Melissa Harris-Perry Speaks at Rockhurst University

March Madness is right! There is so much going on during the month of March.

On Monday, March 19, Melissa Harris-Perry spoke at Rockhurst University at 7 p.m. as part of the Visiting Scholar lecture series. Ms. Harris-Perry was introduced by KC’s Urban League Director, Gayle Grant, who let us know that Harris-Perry is very down to earth and approachable. She’s about 5’0” in heels. She owns a huge personality. She cuts foolishness to shreds, with her razor sharp wit, coupled with keen historical and political insights on: citizenship, voting rights, gender rights and civil rights, etc. She don’t play.

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The language that she used is the language that people use outside of the classroom, the anchor room and the legislative/judicial/executive rooms. She talks like we talk to each other, though there were times when I still didn’t follow the words that were coming out of her mouth. She was passionately spittin’ out concepts and analysis like they were coming from the marrow of her bones.

Harris-Perry opened with her admiration for the Declaration of Independence, especially as it was written by a slave owner on the topic of freedom and in spite of his obvious hypocrisy. She spoke about how the good part of being in a democracy is that even when you lose, you are sharing power. She identified the fact that all Americans, wealthy or not, have problems. The African-American experience is specifically that, too often, we don’t just have a problem, but we are a problem, and that is another story altogether.

At the end of the day, she was the end of my day! Right before I attended her speech, I was talking to yet another white, male administrator who seemed to have no clue as to why I would feel that some of my teachers could use sensitivity training. I hear that racism still exists, but I’m not exactly sure where, because who today, black, white, hispanic or asian – is a racist? There’s plenty of paranoia though! We all could use sensitivity training – this is an opportunity for dialogue not for blame.

“Amen”, “Go head girl-friend!” “That’s right Honey Chil’!” Seriously, thank you Melissa Harris-Perry for allowing me to laugh at the end of my Monday because – “IT” IS complicated, but IT is definitely easier to take IT and find a way to do something about IT when I bring wisdom and my sense of humor with me.

For more on Melissa Harris-Perry, check out her website, melissaharrisperry.com .

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