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November 30, 2005

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I was calling in, what I wanted to draw attention to is socioeconomically, in Battle Creek, MI. I think it could be reflected other places. Schools are funded by taxes raised from an empoverished tax base. The opportunities are not seen in these communities, and teacher frustration is high. The lack of facilities and abilities to move into higher paying jobs really affect hope. I see education and the hope for a better life it provides being denied largely to black communities, and to a less extent poor white communities.

A caller just suggested that inter-racial marriage - and peoples reaction to such marriage, was a litmus test.

I agree and so the response of one of the studio guests was disturbing:

... that interracial couples are ostracized by their family, community and members of their own race.

Not "sometimes" ostracized. No positive experiences were mentioned.

Disappointed,

Todd
member of an interracial family

I applaude Jack L. for taking on this topic; we need to keep talking and acknowledging the racism that exists. I grew up in Birmingham, MI and my only interaction of different race from mine being the domestic help. I wanted to learn about others and went to MSU. However, S. Birdiett's take on E Lansing was what I experienced. And even though I wanted to meet African Americans (took a class in the history of it) I did not feel welcomed when in the minority in that particular class. Ironically, that was just a taste of what Black people experience. Only when I hired an African American to take care of my twins and joined Renaissance Unity where Marianne Williamson spoke of racism and slavery and attracted a racially mixed congregation did I start to really know people outside of my race. My opinion is this: we all are more comfortable being in our own "kind" be it of culture, values, or educational level and yes, race. And it is easier. It becomes uncomfortable to walk outside of the box, but we all need to face the fear of the unknown to us, reach out, and trust a little. I choose to believe difference is made one person at a time. Please keep up the conversation! I still have alot to learn.

Please, please, please stop using the term, "race" when talking about people!

There is no such thing as there being different "races" among human beings. There is only one "race" and that is the Human Race! Saying that there are different "races" is the same thing as saying that we are different species. That, of course, is no true. Different species cannot mate and bear viable, non-steril young. And, some of the most beautiful people in the world are the product of so-called "interracial" relationships.

Using the term, "race" is scientifically inaccurate and divisive. The concept of "race" is the product of white supremists. The continued use of the term gives credibility to their warped, ignorant beliefs.

If one wishes to differentiate us, then the use of the words, "ethnic" or "ethnicity" are appropriate and correct. "Culture" and "cultural" will also do. The truth of the matter is, we, us, humanity are far, far more alike than we are different.

Robert
Battle Creek, MI

I found today's topic quite interesting. However, I would like to make a positive comment about racism in Michigan.I am the founder and director of the nationally famous Jackson High School Black History Tour Group. This group was founded ll years ago to break down the walls of racism everywhere and to promote racial harmony. The Tour Group is composed of 35 students who travel Michigan and the country to get across the messagae that diversity is in and racism is out. We have had overwhelming success. The Tour Group targets areas where there is little diversity. For example, this year we performed at Howell High School and the students and staff were very receptive. The Tour group does programs which include:skits, dramatic readings, singing, poetry, and cultural history. I have found that so many people do not understand blacks because they have had no exposure to blacks or the black culture. The Tour Group has performed for thousands of school students as well as churches and community events. All white churches have called on us to come and perform for them and teach them about the black culture. This group is making a difference everywhere. The Tour Group has take its message even to the White House, having performed there twice as well as performing for the Presidential Inauguration. I see young people making a difference and breaking down racism. I find that most people who have racial issues are older. Racism is taught to children. If people grow up being racist, they will pass that poison on to their children. Racism is wrong and more importantly, it is a sin before God. The only way to get racism out of people is to get it out of their hearts. Only God can do that.
Mrs. Shirley Pitts Founder of the Jackson High School Black History Tour Group; 517-841-3831

I was suprised to hear an expert, Sandra Combs Birdiett, claim that East Lansing is racially segregated. Yes, she was correct in that there are dorms at MSU that are considered "Black Dorms." However, it should be noted that over the last 5 years, African American students have self-segreated into the Hubbard & Akers area. Further, when asked about Lansing's racial segregation, Birdiett, went on to say that she did not know about Lansing, but she knows about East Lansing. Apparently, that was false as well. Birdiett claimed that East Lansing is very racially segreated and that there are areas where the black students live, the asian students, etc. I'd like to ask her to tell us where those areas are. Birdiett did a great disservice to a community she obviously does not know much about. It appears she does not even live in East Lansing either.

If she is going to make blanket statements about a community she does not really understand, she should state that before saying her mind. I'm a resident of East Lansing, and I am proud that our city is very integrated. After living in EL for over 7 years, I can tell Birdiett of no real segregated areas. Yes there are some areas that people have chosen to group together - such as the foreign students who all choose to live in the same apt building so they can share their culture from home easily. However, EL does not have areas of segregation like Flint or Detroit where people have no way to move out (AKA White Flight).

So next time, Birdiett, please speak about what you know and leave what you don't really know left unsaid.

To the EL Resident who said I know nothing about EL, I have lived in East Lansing 4-5 days each week since January.

Ms Bidriett,

Your just under a year in East Lansing has given you a very limited understanding of the city. Please refrain from commenting on EL in the future until you really understand it.

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