“Courage grows when we try something risky and hard, and come out on the other side more or less in tact. It becomes more “natural” the more we practice it. And when we do it enough to actually experience from-the-inside-out the liberation and freedom of not being silent, not compromising our moral compass, not swallowing our voice we start to crave liberation and freedom so deeply that acting and speaking with courage becomes almost a default position. Almost natural.”
Last year at the university where I teach, a group of African American students were walking past a dorm at night when someone in an upper-story window threw an object at them and yelled, “we don’t want your kind here!” In the days that followed, the Coalition of Black Students (CBS), in alliance with other student of color groups, mobilized. In addition to organizing a march and other events, CBS showed up at the next Student Senate meeting to address their representatives.
I’ve been part of many, many interracial discussions of racism in the past 25 years. They tend to follow a predictable script. People of color bring racism to white peoples’ attention. The white folks willing to participate aloud express shock and dismay, hope that a situation like this “won’t happen again” and their own personal goodwill towards people of color. This script was followed pretty closely that night…
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