The Color of Character

Racist Label? Save it for the Real Deal


The Bloom is Off The Ivy

As I suspected, the harmony during the Cubs World Series victory parade that gave me hope was dissolved by the toxicity on both sides of the recent election. But I will not despair completely because I was witness to a massive, diverse crowd aligned in enthusiasm and support – albeit for a sports team. Now on to a wider mission, such as diminishing racial tension.

Careless Use of an Important Epithet

In writing The Color of Character, and in attempting to get you to read it, if you haven’t done so, my mission was to awaken an awareness in those who lay the blame for the problems of black America, and the actions of white America entirely at the doorstep of racism. Be aware those of you who are so quick to slap the racist label on anyone with viewpoints that differ from yours regarding any of the myriad issues of race. You do yourself, those you stigmatize, and the cause of resolving racial tensions a gross injustice. There are racists. Racism exists. By haphazardly declaring any view other than yours as racist you are diminishing the power of the word to call out the true evil.

Come Out of Your Safe Spaces to Listen and Learn.

By failing to listen to and understand the “other,” and to dismiss him or her or them, you are missing an opportunity to resolve a conflict or diminish a gap in understanding. You might even lose the chance to gain an ally in the good fight. Look what happened when an entire political party dismissed half the country as racist. No doubt there were racists among them, but most were not motivated by race. But no one was really listening. The other half was convinced they knew what was best for everyone. This entire subject seems to be lost on most of our college and graduate students. They run for their safe spaces at the approach of an opposing viewpoint, as they have done all across America this week. Now would be a good time for them to listen, and perhaps learn. Isn’t that why they go to school?

It Will Always Be The Economy

I know friends who say that economics must not trump (no pun intended) race. You cannot vote for a racist just to put food on your table. That makes you no better than a racist. Ah, if only the reality were so black and white (again no pun intended). In American history, economics trumps every other issue except for single issue voters (and they usually are already economically secure). Without economic security, which in modern America would be the base of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we cannot address anything else.

A Thoughtful Voice

I have a great deal more to say on this topic, but someone already said it for me. His name is John McWhorter, an accomplished and lauded linguist,  author, and professor at Columbia University. He wrote an editorial that was published in the Boston Globe. Professor McWhorter is black. He has a regular podcast with another distinguished black professor, Glenn Loury. I’ve been an admirer of their examination of the subject of race since writing The Color of Character.

Please read Professor McWhorter’s essay here. I’d like to know what you think.



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