I have been working as a radio producer lately, and I increasingly find myself in situations where I need to try and be even-handed and to try to represent different perspectives on nuanced issues. Racial diversity is one of those things that keeps popping up for me.
The issues surrounding racism and inclusion are loaded with bad history, a lot of grey area, and many answers that seem to pull good people in opposing directions. Potentially worst of all, people just stay with the status quo, trapped by indecision.
So on Friday I was out trying to cover this hastily announced press conference at UMD. (I got the announcement in my Facebook inbox sometime around lunch, and the gathering was at 4 p.m.) From the start I could see that this was a good topic for PDD. I intended to edit this up and add some captions and titles on Friday and post it here to see what folks had to say.
Then I left my laptop power cord at work and with gas at $4-something a gallon I decided to just let it go and try to just relax and spend some time with family this weekend. That was the right call because I did enjoy myself and had a great time with my wife and kids. Also, I did not have a response from the university until today.
The response from UMD Chancellor Lendley Black is posted below the video.
Representatives from a group calling themselves “Communities of Color” held a press conference at the University of Minnesota Duluth on Friday, May 19. Speakers at the press conference included Joe Bouie, Claudie Washington, Ricky Defoe, Carl Crawford and Xavier Bell. WGZS missed a few minutes of Joe Bouie’s speech, but the others are presented here completely unedited.
The speakers did not take questions from the media at this event (even though I tried).
Here’s the chancellor’s statement:
FULL DISCLOSURE: When I started blogging with PDD several years ago I went by “wildgoose” which is a DJ nickname that I have been known to use. However, I think that it is time that I started using my real name on PDD. Other relevant disclosure, I am a current UMD graduate student. And I have personal relationships and/or professional with each of the individuals who spoke at this press conference. You know how it is, it’s a small town, you get to know people.