I’ve been doing the media thing a bit while I get this book done.
Yesterday I was on Midday with Dan Rodricks. Last week (while I was on the way to tape for NPR incidentally) Congress passed a resolution apologizing for slavery. We debated its merits on the show. You can listen in here. Dr. Carol Swain was Dan’s other guest. She’s pretty conservative, so I expected her to be against it…and I was right, but wrong. She was against it, but because she felt it was weak, and done under the wrong administration–she suggested Bush do it in 2004.
What I tried to drive home was that while this was a failed apology in some aspects–because it was a voice vote we can’t really distinguish who supports it and who doesn’t, to the extent this is about truth and reconciliation there was little “truth” telling, and it wasn’t really “advertised” (how many of my readers even know this occurred?)–it represents a political opportunity. An opportunity to actually press the government to talk about what they are apologizing for, an opportunity to use this moment to begin not only a larger conversation, but to continue mobilizing for resources. Swain and most of the callers didn’t see it. But for me politics is about pushing forward and extending possibilities in the face of compromise.
On Monday theGrio published a piece I wrote on black fraternity and sorority improprieties. When criticizing black fraternities and sororities we tend to focus on either perceived exclusionary practices–selecting folks based on loot, or on skin color–or on hazing. While I’ve never seen evidence of the first in my twenty years in, I do understand that the second is a problem. However a problem that we don’t spend much time dealing with, because of the secretive practices of the organizations themselves, is their anti-democratic business practices. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sued the International President and the International Board because the board awarded the president a stipend of $250,000 without either informing or vetting the decision with the body. Check that piece out here.
Finally I visited the Barbershop last week, to talk about Iran, about Kobe, about the GOP, and about Father’s Day. I’m pretty sure our discussion about Iran got cut short, but i really wish we could have extended it because the discussion we had in the studio was rich. And for what it’s worth though I watched less of this NBA championship than any NBA championship I can recall, I think that what Kobe accomplished puts him in a very very small group. The only other star player to get a ring without another Hall of Fame/Top Fifty type player is Hakeem Olajuwon. Not Isiah. Not Bird. Not Jordan. Not Shaq.
Maybe Garnett as I think of it, depending on how we think of Ray Allen and Paul Pierce…..