Donate
News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
Big Picture
True
rarrarorro/iStock/Getty Images

Mark Gerzon argues, "If the democracy reform movement is to make a paradigm shift on race, we have work to do — not just on our society, but for those among us who are 'white.'"

A first step to getting all the ‘white’ out of the democracy reform movement

Gerzon is president of Mediators Foundation, which incubates projects in the the democracy reform community that promote bridge-building and collaboration. His most recent book is "The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide" (Berrett-Koehler, 2016)

At birth, my grandson Isaiah's cry pierced the air. Later, as I held him in my arms, I wept with joy. As I gently placed him on his mother's belly he started nursing; his father leaned over and cradled them both. It was an unforgettable sight: a light man's arm, holding a dark woman's arm, cradling a baby the color of ... beauty.

That's the moment it struck me: My grandson was not in the white club. This sweet innocent child, now a witty 12-year-old, would be called African-American — or "black." His actual skin color is Sicilian, or perhaps Armenian, both now legally considered "white." But because his mother's side is West African (with a trace of Cherokee), he won't be allowed in the club. He will have to check a different box — and so the lie continues.

If the democracy reform movement is to make a paradigm shift on race, we have work to do — not just on our society, but for those among us who are "white." Too many of us still have a racial mindset that is obsolete and, despite our best intentions, part of the problem.

Keep reading...
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter.