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Rant. Muse. Eat. Sleep. Recycle.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Introducing Ray McCoy!

I am as pleased as punch to introduce a fifth member to the blog -- Ray McCoy! Ray will be waxing rhapsodic pretty much about whatever the heck he feels like and I am personally elated. Why? The man knows his way around a blog and his posts read like that of a very profound thinker. Between Graeme Anfinson, Craig Bardo, Kay Hansen and Ray, I can see I better step up my game! Now, I'll shut up and let Ray do the talking:

Earlier this month I gave a talk to a group of students about preparing for college. The students were 12th graders attending Higher Ground Academy. To my surprise my audience was primarily Somalis and Oromos. Higher Ground’s mission is “to create a socially committed, morally responsible, and ethnically diverse learning environment that values students individually and collectively.”
I wondered how I might connect with this group.

The students made it simple. They were, quite frankly, amazing.

They wanted to know everything about selecting a career path and the right college or university to help them reach their goals. My time with them was delightful. It gave me a glimpse of the future of the United States. We discussed the influence of racism on career choice, college matriculation and career advancement. We touched on the way in which the world views credentials as compared to “goodness of fit” or do we feel comfortable with religious differences, differences based on dress, culture and national origin. They presented a new energy and substance to the discussion about race, racism and Affirmative Action.

It was most evident that these new citizens soon to enter the adult world will push the boundaries of the age-old debates regarding race, gender, equity, access and opportunity.

As a Baby Boomer I benefited from the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. My life chances were profoundly influenced by the willingness of Black Americans to march and die in an effort to end segregation and provide equal access to education, employment and the promise of democracy. The history of the Civil Rights Movement and the strategies employed to achieve the gains so hard fought for and won will have to be reexamined as we seek to include so many others.

That is a good thing too. The debates about the Iraq War, Affirmative Action, Gay Marriage, U.S. policy in the Middle East and various other hot spots around the globe will be forever transformed when this generation of high school students enters the political debate. These high school students represent an opportunity to reframe discussions about access, equality and opportunity.

My hope is that we will recognize this as advancement in and of itself. My hope is that we will recognize that those whose national origin is Somali, Oromo, Ethiopian, Mexican, Salvadoran, Uzbekistan and many others are now citizens of this nation, did not share in our history but will share in and in some cases bear primary responsibility for shaping our future. They must be included and must be given room to make their contributions.

There is no future in attempts to exclude, marginalize or set them aside. In doing so, we only sow the seeds of our destruction. Our opportunity lies in setting aside our longing for the good ole days and walking boldly forward with the new faces of the United States. These new voices are just a stones throw away from the front lines of the seats of political power.

Let’s make room.

Posted by Ray McCoy


link | posted by Jae at 9:43 AM |


5 Comments:

Blogger troutsky commented at 9:33 PM~  

Welcome to a great blog Ray. I am wondering what your opinion is as to the depth or authenticity of this American "democracy" you seem to praise and how much responsibility you feel these new citizens will bear by having such privileged positions in a world of such unequally divided wealth and opportunity? The US is the also the seat of the worlds most powerful economic and military force with controlling interests in many parts of the globe. Will these new citizens be willing to exploit that power for increased gain? Will they see the connection between their opportunity and much of the worlds misery?

Blogger Renegade Eye commented at 5:30 PM~  

Welcome to this great blog.

Interesting post.

Anonymous Anonymous commented at 10:34 AM~  

Welcome Ray,

We all, regardless of our hue, benefitted from the righteous struggle for equal protection under the law. Our Republic (if you prefer Ren) fell short of its promise until that was accomplished throught the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the '64 & '65.

My frustration is that so many of us are stuck there. We keep looking back to that point, when many of those, like Medgar Evers, Dr. King and Malcolm Little would have wanted us to move beyond victim status and thinking to being fully engaged citizens of this great experiment.

We need to, with courage, burn that port, weigh anchor and sail on! So much of what holds us back is rooted in unfounded fear. We should enjoy the blessings of liberty that our forefathers died to secure and be vigilant that no thought process be allowed to collectively surpress the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.

Trout,

Uneven distribution of resources here results largely from uneven preparation, ability and effort. Most of the new wealth in this country is first generation wealth.

If the rest of the world were to adopt market economies, the rule of law (especially property rights) and limited goverment, they too would prosper and have something worthwhile defending.

Blogger GraemeAnfinson commented at 10:27 PM~  

Welcome aboard Ray! The supposed "good ole days" are long gone, we need to move forward, I agree.

If the rest of the world were to adopt market economies, the rule of law (especially property rights) and limited goverment, they too would prosper and have something worthwhile defending.

yeah, because the Washington Consensus worked soooo well.

Anonymous Kay commented at 2:40 PM~  

Great post, Ray. And what a message of hope. Blog posts often come from a place of anger and frustration which, while not a bad thing (in fact anger often sparks great debate and the occasional breakthrough) does not always point a way forward.

Also, I'm particularly gratified that you included gay marriage as a legitimate Civil Rights issue. "The history of the Civil Rights Movement and the strategies employed to achieve the gains so hard fought for and won will have to be reexamined as we seek to include so many others."

I guess it's human nature -- though, somewhat base -- for us to want to close the door once we've gained entrance. You seem to be saying that, once in, it is then our responsibility to guide the way for others.

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