see a black person as just another person, as I would with a person with different hair color, say, as would be ideal--but I am unwilling to let it go. I see blacks--especially older blacks-- as people who have been subjected to unmitigated evil. Not that they are victims, but that they have had to deal with unmitigated evil as few of us have ever had to.

I don't think I should ever forget, on a visceral level, how willfully rotten people can be.

It's no longer quite as bad as Memphis 1968, officially, thankfully--but I just can't let the very taste of racism fade into disembodied history.

Jul. 14 2010 12:26 PM

Is there any heterogeneous society in the world that, in the opinion of the guests, is devoid of racism (and/or classism, religious descrimination, etc)? Do the guests believe that any individual is totally free of such sentiments?

Jul. 14 2010 12:26 PM
Eric from NJ

Tyrone, you make a very valid point. It seems though that the construct of the "publice" race conversation has been stigmatized to such an extent that it more reflect two people who disagree and are silent rather than yelling their disagreements at one another. I would love this to change. It seems one-on-one, any two open-hearted people from any race can break down their walls with time. In contrast it seems in numbers, poeple act like dog packs or flocks. I feel though, like with exercise or learning, this will take time and only gain ground by more work, more conversation... not silence.

Jul. 14 2010 12:24 PM
Opal from NYC

I have never had problems with racial diversity because I grew up with it and prefer it and enjoy it. What frightens me is the growth of the Muslim community and anti-Semitism. There's a Muslim man in the small building where I live and when I say hello there is no response. As a Jewish woman I find this frightening particularly since the Muslim population continues to grow.

Jul. 14 2010 12:22 PM
BigMax from nyc

Racism is a two way street, always has been. I find this discussion filled with the same old rhetoric. If everyone took responsiblity for their own we could end it. tommorrow.Stop playing the victimization card.

Jul. 14 2010 12:20 PM
Tara from NYC

The issue of class and it's importance in this conversation is too often overlooked.

Jul. 14 2010 12:18 PM
David from Manhattan

Please, please, please stop using the idiotic term "People of Color"'s meaningless and only continues to propagate racial division. Nothing's worse than political correctness.

Jul. 14 2010 12:13 PM
Tyrone from Harlem

What I find interesting is that in 2010, people are still afraid to say the wrong thing. The term "political correctness" doesn't quite hit the point. There's a social anxiety today about discussing race honestly that didn't exist in the 1960s. Who would have the guts today to sit around in a circle and honestly say what they think about the other race? Nobody. That kind of things used to exist.

Jul. 14 2010 12:02 PM

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