Buhari in Washington
Nigeria’s President Buhari has gone! In his three days in Washington DC he met with President Obama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Nigerians in the Diaspora, and Vice President Biden among others.
He spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace and was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour on CNN. He told her and others that he would negotiate with Boko Haram for the Chibok girls if he could be sure of the other side’s credibility. “Our main objective is to secure their release and return them to their families and school,” he said.
Buhari said his government intends to recover stolen oil money, and the U.S. has agreed to help. “The amount involved is mind-boggling.”
Reuters put out a very brief video showing Secretary of State Kerry with Buhari on their way into a working lunch. It was the first time I saw Secretary Kerry with his crutches!
Now Buhari is back in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, where he will continue seeking candidates for his cabinet. In the Nigerian media I read that at one point he had a list of 36 people, but only 3 came through ‘corruption tests’ unscathed. Not a pretty picture of senior people in Nigeria who should be holding top offices today.
Will Buhari even be able to find enough ‘pure’ ‘ men and women to fill the posts?
Is There Hope for Race Relations?
“A new New York Times/CBS News poll reveals that nearly six in 10 Americans, including heavy majorities of both whites and blacks, think race relations are generally bad and that nearly four in 10 think the situation is getting worse.”
I had just come back from a meeting of TEAM Westport, my town’s official committee created “to achieve and celebrate a more welcoming, multicultural community,” when I read about this poll.
We met today to prepare for our next community conversation on race. We decided on the format – a facilitated discussion with black Americans who will describe their experiences with race in the town.
We devoted at least 30 minutes to finding the right title for the event.
- We want to make the topic clear and inviting
- We don’t want to put white people on the defensive
- We want to raise awareness.
I suggested ‘Black Lives Matter,’ but didn’t get support.
We talked about using ‘driving while black’ in the title as a way to signal what the conversation would be about.
I thought that might not be clear. I explained to the other eight people present that I had been surprised earlier in the day when that my good friend, liberal Unitarian, and strong supporter of civil rights and racial justice, was not familiar with the phrase.
The other six white women present were sure everyone in town would understand it. Our chair and secretary, both black, weren’t sure.
What do you understand the phrase ‘driving while black’ refers to? Share your comments, please!
I’ll let you know what the final title will be.
Part Five, Using White Privilege Against Racism
The final suggestion from Wiley Reading in Everyday Feminism’s article about using white privilege to confront anti-black racism is to decide on one or two actions you can take.
“Pick one, or two, and give them your time and energy. Support employees in your organizations who do anti-racist work. Support your friends and family members who do anti-racist work,” he says.
It might be voter registration, it could be having a difficult conversation with white friends about race, or you may find an opportunity to act as an observer when there is harassment. I am using some of his suggestions, and some from another writer I’ll tell you about next time, in the sermon I’m preparing for August 9 at The Unitarian Church in Westport Connecticut.
What Happened to the Ending?
My book group, Baker’s Dozen, met last night to discuss All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. I had read it, or rather listened to it, several months ago for my Mount Holyoke book group. I listened again to the first couple of chapters – as much as I could in two or three sessions at the gym!
I loved the book and would have happily listened to it all again, but other books and podcasts required my attention.
Everyone in the group last night was equally enthusiastic. It was the first time since I’ve joined the group when there was unconditional praise from all of us!
But I was surprised by someone’s comment about how she especially lived the updates on the characters’ lives at the end. “What?” I said.
I had totally missed that. So this morning that’s what I listened to at the gym! I’m not done, but will certainly get to the end this time!
That’s one of the dangers of an audio book – you don’t necessarily know how much is left. I must have thought I’d come to the end before, and no one had mentioned the updates in the other book group.
Are you in a book group? What are you reading?