Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Facing Race just happened

I was not at Facing Race 2010 and it appears we missed a good one. It seems that rising star Melissa Harris-Lacewell was the keynote speaker and knocked it out of the park, if she will forgive the sports metaphor.

The following is lifted from a post at JJP by the Christian Progressive Liberal.

Oh, my, where to start in reporting about my experience at “Facing Race”?

First off, let me say this – “Facing Race” is not your parents’ Diversity Conference. In fact, it’s not a diversity conference at ALL.

Facing Race is not for the faint of heart – nor is it for people who work in diversity and are usually mandated by your job to be in attendance. It is not for those who can’t stand to hear the painful, honest truth about race; yet these are the very imbeciles who think if they attend a diversity conference or two, that qualifies them to lead discussions on race and racial issues from THEIR perspective, and not the perspectives of the people of color who suffer and live with race on a daily basis.

Facing Race does just what the name says – FACING the Issues Regarding RACE. No “Kuubaayah” moments in this set.

And what a profound experience it was. When 800+ people attend such a conference because they want to really unite our communities; not because they are mandated; not because they are curious:

You have a conference that really does the meat and potatoes discussion of race issues, where POC cheer, and any whites not Tim Wise will wince, moan, groan, leave the room – anything to avoid hearing the hard TRUTH about Race in America, and not how the media wants to frame the issue.

This is the first part of a series of articles I will be doing on “Facing Race”, a nitty-gritty conference held every two years where practitioners attend to plan, organize, strategize and mobilize on the ground forces to facilitate true democracy and equality By Any Means Necessary.

“We don’t do “Diversity” at this conference”, said Rinku Sen, the Executive Director of Applied Research Center, and publisher of the magazine, “Colorlines”, and host of this conference. “We discuss real issues of race – this is a community of people who care about race gather, and aren’t afraid to confront issues of race in a real and forthcoming way.”

“We are trying to consolidate the base and continue to build the community,” Rinku told me. “We share are collective learning experiences in modernizing the racial justice movement. Where there is ‘motion’, we claim it as a ‘movement’”.

ProfGeo note: If you are reading this post, white, and "not Tim Wise" (which is not exactly how I would've put it, but I think CPL was in the heat of the moment) I would encourage you to click through and read the post anyway as it lays out some specifics from Dr. Lacewell that are worthwhile for discussion and maybe for wide adoption.

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