Tag Archives: racial equality
What an interesting man James Baldwin is!
A television interviewer once asked Baldwin to describe the challenges he faced starting his career as “a black, impoverished homosexual,” to which Baldwin laughed and replied: “I thought I’d hit the jackpot.”
This article at NPR tells us some about this fascinating, talented man and gives us a peek into his newest book, ‘The Cross of Redemption,’ which is a collection of several of Baldwin’s essays, speeches and articles.
He’s a man who has much to teach us on the subjects of race, homosexuality, tolerance, communication and observing so we can advance knowledge and reduce hate and fear.
“You give me this advantage,” Baldwin once wrote to his white audience. “Whereas you never had to look at me — because you’ve sealed me away along with sin and hell and death — my life was in your hands and I had to look at you. I know more about you than you know about me.”
Have any of you read him? If so, do you have a favorite to recommend? I haven’t yet read him, but I WILL!
The University of Pennsylvania last week became the first school to announce that it will provide a spot on its application for students to indicate their sexual orientation. Is this a good idea? There seem to be some obvious objections—for example, hyper-competitive students will simply lie about their sexual orientations if they think it will give them an edge. But Gabriel Arana raises some more interesting points at the American Prospect: “Students who are out in high school live in communities that are more tolerant. Statistically, these communities are more educated, less religious, wealthier, and whiter. Having grown up in a conservative, largely Hispanic community on the U.S.-Mexico border, I would not have felt comfortable identifying as gay on college applications. So if the intention is to recruit gay students, the effect will be felt only by the subset of gay applicants who, at 18, feel comfortable identifying as such. It really becomes a proxy for other demographic attributes that on the whole are largely indicative of privilege.” Furthermore, Arana points out that elite schools like Penn already have large and active LGBT communities—in general, they don’t face the same problems in attracting gay students than they do with students of racial minorities.
Did anyone watch “The Human Family Tree” recently on the National Geographic channel? One of the most fascinating facts found out, after checking the DNA of 350,000 human beings from every corner of the planet, is we all come from the same area of Africa.
200,000 – 150,000 years ago: The genetic journey of everyone alive today began with one woman — “Scientific Eve” — who lived in Africa and passed along her DNA through special cell structures called mitochondria, which only women pass down to further generations. What that means is, we are all related: Black, White, Yellow, Brown . . . we’re all the same. Our DNA varies by 1/10 of 1%, and that small percentage is what gives us our individual identities.
The color of a humans skin comes not from DNA, but where our ancestors migrated to. European ancestors lived in cold climates, so skin pigmentation lightened over generations. Those living in warmer or hotter climates retained the darker characteristics. It makes it interesting, then, how much race (which actually doesn’t exist) plays the role it does in society. I wonder how racists would actually feel if they knew they were hating their brothers and cousins? My guess is they would not believe the evidence when presented to them. All one has to do is look to people like Linda Jenkins, Bill O’Reilly and their ilk to understand facts have little meaning to them.
So, readers, how do we change the minds of people bent on destroying race relations, when the evidence of DNA points to the non-existence of race? Is it even possible?