I interrupt today’s regularly scheduled post with a brief message on behalf of the Aspen Institute.
I’ll be attending the 2017 Symposium on the State of Race in America as a select “Ambassador” in D.C. at the Newseum this Tuesday, April 4. Join along as I take to Twitter and Instagram to share the events of the day (#stateofrace).
I admit; I have mixed feelings going in. This is a timely yet heated topic in our country. This forum is supposed to foster an open dialogue and while I have no doubt there will be many words spoken, I only hope there will be open ears as well to not only listen but to ask, consider and digest everyone’s point of view. These gatherings can only produce healthy results if people are willing to have empathy and look at issues from someone else’s vantage point.
The panel consists of a mixed roster of media, academics, politicians and corporate executives. The “wealth gap” or wealth inequality will be a central topic. The wealth of white households was 13 times the median wealth of black households in 2013, compared with eight times the wealth in 2010. Beyond the gap in minority communities, the divide between working class whites and white intellectual elites is also widening. What will these disparities mean for minority communities in the United States? How are we to address these disparities?
The panel will also address the future dialogue on race. How can we ease racial anxiety and promote awareness? Will protests and boycotts be the new norm for discourse?
I realize that the panelists and moderators are highly educated middle class citizens addressing issues and proposing solutions to problems that aren’t necessarily relevant to their everyday lives. While I don’t doubt the intentions or motives for everyone attending, I would wish to hear a wider array of perspectives from the full spectrum of minorities on both sides of the wealth gap. Nonetheless, some discussion is better than none and I would hope that race ultimately eliminates it’s taboo status and becomes an open and accepted topic of conversation.
I’ve never been an activist and have always been more of an observer than a vocalist. It seems unlikely that I would serve as an Ambassador for a topic that requires a loud voice. All I’ve known about race is my own background on growing up as a 1st generation Asian-American. I still have so much to learn and understand about race on so many levels.
However, I am finding a written voice through this site. I’m starting to gain confidence in forming opinions and speaking my mind when it comes to ethnicity, diversity, and yes, race. At the very least, I want to have conversations about race with my daughter, because it will and should remain a positive dialogue we should continue to address during her lifetime and beyond.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you’d like me to ask of the panel. I hope you follow along!