by irene bean

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A Solid Foundation



Not Trying to be Corny

This Little Light of Mine

We Were Once Young

Veni, Vedi, Vinca

U Tube Has a New Star

Packing a 3-Iron

Getting Personal

Welcome Again

Well... Come on in

Christmas Shopping

There's no Substitute

Dressed for Success

Cancun Can-Can

Holy Guacamole

Life can be Crazy

The New Dog

Hurricane Reenie

He Delivers

No Spilt Milk

Naked Fingers


Have Ya Heard the One About?

The Great Caper


Barney's P***S

My New Security System


Well, I've decided I must be blind to sensitive social issues. There's no other explanation, but it's certainly not intentional.

Several years ago I attended Parents' Weekend at my son's college. Cornell is a liberal campus, albeit not as liberal as Berkeley, Stanford, and other fine institutions. But Cornell is a campus of vast diversity in color, religion and tolerance to sexual orientation.

The weekend included optional workshops for parents to attend. I chose the Diversity Workshop. The audience was heavily represented by social workers, teachers, couples of mixed ethnicity, volunteers, leaders of social causes, and simple good-hearted people like me.

Much to my dismay (and many others), the workshop was insufferable. It reeked of reverse intolerance via videos and guest speakers. I suddenly became aware that my well-meaning tenets were no longer fashionable, and much to my shock, no longer well-meaning. Some poor boob in the audience (thank God, not me) used the phrase colorblind, a phrase which is clearly no longer acceptable. This became apparent when a sickening rumble of snickers and guffaws rose from the back of the room where there was a row of angry Afro-Americans. It was as though they were plants.

Since that dismaying episode, I've done a lot of research. I won't bore you with vast quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr., John Marshall Harlan, or Patricia Williams, but essentially, colorblindness used to be a good thing, a lofty goal.

Desegregation seems to have become a moot point, or come to a puzzling full circle. Today, groups of diversity are clamoring for... no demanding, segregation. This is a real head-scratcher for me, because, I quote:

"The Negro is no longer willing to accept racial segregation in any of its dimensions. For we have come to see that segregation is not only sociologically untenable, it is not only politically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Segregation is a cancer in the body politic, which must be removed before our democratic health be realized." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Somewhere in time, and I must have been snoozing, desegregation became as archaic and offensive as the word negro. And I don't get it. Heck, I understand pride of heritage - I embrace my Irish roots like a potato in fertile soil.

And could the following words not ring truer today?

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically
bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the
bright daylight of peace and brotherhood can never become
reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Finally, one more quote. It is an excerpt from today's Cornell Sun, which is a student run daily:

"There is no doubt that the silent majority on campus is opposed to the idea of racially segregated program houses. But unfortunately, it is the residents of Ujamaa, the Latino Living Center, and Akwe:kon who care enough about the issue to hog the microphone. The idea that there are students unwilling to live with people of other races at Cornell is utterly outrageous."

This is today's youth speaking. So, maybe I'm not an old fool after all. I guess I'm just wondering what Little Rock, Selma, Freedom Rides, and the March on Washington were all about.

I suppose I will continue to bumble along with my naivete. I will continue to listen and try to honor the needs and wants of others. But needs and wants are tricky issues, and I fear, more than ever, we are standing on quicksand. It's kinda like, "I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't." I'll continue to try to make a difference in my own simple, good-hearted way, but maybe instead of seeing people with colorblind eyes, I will use a colorblind heart, which is what I really have been doing all along.

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