By 1010 WINS’ Larry Mullins
I almost feel like someone slipped into the Adorama studio and populated the panel and the audience of college students with kids from some make believe land… far, far and away. Wow. We invited eight collegiate from SUNY, CUNY and other schools to participate in a special forum, titled Race 101: What Young People Think About Race Relations. We didn’t brief them on where the show should go. We didn’t tell them where to sit. We never even met them before. Kids being kids, (and what with all the protests and push-backs we’ve been seeing on college campuses all over the country), I thought it might make sense to call up security (as a precaution), just in case one of the students “went there.”
Folks, there’s a bible verse which says, “And a little child shall lead them.” On this Friday afternoon, people on Facebook Live (watching the show) and all those gathered in the studio (young and old) were LEAD. And we were lead in the way we’re supposed to be: operating in love, harmony and getting along with one another REGARDLESS of race, religion, social status etc. It was quite refreshing to hear and see that the people who will be in charge of our lives for years to come are on the same page when it comes to treating people fairly and without prejudice and assumptions. One young lady who is Muslim took it even further, saying, “I don’t believe there are any races.” Dr. Calvin Butts, who presides over the college at SUNY Old Westbury and is also the senior pastor at Abyssian Baptist Church in Harlem, witnessed the harmonious display also, and said it took him by surprise. Dr. Butts said, “Lest we have no illusions, racism is still alive and ‘not well’ throughout the U.S.,” but it’s good to see that young people (millennials) are embracing the idea that we as a people, ALL PEOPLE, can break the cycle. The challenge is to engage an entire generation to join in. These students left me speechless, somewhat dumbfounded, but nevertheless overjoyed. Gosh if we could only duplicate these positive attitudes.
Admittedly, as a journalist who likes a little fire in my interviews, and as an old school kid growing up in the project and always looking for a spark, for a minute I thought I was derelict, in not drawing out an emotional response from our panelists. But my son called me from Texas and told me these very profound words: “Pop, had they started shouting and screaming at each other and hurtling racial overtones, it would have been like any other ‘so-called’ show of its kind. Kudos for instead drawing out the reality, that there’s a new generation of colorblind leaders among us.”
Always one to have the last word, I told him, “I know son… I designed the show to turn out exactly like it did (wink, wink).” Thank you, kids. Thanks for taking the responsibility to re-write our narrative on race relations. Here are some extra ink pens so you don’t ever have to stop writing.