The Critical Challenge of Calling Out Racism
Recently, Lake Oswego has been grappling with issues of racism and intolerance in its schools and public spaces. Paul T. Miller will discuss his strategy for addressing these issues. Miller holds a Ph.D. in African American Studies. He is the author of 'The Postwar Struggle for Civil Rights, African Americans in San Francisco' and has taught classes on American racism and African American history at both San Francisco State University and Temple University. Miller lives in Lake Oswego with his family.
In order to effectively combat racisim and intollerance, it’s critical to confront such hate head on and that white residents who make up 87% of the city’s population actively participate in the fight. It is also important to remember that individual or small-group occurrences such as racist graffiti at schools or people using racial epithets are end products of systemic racism — an organized system of white supremacy that is widespread and woven into the fabric of America. It is imperative we take on both the obvious overt acts and the underlying systemic infrastructure if we are serious about making lasting progress. Confronting racism must be deliberative, intentional and well planned. Activists must be unflinching and intrepid. The alternative is to prove Atlantic journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates correct when he notes, "For most African Americans, white people exist either as a direct or an indirect force for bad in their lives."