Simply Saying “Racism” Without Context is Harmful

jyarlandBy Jyarland Daniels, executive director of Harriet Speaks, an organization doing diversity differently providing a Black voice and perspective in diversity, equity, & inclusion

I write this because I teach and talk about race, diversity, and equity for a living, so there aren’t too many topics in this space that I am silent on. However, I prefer to “think fast, and speak slow” and try to offer thoughtful insights (vs regurgitation) where/if I can. I’m not here to be right or wrong — just to think.

The facts speak for themselves. There is a disparity between not only who contracts this virus, but also in the death rate. Black people are most likely to experience both. But just touting this data (as is too often being done) and attaching the word “racism” to this situation is incomplete, alarming, and confusing. And, I find some of it paralyzing; discussing race without steps to take can have that effect. Continue reading

If We Aren’t Willing to Tell the Truth

LorraineFrom Jyarland Daniels, the executive director of Harriet Speaks:

April 4th will be upon us soon, and we will read articles like this for days. I want to ask (read: beg) you to remember language matters.

This article says, “50 Years After Dr. King’s Death…” “Death” is also used throughout the article. If we stop and think about the word “death” for a moment we see history is being sanitized and re-written before our very eyes.

You see, “Death” is the word we use when someone does of old age, or perhaps after a battle with an illness, or even an accident. But Dr. King was MURDERED. And not only that, but we now know that this government was complicit in his murder. 

Language matters. Words matter. If we aren’t willing to tell the truth and use the right language for how King died, then we aren’t ready to talk about what his life meant.