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Tag: race

Unpacking the Notion of Racism by Association

Have you ever been in a group of people who, when you leave the room, shortly thereafter bring down the volume on their conversation? That happened to me recently. I could still hear them through the closed door. No, they weren’t talking about me. They were taking advantage of my absence to talk freely about something involving race. No ‘N’ word. Nothing vile. More like casual commentary on how overblown racism is. I confess my eyes filled up. I felt my difference in that moment. I didn’t fully understand why I should be proud instead of hurt until I...

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An Actor, an NFL Player and September Dreams

I was going to write this two days ago, but I was too busy devoting time to one of my “money” jobs. As the house manager for an acting and dance studio in Manhattan, I’m in the process of booking people for fall and winter classes, workshops, performances, and shoots. Happily deluged, one might say, since getting back from vacation. But here’s the real point: Yes, I work “money” jobs. You know, the kind that people were shaming former Cosby Show actor Geoffrey Owens for when he was “outed” recently at a local Trader Joe’s. Funny thing is, last...

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Starbucks and Black Coffee

This column is for the people of all colors who acknowledge racism exists. If you’re not in that camp, I’m not going to try to burrow into that sand your head is buried in; keep moving. To the realists still reading, let’s talk about Starbucks. There are more than 25,000 locations around the globe. The odds are good there are racist people working at some of them. It’s simple math. The recent incident at the Philadelphia location where two black men were taken away by the police, their “sin” being that they were waiting for a friend and didn’t order anything right away, was unquestionably a call to action. But that action shouldn’t be a boycott of the Starbucks brand. That, in fact, is a shortsighted and ineffective way to respond to what happened. By all means, boycott that location. The people who descended on it after the incident to peacefully protest had the right idea. That reaction was specific, targeted. If there are other coffee joints in the neighborhood, take your business there. That might include another Starbucks, by the way. But this knee-jerk cry for a boycott every time there’s a disturbing incident is not the way to go. This is not the same as asking a corporation to have a conscience and remove its advertising from a television show or risk a boycott. In the case...

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Sports As Breeding Ground for Change

The other night I was watching the season premiere of Chicago P.D. I love this show. I confess it’s partly because the level of testosterone is both attractive and curious. I like the peek into that world. But the other reason I’m drawn to it is storyline. This show doesn’t shy away from the issues that make policing so controversial in today’s climate. In this episode, two officers – one white, one black – are on a hunt for a dangerous suspect who escaped the police after taking a bullet in the stomach in an earlier confrontation. As they...

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Make America White Again

When a man opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater during a showing of Trainwreck a few years ago, Amy Schumer joined the fight for stricter gun laws. Even though the murderer didn’t invoke her name, the actor/comedian was horrified that this tragedy occurred during a movie she was in. She was disturbed at the association. Contrast that with our President’s reaction to David Duke’s words about Saturday’s alt-right and neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia: “We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he’s going to take our country back.” Not only has Trump ignored that disgusting shout out, he couldn’t even bring himself to call out white supremacists or the Ku Klux Klan in his remarks following the violence. Instead, he decries violence “on many sides” and proceeds to inform us of all the jobs he’s created. As a nice flourish, he made sure we knew that racial tension was around before he took office. Read: This is not my fault. I don’t consider it a priority. I didn’t cause it. And hey, we have lots to be happy about – jobs! As sick as I am of this tedious man, I am getting more and more outraged at the people who put him in office. Stop calling us racists. That’s...

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