We biracials can claim a unique role in race dialogue
Lucinda Roy is an alumni distinguished professor in creative writing at Virginia Tech. Her most recent book is “No Right to Remain Silent: What We’ve Learned from the Tragedy at Virginia Tech.” She writes:
Following a keynote on diversity I delivered recently, a woman approached me and commented on the fact that I had referred to myself as biracial. She said she was reluctant to use the term “biracial” when referring to herself because people accused her of betrayal.
“They make you choose sides,” she said.
I thought for a moment and then replied, “No one has the right to tell you who you are. You’re you. You’re free to be whoever you choose to be.”
When President Obama spoke to the nation on July 19 in his surprise address in the White House briefing room, I was reminded of the many ways in which those of us who are biracial are told we have to pick sides.
Don’t leave nagging questions unanswered
Guy A. Sims, of Blacksburg, is a father of three, assistant vice president for student affairs at Virginia Tech and author of “The Cold Hard Cases of Duke Denim.” He writes:
What do you want to do?
What a question. Inevitably, children face this inquiry at some time in their young lives by their parents, their teachers, even the kindly old dude down the street. From a young age through high school, most children are encouraged to dream, to see themselves in places beyond their current location and situation. The answers are as varied as the beautiful children who are asked: fireman, doctor, builder, scientist, teacher, even president.
Justice will be served
Jeff Artis is president emeritus of the Roanoke chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He writes:
I was not at all surprised by the George Zimmerman verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. I’ve seen this happen too many times when you have whites accused of committing crimes against blacks. Different names. Different locations. Same result.
During this trial the defense did its job. The prosecution did its job. The jury did its job. On the other hand, the local police did not do their job, which is why this case became a national event.
Still, the reality is there is a much higher burden of proof when blacks are the victims of certain crimes
Obama cannot compare to the courage of John Adams
Roger Harris, of Roanoke, is retired with 29 years of law enforcement experience and taught legal topics in a police academy. He writes:
Americans who wonder how the encounter between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin has become so exaggerated that it dominates national media, stimulates protests and even excuses riots should compare the behavior of prosecutors and the Obama administration with the leaders of Boston during the 1770 event that became known as The Boston Massacre. I recommend the website for the Boston Massacre Historical Society.