Virtual Book Club discusses race and America’s future

Starting in late September, EquityBlog launched the innovative idea of taking discussions of books from the living room or classroom and onto the Internet.  The “Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club” is a six-week long online seminar that provokes conversation about race relations and the concept of a post-racial society.

The book club will focus on the book Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America’s Future. Co-authors Angela Glover Blackwell, Stewart Kwoh and Manuel Pastor will moderate the online discussions.

According to its press release, the club “will host an online conversation looking at crucial issues facing America as we push toward 2050 and our inevitable future as a nation with no majority ethnic or racial group.”

Upcoming topics include:

  • Oct. 6: Color Lines: Growing and Accepting Diversity
  • Oct. 13: Race and the Economy
  • Oct. 20: Urgent Challenges: Immigration, Incarceration, and Climate Change
  • Oct. 27: New Leadership for now and 2050
  • Nov. 3: Equity is the Superior Growth Model

To find out more about the “Race and America’s Future Virtual Book Club,” go to

Learn more about the idea of a post-racial society.

Panel discusses idea of post-racial society

imageSouth Los Angeles community members gathered Thursday for a home-cooked meal and a thought-provoking discussion to debunk the myth of a post-racial society after the election of Barack Obama.

The Freedom Socialist Party, a revolutionary feminist organization, hosted the event for the group’s annual Black History Month celebration.

Muffy Sunde, 60, the local organizer of the party, said the party considers issues of race and racism of primary importance. She thought a public discussion on post-racial society would be relevant.

“It seemed like the myth of a post-racial society is a no brainer. Because everyone is saying we have a black president, [they] say it’s not an issue anymore,” Sunde said.

Sunde asked a panel of speakers who have all actively fought racism to speak on the subject. Panelists included Linda Guthrie, a middle school teacher and former officer of United Teachers Los Angeles, Ray Boudreaux a former Black Panther party member, and Beatrice Paez, an active member of Radical Women.

Each speaker talked for 15 minutes. The speakers were followed by a public discussion.

Among about 40 members of the audience were Los Angeles Unified School District teachers, college students, community members, Freedom Socialist Party members, and Radical Women party members. 

“We celebrate Black History month not only to recognize the political and social games won, the cultural attributes and the leadership shown by African Americans, but we also do it every year since the early sixties because we are Marxists, feminists and revolutionaries,” said Yolanda Alanoz, the event’s moderator.

“We realize in order for full equality for blacks and others oppressed by the system, we have to institute a new democratic socialist society.”

The speakers all voiced concern that there is no such thing as a post-racial society, even after the election of Barack Obama.

The struggles and rhetoric of black people have been the same throughout history, said Boudreaux.

Guthrie furthered this point by arguing issues of race are still invisible.

“Post-racial is another series of politically correct terms in which America acknowledges the difficult issue but instead chooses to continue to ignore them,” Guthrie said.

Some speakers argued the only way to achieve a post-racial society is to overthrow capitalism and the oppressive ruling class that continues to exploit Black labor and to practice classism. 

”Is it any wonder why the ruling class promotes color blindness and the lid of a post-racial society in the mass media after Obama’s election, who needs Black History month then?” Paez said. 

The speakers placed particular emphasis on the public education gap between children of color and Caucasian children, sexism, media portrayals of colored people, the tendency of people to identify blacks as one monolithic group, uneven racial divides in incarceration systems, and even teaching about racism and history in schools. All were used as examples of why the speakers believe there is no such thing as a post-racial society. 

Some even said that American angst and displeasure with the Obama administration is not about the policies he is implementing but rather the color of his skin.

“We have to support him…It’s important to make people confront why they are attacking him, and that’s the myth we have to go after,” Guthrie said.

”It’s not about policy, it’s not about philosophy. It’s about what he looks like.”

Julia Wallace, 28, an audience member who spoke up about the current problem of inter-racism specified how she thinks race and the Obama administration collide. Wallace saw this collision in the war in the Middle East and Obama’s decision to send an additional 30,000 troops over.

“I have problems with the Obama administration going to war in Afghanistan because he’s sending black and brown people to war…It’s not rich people going to war in Afghanistan…it’s not policy.”

Audience member, Erma Elzy, 58, said that Obama, who is trying to please different factions, would want the group to do “just what [they] are doing right now” and “stand up for activism.”

But regardless of talk about activism and how to really make a change in society, Guthrie said she did not care to look forward to the future if society cannot appreciate her for who she is already.

“I’m not interested in a post-racial society because race defines who I am,” she said. “If you cannot see my race, then you cannot see me. And if you do not have the respect for the experience that led up to me being me, then you can never know me.”