Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families


Legacy of Racism & White Privilege – John Stewart Challenges Bill O’Reilly and the Myth of American Meritocracy

Fox News host and "Killing Patton" author Bill O'Reilly insists that the American Dream is available to anyone who is honest, gets educated and works hard, regardless of race. In this contentious clip, John Stewart challenges both the man and this long discredited idea, as he pushes Bill O'Reilly to acknowledge his own (and his family's) white privilege.

From Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Ferguson Protesters Delay Symphony After Intermission; Polite and Awkward Applause Follows

By now many of you have probably heard about or seen some of the footage from this weekend's St. Louis Symphony protest, highlighting the tragic killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri cop Darren Wilson. This occurs amid the relative silence among a great many whites whose primary complaints tend to be focused on the inconvenience of the aftermath and continuing protests to the comfortable (racial) social arrangements they are used to between Black folks and white folks.

In case you haven't seen or heard about this symphony protest, brief video and audio clips are shared just below.

The expressions seen in the faces of the couple at the 1:14 mark are priceless. Many words come to mind as I observe their reactions. Let's just say that "support" and "solidarity' are not among those words - at least not support and solidarity with the family of Michael Brown nor the larger community of African Americans who have to deal with the indignities of Black life in and around Ferguson.

Additional description, and a small amount of commentary, can be found at St. Louis Public Radio.

The St. Louis American reported that the protest was organized by "Sarah Griesbach, 42, a white woman who lives in the Central West End. She said that the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, has opened her eyes to the inequalities that exist in St. Louis."

Griesbach told the American: “It is my duty and desire to try to reach out and raise that awareness peacefully but also to disrupt the blind state of white St. Louis, particularly among the people who are secure in their blindness."

Click here to read the full write-up, including the audio and commentary.

After watching the video footage, and listening to the audio capture of this protest at St. Louis Public Radio, I can't help but reflect on the distinct contrast between the relatively "warmer" reception to this version of protest, and the horrendously violent response to those protesters on the streets of Ferguson (both in real-time by the police, and also in the equally as brutal aftermath shaped by the media).

If previously disengaged and oblivious whites really want to get out of their comfort zone, it seems they should also join en masse - in support, not as leaders - the protesters that have been braving it out on Ferguson streets day in and day out since the killing of Michael Brown.

The reality is that White people clapping in dignified solidarity, especially as a brief commercial break during their night at the symphony, will not ultimately move the systems and structures of power - especially those that repeatedly refuse to see and affirm the dignity and value of Black life.

Hopefully, however, at least for some of the people involved, this helps to create a pathway to more of that foundational engagement of those power structures.


The Other ‘Talk’ We Must Have With Our Children – “We Must Continue to Fight for Justice!”

The Jordan Davis case led some parents to give their kids “the talk.”
But doing so absolves white people of their responsibility to unlearn stereotypes that scare them.

- Tonyaa Weathersbee, 02 12 14 @ The Root

There was a piece posted on The Root last week that captures my exact sentiments about the continuing injustices we face - more specifically our children, at the hands of white adults who claim to fear them.

The main point is that we have to be very clear about the messages we send our children when we only tell them to walk a certain way, talk a certain way, and to be overly deferential to white people they come across, be it on the street, in a place of business, in their own neighborhood, or in a local gas station parking lot.

Yes, we have to teach our children how to survive in a racist society. But we also have to teach them how to organize and resist so that ours, theirs and generations yet unborn can be guaranteed a brighter future.

This is not a game.

For all of you who have children, be they little girls or little boys... you know the stakes.

And the stakes is high!

Here's a brief excerpt from Tonyaa Weathersbee's article at The Root.

In the 2002 book Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South, Charles Gratton recalled his mother’s instructions when she sent him to the grocery store. She told him, “If you pass any white people on your way, get off the sidewalk. Give them the sidewalk. Don’t challenge white people.”

Similarly, many black people who grew up during Jim Crow times remember being told not to look white people in the eye and to avoid doing things that might get them hurt or killed for being defiant or, as they would say back then, uppity.

A refusal to turn down music or take off a hoodie could translate into being uppity for whites like Dunn, who believe that black youths—who, like many of their white counterparts, are grappling with awkwardness and immaturity—owe it to them to suppress their attitude.

They don’t.

I get that it’s important to give black youths the advice they need to be able to live to fight another day, as Guns and others are doing. But we cannot forget the importance of fighting conditions, such as Florida’s “Stand your ground” law, that feed the idea that whites like Dunn can get away with fatally shooting a black youth like Jordan because he and his friends didn’t comply with their request.

We cannot forget, because something is horribly wrong when, more than a half-century after legal segregation ended, when we have a black man sitting in the Oval Office, Jim Crow-era instructions are being revived to protect black youths. These instructions have little to do with young black people being respectful to white strangers and everything to do with them being submissive to whites—with black youths giving white strangers permission to cling to fears about blackness by not being so, well, black.

And when we make black youths solely responsible for not frightening white people with their music or their style of dress or their swagger, we absolve white people of their responsibility to unlearn the stereotypes that are scaring them.

We cannot forget—because if we do, the next thing you know, we’ll be telling our kids to give up the sidewalk to white people.



Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, The Invisible Weight of Whiteness

Perceptions about race shape everyday experiences, public policies, opportunities for individual achievement, and relations across racial and ethnic lines. URI's Fall Honors Colloquium will explore key issues of race, showing how race still matters.

Speaker Eduardo Bonilla-Silva is a Professor of Sociology at Duke University.

From the University of Rhode Island.  Fall 2010.


Why Do People Stereotype Black Men? Ask Your Brain.

Here's a short yet insightful video (approx. 2 min.) from the Open Society Institute, and the Campaign for Black Male Achievement...

How do we overcome preconceptions and anxiety about race? "Part of understanding racial anxiety is simply naming it," says Alexis McGill Johnson, executive director of the American Values Institute.

Once you identify your own racial preconceptions, Johnson says, "you can give yourself different guidance in how you want to treat the conversation, by recognizing that no one is in this conversation to call you racist. We're just in this conversation to have a better dialogue."

If you’re constantly stressed and also suffer from any problems, Laweekly website could help your symptoms improve.