My Taranto Pick Of The Day For Tuesday, January 27, 2009

If you know someone better, please give us a link…
By JAMES TARANTO
A Denver journalist's brave stand against racism.

One of the greatest rewards of being a journalist is that every now and then, you get to tell the world about an act of heroism that might otherwise go unheralded–the story of an ordinary person who, confronted with an injustice, takes a stand and helps, in his own small way, to make the world a better place.

In today's Denver Post, columnist Kristen Browning-Blas gets to tell such a story–the story of a Colorado woman who took her inspiration from civil-rights veteran John Lewis's endura nce in the face of beatings by Alabama state troopers in Selma and from Gandhi's exhortation to "be the change you wish to see in the world."

This heroine did not know that on Inauguration Day she would be called on to be the change she wished to see in the world. But when she was, she conquered her own fear and spoke out for justice and truth. Even now, she describes it with a dignified humility. Her name is Kristen Browning-Blas:

After watching the swearing-in on TV, I hauled myself to the gym, thinking I'd march on the Stairmaster along with the parade. Our gym has a cafe/bar, and I stopped to have some soup first.

One of the employees was checking the tea and noted out loud that they were out of black tea. To the other server, she made a joke about ordering some more "Obama tea."

On this day, of all days, I could not turn away, pretend I didn't hear.

My pulse raced a little. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach. In the larger scheme of things, calling her on it was a small act.

A person of color might say, "that's nothing compared to the things people have said to me." But to pretend I hadn't heard, when indeed I had, as the televisions above the bar showed images of President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, walking the parade route, was unthinkable.

I did the uncomfortable thing and spoke to the server (the jokester had disappeared), and to the club manager. "What do you want me to do?" the manager asked, when I said I thought it was not a harmless joke but a racist statement. I suggested racial sensitivity training at the very least. He said he would "take it under advisement." I found out later he spoke to her about the incident.

We shall overcome–but we haven't yet. Racism in America is far from dead. It turns out there is even a Web site called Obama-Tea.com, featuring a caricature of President Obama in which his face appears to be made of herbs and fruit.

Let us all follow Kristen Browning-Blas's example and take a stand against injustice. If not us, who? If not now, when? If not honey, lemon?

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

Advertisements

About tedwest

A longtime veteran of comedy and political forums, I decided that I needed a more restful venue because... well... I finally hate everybody. Except my wife that is... and my ex-wife.. and... no, that's about it. I lead about as simple a life as one can, preferring activities that include anything that doesn't involve going out and seeing YOU! And I particularly enjoy what I call "Get the Bitch" movies on Lifetime. You know the ones where the intended victim finally does something so incredibly stupid that she forfeits her right to live, and from that moment on you're rooting for the stalker. Of course, it rarely works out the way you want, but when it does, the feeling you get is... well, there's nothing else like it, other than, maybe, eating chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I'm proudly anti-wildlife, both foreign and domestic, and anti-environment - especially foreign environments. I think Howard Stern put it best when he said, "If fifty percent of the population died tomorrow, I can live with that." And I feel the same about the other fifty percent, so together, we've pretty much got it all covered.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s