“Be a voice, not an echo.” – Cornel West
|Watch the full conversation here.|
went on to observe that present day discourse in politics and matters of race had substituted civility and politeness for kindness and respect. I think what he meant was that no one listens to an opposing argument these days, rather, he or she just waits for his or her turn to speak, to harangue, to beat down. West spoke of the modern day phenomenon of the “echo chamber”, where the sound bites of the market place, the slogans and the rants ring loud but hollow and endeavor to replace the high music of morality and thoughtfulness. He cited the People of Color Conference as an example of the echo chamber, “full of like-minded people who might be wrong.” Invoking the ghost of renowned Irish playwright and funny man, Samuel Beckett, West wondered if our arguments should be prefaced with the word “perhaps”, to replace the stridency and self-righteousness prevalent in public discourse today. Perhaps “perhaps” means love.
Speaking of the PoCC, Sophomores Darin Hall and Yadev Surati attended this year’s event in Seattle. The boys worked hard, from 8:00 am each morning until 9:30 each night, discussing issues of social justice, social tolerance, and self-awareness and listening to the life stories of others. Darin and Yadev, who will present their experiences and findings at the PoCC at assembly next semester, were accompanied by Mr. Redmond and me. We attended workshops on Authenticity, Maintaining Inclusion, and The Importance of Minority Faculty in Independent Schools. We will have much to discuss with the Inclusion committee next month. Perhaps the greatest takeaway from the PoCC was that dialog must continue and that solutions must be found for old and continued grievances.
Well, 2019 nears its end and roasting chestnuts, open fires, and great Christmas movies such as Die Hard beckon brightly. We wish all the boys great success in their exams and hope they enjoy a well-deserved rest and holiday. To the parents and faculty and staff too, Jamie and I hope you all have a marvelous break and celebration.
-Michael Kelly & Jamie Redmond