Martin Luther King’s 1967 address to the American Psychological Association called for action not only an academic level from the APA. He called for action. This stood out to me because we, of course, were discussing this speech in an academic setting: the classroom. King advises: “social science should be able to suggest mechanisms to create a wholesome black unity and a sense of peoplehood while the process of integration proceeds.” He calls on the social sciences to find a way to unify and strengthen the African American community whilst empowering to move upward in mainstream American society.
In class we talked about how we can do just that. We should use our knowledge of the research done on racism in our society to educate those close to us about it. I have to admit, this discussion left me feeling a little guilty. Recently, I’ve noticed that when I overhear a joke or light-hearted comment about race or sexuality that I am not comfortable with I tend to brush it off. This is not really because I am afraid of being put down for defending the research discussed in classes such as this one. Really, I just do not feel as responsible as I should to impart to others my knowledge on the subject matter. Instead, I avoid making people feel guilty- I know I would not exactly appreciate being called a “racist” either. I would like to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they agree with me. Our discussion of King’s speech on Thursday made me begin to rethink my negligence in such conversations.