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Some thoughts on racism
February 26, 2009 - Bill Ackerbauer
Before Black History Month is over, I want to offer a couple of items that might serve as food for thought on the subjects of race and social justice:
1. First, a tip of my hat to FMCC Evans Library reference librarian Michael Daly, who gave my English students a presentation last night that included useful advice on how to judge the merits of material on the Internet. In a nutshell, he suggested that when you read something online, consider certain key factors that indicate how reliable the material is: if you can't tell from looking at the site who wrote the material or which organization sponsors it, or when it was last updated, it might not be reliable.
He offered the following Web site as an excellent example of a Web site that presents itself as a sound academic resource, but its credentials are actually highly questionable: www.martinlutherking.org. Take a look and see how long it takes before you have an unpleasant "ah-hah" moment. Or an "oh-no" moment.
2. I heard on the radio this morning that the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization dedicated to researching and resisting the influence of hate groups (the KKK and their ilk), recently released a report saying the number of such groups in the U.S. rose to a record number last year. You can read the report in all its disturbing detail here: http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/intrep.jsp
3. Last night in class, I had my students read an essay by Debra Dickerson that was published at Slate back in 2004. She wrote the piece before we acheived our supposedly "post-racial" condition with the historic election of President Obama (which I don't buy), but her argument remains valid: We can't make any progress toward creating a more just society if we don't think carefully and speak frankly about race and bigotry. Read it here: "Racist Like Me"
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