Stacey Dash set a new standard for clueless when she recently told Fox News:
We” need to make up our minds on if we want segregation or integration. If we don’t want segregation we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards.” To continue her viewpoint, she claimed that there shouldn’t be a Black History Month because “we’re Americans, period.
Cornell Professor Dr. Anthony Burrow (aka Tony Burrow of Enloe High School), wrote an open letter to Stacey.
I remember you in Clueless. You weren’t awful in it, and now I know why.
I saw that you’d like to dispose of Black History Month because, as you confidently state, “We are Americans, period, that’s it.” One should use ‘we’ more delicately if one abhors being a member of the group, but that is a digression. Instead, I was hoping you could explain these American numbers:
- White families have 16X the wealth of Black families.
- Black families make 61% of what White families make.
- On average, Black men live to age 71; White men live to age 76.
- 1 out of 17 white men will be imprisoned. 1 out of 3 black men will.
- 1 out of 18 black women will be imprisoned. 1 out of 111 white women will.
- Black youth serve offense sentences at a rate 18X higher than white youth.
- 2 out of 3 white youth surpass their parents income. 1 out of 3 black youth do (indicating downward mobility).
- 19% of Blacks earn undergraduate degrees. 1 out of 3 whites do.
It is actually difficult to find meaningful statistics about Americans for which there are no racial disparities. Like, way more difficult than most people think. So what exactly do you mean, “..that’s it”? If “that’s it”, …I mean, if that’s REALLY it…then what are we to do with the gross and ubiquitous disparities that create very distinct realities for Americans based on their race? Can’t Black History Month create an opportunity to talk about what gives rise to and maintains some of the statistics above? Can’t it create opportunities to showcase how, despite the statistics above, some people have found ways to persist, and sometimes even thrive? Can’t it also create an opportunity to acknowledge that we are, in fact, not all the same – and allow us to stop pretending we live in similar realities with no meaningful distinctions?
Word Tony. Word!