LITHONIA, GA. — How do we start a national dialogue on race?
Charlotte Griffin was at a restaurant one evening when a white woman complimented her on her children’s behavior. The stranger may have meant to be kind. But Griffin wondered if she heard a note of condescension — an assumption, perhaps, that black kids aren’t usually so polite.
How do we navigate that minefield?
As a teenager, Stan North went to work on the assembly line at Ford. He made good money. But he noticed that he — like all the other white guys — always got the dirty jobs. Seething, he concluded that the boss wouldn’t dare give a black man heavy lifting, for fear of being tagged a racist.
How do we acknowledge that anger?
In his recent address on race relations in America — prompted by his minister’s explosive sermons on that topic — Sen. Barack Obama declared that whites must understand the black experience in America and blacks must appreciate the white perspective. Otherwise, he said, we face a grinding “racial stalemate.”
His remarks struck a nerve: More than 4 million people watched the Democratic presidential candidate on live TV, and the speech is now a top video on YouTube, viewed nearly 3 million times.