Sunday, August 25, 2019

For Me, Fighting Racism is Personal

When I talk about fighting racism, it isn't abstract
I've seen what racists can do, up close and personal
When I was a senior in college, i was kicked out of my family for falling in love with a Black woman, an amazing person, with whom I shared six years of my life. My parents, Jewish liberals, great teachers both, never found it in their hearts to reach out to her. The poison of white supremacy had hardened them and shattered their capacity for compassion when it came to this critical juncture in their lives
In the early 70's, I had the pleasure of spending a month each summer in rural Alabama with a preacher named Rev Claude Williams who had decided to renounce segregation and try to organize southern blacks and whites into unions for their common economic betterment. For doing this, he had been beaten, tarred and feathered, expelled from his Church, had fires set on his property and had his dogs shot.
I came away from these experiences convinced that racism could make ordinarily decent, caring people cruel and heartless. I not only decided to spend my life studying it, but to use every power I had my disposal to fight it, and try to minimize its influence
This has been my life. It will be my life until I take my last breath

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