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It's not about politics, it's about race

Since we at FairerScience are partially funded by the National Science Foundation, we do our very best not to be political. This is not a political post, I am not telling you for whom I think you should or should not vote (catch the good grammar—no dangling prepositions here).

Let me start with full disclosure, in 1970 I went to Mississippi to register African American voters (yup I'm old, get a grip, move on…). Actually as one of life's ironies, since I knew how to write proposals, I never did get to register voters. I ended up writing proposals for Head Start Centers in rural Mississippi and checking software programs that tallied votes for inaccuracies and bias (yes we did have software in the 70's and yes there were problems with the tallys). Never let it be said that I am not eclectic. And since then, I've been doing the best I can to work for racial equality.

And further full disclosure, I've given money to several presidential candidates this cycle and none of them were to Barack Obama (wait did I just blow the grammar thing here?).

This morning when I listened to Barack Obama's speech about race, I cried. I never expected in my lifetime to hear such an honest public discussion about race in America (ok I know it wasn't a discussion; it was a speech but …) If you want the full speech it is here

Here is just one of the things that touched me:

"But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now… The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American. Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven’t fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today’s black and white students."

If we are going to start talking truth; then I'm feeling more hopeful today about race in America than I have for a long, long time