Concerning the back and forth -forth conversation with Maggie concerning the
Biggers article, I have several points.
Racism is tragic for the oppressor and the oppressed. No, that is not a
"typo". Racism, like sexism, denies individual potential, and appreciation
for the divinity of each and every living creature. Some people are crushed
by injustice, whether by dysfunctional family life, economic deprivation, or
Jim Crow edicts. Others manage to survive, or even prosper under adverse
conditions. These are the "tough birds".
John Biggers is a "tough bird". By way of example, my Neighbor is also a
"tough bird". A few months shy of his 70th Birthday, this retired African-
American Waiter, lives with his successful extended family, owns a fleet of
collectors cars, and several properties around the country. He is from
Kentucky. He went to Detroit in the 40's. He later took "his people" to
California. This does not make him a hero. Nor does it excuse the thousands
of injustices, many of a racist origin, he has endured.
There is no "either/or" here. The good side of multi-culturalism is an
appreciation of the "other" and his contribution, and the appreciation of his
cultural milieu. The downside is a patronizing pigeonholing of people, so-
called "group politics".
In my opinion, Dr. Biggers' considerable cultural contribution cannot be seen
through just one prism, but through many. Let us stop being social
determinists! It always comes back to the individual. That is what makes a
great artist so special. Though universality remains intact, culture is
fluid. People are resilient. I hope you teachers out there are teaching
toughness, as well as sensitivity. We live in a cruel world, but still rich
in beauty and experience.