Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | March 31, 2014

March 31 2014 Host Emma Breacain Gets Advice from Leah Crenshaw-Pepke on Being Less Racist

leahandtravis

 

Grainy, black-and-white photos and films of the civil rights movement can give Americans the impression that our race issues were addressed and resolved long go. But many of the people in those comfortably old-timey looking documents are still very much alive and active, and so are our problems.

Those of us who consider ourselves educated and evolved, those of us who do not “feel” racist, may be surprised to learn that we are still guilty of words and behavior that are hurting our friends’ feelings and creating distance between us. Think you got a handle on this when you started referring to black people as African American? Not so fast.

Leah Crenshaw-Pepke, a Humboldtian transplant from Georgia, is here to help us sort it out. She’s one of the 1.3% of Humboldt County residents who identifies as black and she’s stepping up as unofficial community spokesperson to help us well-intentioned types understand some things. Where is the subtle difference between appreciating and appropriating a culture? What does blackface mean and why is it still happening in the twentyfirst century? How come being “colorblind” isn’t helping? And what’s it like being married to a white guy?

With a little communication and empathy, we may yet achieve some real progress. For those interested in exploring the topic further, here are some articles recommended by Leah:

The writings of Ta-nehisi Coates: http://m.theatlantic.com/ta-nehisi-coates/

A primer on “dog whistle” language: http://www.salon.com/2014/01/20/the_rights_dog_whistle_trick_how_it_exploits_racism_to_rip_apart_the_social_safety_net/

And more on the history of blackface: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1919122 

To listen to Emma’s conversation with Leah Crenshaw-Pepke, click the following link:     3-31-2014 Emma Leah Crenshaw Pepke

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