Or: "People may be listening differently whenever they hear something"
I had a really rewarding email exchange with a local FM radio show this morning. In Charlotte, 96.1 is the best hip-hop station, and their morning show has hooked me from the start, almost entirely because it's ridiculous and funny. The cast, Brotha Fred (middle), David L. (right), Jacinda (smokin'), and Cubby (not pictured) are a youngish and diverse crowd.
After hearing a large chunk of a rather serious discussion about "race" this morning stemming from Obama's victory, I emailed David L. and asked him to post this segment as a podcast for download, primarily so that I can save it and use it in the future in my classroom. Click here to listen to segment one; click here to listen to segment two. [PLEASE make sure to listen to at least the entire first segment before droppin' a comment.]
I can't think of a more important moment to have this conversation--to have it over and over and over again--than right now. The challenge, and it is a monumental challenge, is to find a way to achieve the Unity we all claim to want by sympathizing with both David L.'s and Brotha Fred's arguments. Best I can tell, the difficulty stems from the fact we are using historically loaded terms: my guess is that almost anyone who listens to these two clips will "choose sides," will side with either David L. or Brotha Fred.
I absolutely know (and try to accept) people who almost certainly would be drawn to Brotha Fred's argument, perhaps so strongly that they will not be able to seriously consider David L.'s perspective. On the other hand, I know (and try to accept) people who are going to sympathize with David L. so strongly as to make it impossible to listen to Brotha Fred. The most amazing part of all of this may be the fact that Brotha Fred believes he is agreeing with David L., while David L. remains unconvinced that there is a fundamental agreement.
Here's an excerpt from the email I returned to David L. after he asked me about my views, especially in my role as an educator: