Friday, September 18, 2009

Regular folks are talking more about racism and sharing their stories

NOW member, Jocelyn Morris


As a retired person I’ve had a lot of time to read the news and although I welcomed Jimmy Carter’s forthright statements about race, it’s clear many did not. I’m stunned by some of the responses such as these reported by Politico:


Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards, who has represented a conservative, heavily white Texas district for 18 years, said he didn’t believe there was any evidence to support Carter’s assertion that racial factors had motivated Wilson.
“I just don’t want a divisive dialogue on race to become a battering ram of division for our country,” he said.
Alabama Democratic Rep. Artur Davis agreed. “It’s not a productive or healthy conversation,” he said.

Read more: here

No evidence?? Not a healthy conversation?? Sure I am worried that focus on the racism of right wing extremists might fuel opposition to Obama, but enabling those who are in denial is what’s really unhealthy.

I do think a lot of regular folks are talking more and sharing feelings and stories on a personal level.

I'd like to share the story I received from my friend and NOW sister, Jocelyn Morris about her experiences. Jocelyn is a Philly native, former East Mt. Airy resident, former president of Germantown NOW and currently a member of the national NOW Combating Racism Committee. She now works for US Army in Missouri

My Story:

I have worked as a civilian for 23 years for the U.S. Army. My current
position is a combat Developer in the Maneuver Support Battle Lab doing
limited and other types of experiments on new equipment and concepts
before material solutions are developed. We have 23 employees in our
department. There are only 2 Black Females and no other minorities.

Yesterday, is typical in that most meetings I attend I am the only Black
and only Woman in the meeting. Yesterday was a little different because
there were 2 other women in attendance. However, I was the only Black
and no other minorities were in attendance.

We were doing an update on our programs to the Commanding General and
other schools and directorate leadership. During the briefing, a lower
ranking Soldier comes into the meeting with a mug of something to drink
to give the General. When I told my husband about it he said maybe he
is the General's driver and assistant. My comment was it was a
continuation of the Slave Plantation mentality to have a Black Man
(Soldier) serving/waiting on a White Man (General). Don't they see or
get it at all? I can't remember a time when I have seen this
relationship any different. Racism at its finest!

Is it because I am Black, that automatically when I enter a room, I
notice whether I am the only minority there? Do Whites notice the lack
of minorities in the setting they are in (Work, social, sports, etc.)?
The "Old Boys Network (White and male) is slowly being infiltrated by
women (One at a time mostly), because organizations like NOW are out
there fighting a daily battle for Equality for Women and other
Minorities. We should not let these incidences of racism go
unchallenged.

My husband said I should contact our new Black General (One star pinned
on 1 Sep 09) and see if he has a White Driver/Assistant). I might just
do that (Smiles)!!!

Yours in Global Sisterhood,

Jocelyn P. Morris

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