February 20, 2021
How Should We Talk about Race?
Ask a Black person and he will likely have a very different idea than a White person. The admonition to walk around in the other person’s shoes is nearly impossible. I, a Caucasian, can’t imagine what it’s like to be someone who hears that there is systematic racism in this society from every Black radio station, TV station, newspaper like Kansas City’s The Call; icons like Opera Winfrey, the richest, more powerful women in the world; Barack Obama, who as recently as 2015 was the most powerful man in the world. And it’s probably just as impossible for a Black person to walk around in my shoes and see that the above facts appear to contradict the idea that we live in a systemically racist society.
How do we address this situation?
The current LR7 Superintendent and Board of Education propose an Equity program to “remove barriers for all students.” They have scheduled seminars to discuss issues of race. This is good since it assumes everyone has a stake in the outcome of a more civil society. They have also scheduled mandatory indoctrination courses for staff and employees that assume systematic racism has made Blacks victims and Whites have no right to voice their opinion since they could never know what walking-down-the-street-as-Black is like. This is bad since Whites don’t like to be talked down to and don’t believe in systematic racism.
To their credit, the Superintendent and Board of Eduction have chosen to adopt an inclusionary rather than an exclusionary version of Equity.
Let’s give them credit and our backing in this difficult task because we all have “skin” in this game whether our skin is White or Black.
Mathematical Statistician, Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention, retired