Mark Twain once said that travel is the cure to racism
Travel is one of my favorite things in the world. On a deeper level, it allows us the opportunity to meet and get to know people who are not the same as us. The unintentional result is that we get to undo ingrained unconscious bias we have towards others.
This essay uses my 2021 visit to Istanbul to highlight the idea of ending racial and ethnic distancing to eradicate our deep biases.
Blacks and Jews once modeled a path to end racial distancing
To escape the horrific racism and systemic oppression in the South, beginning in 1916, millions of southern Blacks migrated north and west to places like Chicago, East St. Louis, Compton, Oakland and Baltimore. And to Harlem, which at the time was home to a sizable Yiddish-speaking Jewish community, also trying to make their own way in a still challenging America. Blacks and Jews were each other’s neighbors, customers, and employers.
One result of that was Black men and women becoming Jewish cantors. Cantors lead the Hebrew (and back then Yiddish) prayer songs on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. This odd entry into Jewish religious life presented an opportunity for Jews and Blacks to get to know each other and end what I call racial and ethnic distancing. This essay explores that fascinating time in our history.
Beauty, Lessons, Challenges and Repair
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I landed in the Rwandan capital city of Kigali. I was visiting East Africa as part of Africa Development Promise’s program to support women-owned farming cooperatives.
I had done my fair share of reading about various parts of Africa over the years and certainly didn’t have a monolithic view of the continent. But you can’t grow up in a western country without having at least some unconscious bias about the continent being “backwards.” It’s not like I thought of countries as “shitholes” or anything, but I still approached my trip with a combination of excitement and apprehension.
This piece explores my travels to Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda and what lessons we can learn from the beautiful continent of Africa.
It's about understanding and trust
Do-gooders have come out of the woodwork since the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others.
For most of us fighting for social and racial justice, it’s a welcome and long overdue awakening. Black and brown people have waited years for a national outcry like this. For people to take to the streets. Protest. Speak up. Vote. Never in the United States’ two and a half centuries of existence has there been this level of simultaneous compassion and outrage. It’s a great renewal of the civil rights activity of the 1960s.
This is an interview conducted by Megan Marini. Megan helps high-achievers, who know that there is untapped potential within, face what holds them back and bring their mind/body back into balance, so that they can operate at peak performance.
Below is Megan's unedited version of her interview!
And for more on Megan's podcast or coaching head over to our HQ: www.meganmarini.com
VACCINATING AGAINST UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Diversity trainer and author Jeffrey Kass has developed a method for ending racial strife with a method he calls End Racial Distancing. It involves creating space in our after 5:00 p.m. spaces and more intimate spaces in life for people who are different than ourselves. We can’t possibly learn and respect each other on a deeper level if we don’t start integrating our homes. If we don’t end racial distancing. This is the key to ending unconscious bias that plagues so many of us.
TIME TO CELEBRATE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Lovers of peace and justice have a tough time assigning anything good to Donald Trump. By any standard, he stoked the flames of hatred, gave renewed voice to white supremacists and disrespected so many groups it was hard to keep track. From Charlottesville good people on both sides to Mexican rapists, nobody fighting for social justice respects Trump. So when 45 helped procure multiple peace agreements in the Middle East, many on the left remained silent. Author and activist Jeffrey Kass reminds us in this essay that the peace agreements he helped secure among Israel, UAE, Dubai and Morocco are good, regardless of the wrapping paper they came in. That anytime you bring former enemies to peace and normalization it’s a good thing.
This essay is a must read for people wanting intellectual honesty. Lovers of peace and justice have a tough time assigning anything good to Donald Trump. By any standard, he stoked the flames of hatred, gave renewed voice to white supremacists and disrespected so many groups it was hard to keep track. From Charlottesville good people on both sides to Mexican rapists, nobody fighting for social justice respects Trump. So when 45 helped procure multiple peace agreements in the Middle East, many on the left remained silent.
Author and activist Jeffrey Kass reminds us in this essay that the peace agreements he helped secure among Israel, UAE, Dubai and Morocco are good, regardless of the wrapping paper they came in. That anytime you bring former enemies to peace and normalization it’s a good thing. This essay is a must read for people wanting intellectual honesty.
HUMANIZING HUMANS ONE MEAL AT A TIME
One of the biggest reasons we have so much disconnect in America is that Black and White folks aren’t taking time to get to know each other on a personal level. This essay advocates for starting with a meal. Not politics. Not issues. Not solutions. Just breaking bread with someone. We often talk over people who are different than ourselves. Like two ships passing in the night with so much lack of understanding of the other. It’s too easy to react to a news story or a traumatic event about another group if we haven’t taken the time to know people from that group on a deeper level. It all starts with a meal, argues author Jeffrey Kass in this essay.
The Misplaced Decision to Deport 250,000 College Students
The Trump administration used COVID-19 to expel certain international students who would not be attending classes in person—which during the pandemic was almost every person from a country of people of color. Author Jeffrey Kass discusses the importance of diversity of people and ideas in education, as well as the untold amount of contributions immigrants, including many of color, have made to this country.
The town hall aired on Wednesday, June 3 on 9Listens. You can watch it again on the video player attached to this story.
Author: Allison Sylte
Published: 6:59 PM MDT June 2, 2020
Updated: 8:41 PM MDT June 3, 2020
DENVER — The “9LISTENS: Racism and the Road to Change” town hall brought together multiple different voices who discussed race in Colorado, the death of George Floyd and where we go from here.
Those voices ranged from Elisabeth Epps of the Colorado Freedom Fund, who has marched alongside protesters in downtown Denver, to Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen, who heads an institution many demonstrated against and Jeffrey Kass, a thought-Leader On Race, Society, and Culture as well as an Award-Winning Author.
READING THE ESSAYS
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