keshaperry

Uncomfortable Yet?

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

“Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences, our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging.”

These words should be vaguely familiar; these were Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s remarks to nonwhite jurists in a speech in the early 2000s. When I heard them, I immediately wondered: whatever happened to the color blind society promised in the 1960s? And if our justices believe this, then what does that say about their impartiality and objectivity? Quite frankly, these remarks make Americans quite uncomfortable. We have yet to resolve the “race issue” or as W.E.B. DuBois would say, “the color line.” We hailed the emergence of the post-racial society with the election of Barack Obama and so…we still are left uncomfortable???

Today is a rather emotional one for me–with the deaths of Apple Co-Founder and CEO Steve Jobs, legal scholar and father of critical race theory Derrick Bell, and civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth–all three visionaries, on varying levels influenced my life’s journey. I find it fitting that on this day I recall Justice Sotomayor’s comments because all three painted the world, their view through their experiences and work. It is difficult to be impartial because we are all biased, but that does not excuse us from seeking the greater truth.

This quest may make individuals uncomfortable, just as Justice Sotomayor, it calls into question our pursuit for justice, equality, and fairness or the American Dream. Do we want a post-racial society? What is it like when we remove our distinct cultural differences and form a rather standard or generic society? Is that American? What about the diversity in ideals and opinions, and dare I say religion? Do we lose character? So many questions, and yet so often we, that is all of us, from time to time, fail each other because we do not take the opportunity to take on these deep questions or challenges. Sometimes we hide behind stereotypes, we look to them to secure our position on how we may feel about women, Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, etc. We use stereotypes to absolve us from deeper exploration.

I make people uncomfortable; in the workplace and in society, I make people uncomfortable. Because of my locs, because of my constant questioning, because I am observant and silent, because?…I champion for justice, truth, and fairness. I make people uncomfortable because I wear my colors well: red, white, and blue. I am a proud American. I know this country is not perfect, my state is not perfect, my city is far from perfect, but that does not hinder my efforts in learning, growing, and exploring. It is the pursuit for better that makes me commit and devote my all to public service.

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