I have heard the line, “If I can make it, why can’t black people?” too many times in my life to be surprised. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I can tell stories to Fred (our voter who is most influenced by the people he/she talks with) that gently open the mind and the heart to the possibility that progressive values are values we share. It is harder to tell a story that weaves the numbers behind discrimination into the TNT needed to get a mind to move off of the “If I can make it” theme song that honors the ‘American dream’ and ignores the institutional racism that is too often invisible to whites.

The numbers that reveal patterns of systematic exclusion from ‘the dream’ are powerful. The differences in schools, the differences in incarceration rates, the red-lining and predatory lending in housing, the rates of college graduation, the discrimination in hiring and pay are all powerful arguments that argue against the premise that “If I can make it….” It is difficult to tell people who worked very hard for what they have achieved that they were in part lucky to have been born white. It is difficult to not diminish their accomplishments and have them understand that the ‘American dream’ is not the American reality because equal opportunity for all may be the law but it is not the practice. The media doesn’t help at all.

I am working on asking if a better outcome for the dream might be, “What if everyone could make it?” What if you could still have what you’ve achieved but so could everyone else?