In CommPRO, Richard Levick discusses a new era of diversity, equity & inclusion.
In the 1940s, my grandfather Lou loved baseball so much that he not only went to Washington Senators’ games at old Griffith Stadium, but when the Senators were on the road and the Homestead Grays of the old Negro League played there (splitting their time between Washington and Pittsburgh), he would go to those games, too. Years later, I would buy a reproduction of their old warm-up jacket for my father. It looked so good, I bought one for myself.
Belief in fairness and equity were always a huge part of the value system my grandfather and father passed on to me. Yet there were limits, for even Jewish liberals who suffered antisemitism and saw so many parallels with Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In 1968, when my parents returned from the Mexico City Olympics, my father said, “I support the message of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists, but did they have to do it there, on the medal stand at the Olympic Games?” Even at age ten I remember thinking, “Well, perhaps not, but where else would they get the world’s attention?”
Bigotry is easy to spot when it is intended. It’s a half century later and I can’t get the photos of Bull Connor, the Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety and other anti-civil rights thugs out of my mind. The dogs, the fire hoses, the chewing tobacco, the smugness, daring you to integrate “their” city. But unintended and unconscious acts of bias and exclusion? Those are harder to spot because they often occur in the synapses of our minds and take the form of omission or compliance with existing policy, not evil intent…Read more