Monday, November 3, 2008

Being Anita Hill

Listening to Anita Hill this morning, I am reminded of how impressive she appeared before those awful hearings and how outraged I was by Clarence Thomas and the smear machine. Smear worked then as a mode of conservative operations. But it does not seem to be working in this presidential campaign.

In a recent article in the Boston Globe Ms. Hill takes a counterintuitive bent on race and this election. She writes about "racial amnesia" and the importance it may play in this presidential outcome. Ms. Hill sees economics trumping race and points to the remembrance of the past "fading or being altered." In this regard, she sees "racial amnesia" as a plus. I do too.

But while there something of great value in getting beyond race, there is also something for the appreciation of culture and difference. Like Ms. Hill, I am incredibly hopeful that "after this election, we may never see race in the same way again." I also, like Ms. Hill, realize that "getting people to address racial disparities in education, employment, and health care still won't be easy."

Whatever happens tomorrow, we will be better because of this presidential process. Look at how far we have come.

4 comments:

John O'Leary said...

I was always an AH fan.

Nail-biting time again, Judith. I have a theory about all those Undecided voters: they haven't made up their minds. (Sometimes I AMAZE myself.)

judith ellis said...

Funny, John! I have spent the last four hours going door to door and this has spared my nails, but not my nervous stomach.

Dave Wheeler said...

Judith...I would hope that the first step in addressing the disparities between that exist in education, health care, and employment might be to substitute the word socio-economic for racial. This would facilitate building the types of coalitions of all ethnicities that can make a significant change politically and in the communities.

Should Senator Obama win the election he becomes a tangible symbol of the progress that has been made yet is seldom acknowledged, a kind of reverse racial amnesia if you will. This is understandable of course since there are many of all races whose personal and professional livelihood relies on perpetuating that conflict.

After the Philadelphia speech earlier this year there was a interest in beginning a national dialog on race. That has disappeared during the campaign where much of the rhetoric has focused on the subject with poll after poll, story after story, talking head after talking head speaking of it.

I would hope that those of all ethnicities who found that Dr. King's dream and vision for our nation matched their own remember and use his words to bring about real change. "The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone".

Judging folks by the by the content of their character not the color of their skin...regardless of their ethnicity! That is real change. It starts not in Washington, it has to begin within each one of us.

judith ellis said...

Beautiful, Dave. Thank you for these wonderful words. Words matter.