Speak Up! Responding to Everyday Bigotry

SPEAK UP!

Your brother routinely makes anti-Semitic comments. Your neighbor uses the N-word in casual conversation. Your co-worker ribs you about your Italian surname, asking if you’re in the mafia. Your classmate insults something by saying, “That’s so gay.”

And you stand there, in silence, thinking, “What can I say in response to that?” Or you laugh along, uncomfortably. Or, frustrated or angry, you walk away without saying anything, thinking later, “I should have said something.”

People spoke about encounters in stores and restaurants, on streets and in schools. They spoke about family, friends, classmates and co-workers. They spoke about what they did or didn’t say — and what they wished they did or didn’t say.

And no matter the location or relationship, the stories echo each other.

Speak Up! is a book that shares love, insight and pain, but also offers “lost words”, practical solutions and hope for a better tomorrow.

Download your free copy of SPEAK UP!

Another great resource offered by Teaching Tolerance.

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Poem: “On my applications” (biracial)

Here’s another great poem from Arnold Adoff that was in the book All the Colors of the Race that I featured yesterday.

On my applications

by Arnold Adoff

On my applications   I can

                               put:

this girl:

          a black,

             white,

Christian,

Jewish,

            young

            woman:

                 student,

                 musician,

singer,

dancer,

runner    in the middle distance races,

                 is willing to help you

                 if you take her as she

                                             is.

Poem: “The lady said” (biracial)

Here is a tiny treasure that I found in the library this summer. A book of poems, All the Colors of the Race, written by Arnold Adoff. Based on his own interracial family, Adoff writes from the perspective of his biracial (black/white) daughter, which I find very interesting. At first I was a bit thrown off because I generally prefer poetry to rhyme, however, his style is considered “free verse” poetry. The more I read (and re-read) them, the more I fall in love with them! I hope you do too.

The lady said

by Arnold Adoff

The lady said:       what are you going to

                                                 be

                                when you grow

                                all the way up?

And I said:      a woman.

And she said.     No. I mean what are

                                          you

                                          now?

And I said:   a girl.

And she said:   No. I mean what do you call

                                        yourself?

And I said:   Honey. Baby. Sweet

                                       potato

                                       pie

                                       face me.

If she finds it hard,

                     I find it easy

     to make it hard for her.

Poem: “The Cold Within” by James Patrick Kinney

The Cold Within

by James Patrick Kinney

Six humans trapped by happenstance
in black and bitter cold
Each possessed a stick of wood,
Or so the story’s told.

Their dying fire in need of logs,
the first woman held hers back
For on the faces around the fire
She noticed one was black.

The next man looking ‘cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes
He gave his coat a hitch,
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store,
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight,
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.

And the last man of this forlorn group
Did naught except for gain,
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death’s stilled hands
Was proof of human sin,
They didn’t die from the cold without,
They died from the cold within.

Music: “Free to be You and Me”

A couple days ago my 15 year old daughter called me in to watch a new back to school commercial from Target. “Listen to the song in the commercial!”, she said. She recognized one of her favorite childhood songs, “Free to be You and Me”. If you aren’t familiar with the song, I have included the song above. These songs used to be on Sesame Street when I was a kid and are still very relevant today–your kids will LOVE them! What I love most about the songs are they are positive, encouraging and free of sterotypes based on gender, class and race. The cd is on Amazon for just $7.98 (5 star review) and all of the songs are available for preview. This cd would be a great gift to keep on-hand for both boys and girls! Some of our favorite songs have been, “Boy Meets Girl” (below), “Parents are People”, “It’s Alright to Cry” and “William Wants a Doll”. What are yours?

Poem: “Human Family” by Maya Angelou

(there’s nothing like hearing Maya Angelou share her poetry…such a gift!)

Human Family

by Maya Angelou

I note the obvious differences
in the human family.
Some of us are serious,
some thrive on comedy.

Some declare their lives are lived
as true profundity,
and others claim they really live
the real reality.

The variety of our skin tones
can confuse, bemuse, delight,
brown and pink and beige and purple,
tan and blue and white.

I’ve sailed upon the seven seas
and stopped in every land.
I’ve seen the wonders of the world,
not yet one common man.

I know ten thousand women
called Jane and Mary Jane,
I’ve not seen any two
who really were the same.

Mirror twins are different
although their features jibe,
and lovers think quite different thoughts
while lying side by side.

We love and lose in China,
we weep on England’s moors,
and laugh and moan in Guinea,
and thrive on Spanish shores.

We seek success in Finland,
are born and die in Maine.
In minor ways we differ,
in major we’re the same.

I note the obvious differences
between each sort and type,
but we are more alike, my friends
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends,
than we are unalike.

Artwork: Spirit of Life (multicultural babies)

“Spirit of Life” by Karen Brinkerhoff

One of the biggest blessings in creating iCelebrateDiversity.com has been meeting people who are just as passionate about diversity as me! Meet Karen Brinkerhoff:

Karen is an amazing artist who loves to paint the diversity of mankind. She has painted a beautiful series called “Spirit” that consist of the following titles: Spirit of Life (shown above), Spirit of Woman, Spirit of Prayer, Spirit of Freedom.

My youngest daughter is featured in the Spirit of Life. Can you guess which one is her?