When you're as neurotic as I am, it's important to plan ahead for things to worry about. That's why Thanksgiving found me obsessing over Black History Month. You see, it's early December, and no one's asked me yet to come and be black for them in February.Harsh, but funny. Here at UNH, we traditionally ask people to come in and be black for us for Martin Luther King Day in January.
Well, actually, MLK Day (January 15 in 2007) is a holiday. So UNH doesn't celebrate MLK Day on MLK Day; nobody would show up. The upcoming schedule is here; events start on January 17, and continue until February 1. Most of the comments I made about last year's "celebration" still apply. Again, this is the only holiday for which you'll see the University sponsoring a "spiritual celebration" with "music, poetry, prayer, and reflection." And, once again, I'll bet the ACLU will fail to stop this breach in the wall of separation between church and state.
But what about the invited keynote speaker, the person we ask to come "be black for us"? Guess what? This time, the invitee is Dr. Carlos Muñoz, Jr., described here as
one of the most distinguished Latino scholars in the nation. He has spoken extensively on issues of social justice including ethnic and racial politics, multiculturalism, immigration, and affirmative action.So that's kind of new; instead we're asking someone to come be Latino for us. Impressive!
But it's also traditional for UNH's invited MLK speaker to be somewhere in the ideological range of left to hard-left. Is that tradition going to be broken too? Well … From Dr. Muñoz's UC-Berkeley web page:
As a scholar-activist, Dr. Muños has been a central figure in the struggles for civil and human rights, social justice, and peace in the United States and abroad since he was a student activist in the 1960s. He played a prominent leadership role as a founder of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Since then he has served as a leading organizer of various multiracial coalitions, including the Faculty for Human Rights in Central America , Faculty Against Apartheid in South Africa , and The Rainbow Coalition. In 1988, he was a key advisor to the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and is a co-founder of the Institute for Multiracial Justice in San Francisco , California . He also co-founded Latinos Unidos, a grassroots community organization in Berkeley , California . Dr. Muñoz is a Vietnam Era Veteran and a member of the Veterans for Peace and is active in the Counter-Military Recruitment in the Public Schools Movement as well as in the larger Anti-Iraq War Movement.Guess not. For the nth consecutive year, UNH will not be exploring ideological diversity for MLK day. One would think that just once we could get someone like Thomas Sowell, John McWhorter, Shelby Steele, or … hey, how about La Shawn Barber?
And nobody, so far, has asked me to come and be white for them, or even Norwegian-American. Sigh.