My cousin Julie asked this of her Facebook friends, and I thought it would provide interesting and enlightening discussion here if you all are open to honest discussion.

We all know the awful truth about the “post-racial society’ myth that was propogated by pundits during Obama’s run for the White House. It was blown away quickly by the rancid amount of racist garbage spewed by McCain/Palin supporters on the road. It’s easy to slam outlandish bigotry, but the real end of racism will come from small acts in personal lives – extending yourself beyond your comfort zone to meet and converse with people who different from you for the sake of personal enrichment.

So with that, the Q of the day:

In an average week how often do you voluntarily spend time with people who are of a different race, religion or politics from your own? (Voluntarily means, for instance, that working with someone doesn’t count, but going to lunch with someone from work does.)

More below the fold.I’ve been interested in people who were from different backgrounds, races, religions. I credit my time at Stuyvesant for helping to cultivate that as well. Like most schools in the U.S., the lunchroom is often a place of racial segregation. This is true to an extent, but my group of fellow-geek friends shared the desire to learn more about the differences in race, religion, ethnicities as well as what band you listened to. I guess our commonality is that we were all a bit eccentric (and there to learn, since Stuy was and is a geek school), not part of the popular crowd by any stretch of the imagination. We were, however, drawn to each other because our mutual distaste for exclusionary cliques, lol.

Hilarious photos: Left – me, 1980, in front of Stuyvesant HS in Manhattan, NYC, in a beret and wool poncho. (I was kind enough to crop my friend next to me out, though she was more fashionable than I was, lol). Right: The Morning Crew at Stuy. We all came to school really, really early to hang out on 15th Street to gab before 1st period.

It was also a time where Stuyvesant itself was more diverse than it is now, a point of contention in the news. And we see schools, like those in the Wake County system, with boards that see diversity as much ado about nothing and a nuisance, rather than a strength to enrich students with perspectives that will help them in the working world. Our natural propensity to gravitate toward those more like us than not is not an excuse to leave it unchallenged as adults out of fear or just plain laziness.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding