Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 21, 1997)
Speaker: Ending racism key to peace
By Brad Davis
A reputable professor and author presented
his nontraditional ideas for dealing with the
often heated and sensitive topic of racism Sat
urday morning at the Nebraska East Union.
As keynote speaker for the “People of Color
in Predominantly White Institutions” confer
ence, sponsored by several University of Ne
braska-Lincoln departments, Derrick Bell
shared an excerpt from a bode he is writing.
Now 66 years old and a professor of law at
the New York University Law School, Bell was
the first tenured black law professor at Harvard
University. He has written five books, both non
fiction and fiction, and worked for 38 years in
various areas of civil rights.
The excerpt from his current book was in
tended as a speech to be given by a fictional
president ofthe United States. A friend of Bell’s
passed the speech along to President Clinton.
Bell said Clinton has said he may use the speech
in the future.
In Bell’s speech for both his fictional presi
dential character and President Clinton, Oct. 1
is named as “Racial Liberation Day.” The day
would launch a month-long crusade designed
to “seek our independence from a set of his
toric beliefs, unacknowledged yet no less real,
about property and skin color.”
These historic beliefs are a major reason
why the United States lags far behind smaller,
less-wealthy countries regarding social pro
grams, Bell said.
Bell said if Clinton were to recite the speech,
it would mark a new era in American politics.
“Clinton would go down in history if he led
a campaign that really hasn’t been done,” Bell
said. “For the most part (presidents) have ei
ther ignored the racial issue or dealt with it
using platitudes,” Bell said.
The key to ending a wide array of social
problems, Bell said, does involve the issue of
racism — but it does not necessarily involve
blacks. Bell’s nontraditional approach calls for
whites to realize the power they hold.
As the United States undergoes the transi
tion to a global economy in which more goods
and services can be produced than can be con
sumed, many people will be without work, Bell
Often, however, social programs are met
with attitudes of reactionary racism, and pro
grams are called handouts to poor, lazy blacks,
even though the majority of people on welfare
are white, Bell said.
“It is a rationalization for reaction,” Bell
said. “Proposals to reform are seen as hand
outs — in these cases, the fear and resentment
of blacks takes precedence over the social prob
lem itself,” Bell said. “The result, unfortunately,
is that the entire society suffers from the re
sults of a failure to correct social evils whose
ill-effects refuse to obey the rules of segrega
Although Bell acknowledges that not all
white people participate in overt acts of rac
ism, all people have to be involved in working
toward a solution.
“There is no easy answer,” he said. “No leg
islation or lawsuits or commissions are going
to help this problem. Each white person needs
to ask, ‘What can I do to ease the danger of
racial conflict that threatens us all?*
“We can no longer afford whiteness as a
property right and as a measure of worth and a
standard of normality.”
He said that after discussing the issue of
racism, standing up for one’s beliefs mice they
are formed will be a worthwhile cause and help
the plight of ending racism.
Bell resigned from the University of Oregon
Law School in 1991 to protest law school offi
cials refusing to hire an Asian-American fac
ulty member. He said because of that incident,
he understood fighting for a cause.
“There’s kind of an uplift, when you’re in
volved in a cause you think is worthy,” Bell
said, “even when it’s a lost cause. There should
be some time when you do something that you
are generally proud of and may not be so popu
lar because that’s where your strength comes
from. Those are the things that you remember.
“Whether you get people to change or get
knocked down—you know that you were do
ing what you thought was right.”
Bell said he will continue to fight against
oppression in his work, no matter how diffi
cult it is to overcome.
“Until white people get smart about race,”
Bell said, “black people will have a hard time
Spring Safety Walk finds
possible problem areas
By Amy Keller
UNL officials plan to shed a
little more light on the campus af
ter the Spring Safety Walk Satur
day morning revealed a few areas
on campus that participants felt
needed better lighting.
To find unlit or dim areas on
campus, 23 people toured City and
East campuses at 4 a.m., walking
the paths students take to and from
Diagonal sidewalks near the
Lied Center for Performing Arts
were in question because they are
not well-lighted. Jay Schluckebier
of Landscape Services said that ser
vices officials will check it again
soon to see if the problem is because
of obstructive trees or if it just needs
The east side door area of Avery
Hall lab was dark, and
Schluckebier said he and other of
ficials will take another look at it
to see what types of lights should
A variety of lights were out
throughout both campuses, and
walkers recorded the location of
each light, including city street
lights, so that Landscape Services
can fix them or ask the city to do
On East Campus, south of the
College of Dentistry, two lights
were found not working, and
Schluckebier said these, along with
the other lights, would be fixed
within a week.
Participants also were con
cerned about the narrow sidewalk
south of the Delta Upsilon frater
nity house on 16th and Vine streets.
Landscape Services plans to talk
with city landscapers about widen
ing the sidewalk because it is used
by many people.
Near Sheldon Memorial Art
Gallery, walkers noticed a cracked
sidewalk Landscape Services is
planning to fix.
A satety walk is conducted eacn
semester to determine ways to
make City and East campuses safer.
“Before five years ago, our
emergency phone system was five
phones,” University Police Sgt. Bill
Saturday’s safety walk began at
Parking Services at 1941 Y St.,
where participants rode a shuttle
bus past some areas where light
ing was in question.
The actual walk began in the
Temple Building parking lot,
wound around the Lied Center and
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery
walkways and ended near Burnett
and Andrews halls. Walkers then
took a shuttle bus to East Campus
and slowly drove around the loop,
looking for areas that were unsafe.
| PRESENTS I
Little River Band
Sunday, April 27th
TICKETS: $13 ADVANCE • $15 DOOR
Habitat for Humanity lends
hands, hearts to fix up homes
HABITAT from page 1
of the house, trimmed bushes, put win
dow wells on basement windows and
did other smaller jobs.
“It’s hard to believe how much
Nebraska’s young people do for us,”
Anderson said. “There is so much to
do. It makes me so happy. I don’t know
how I will pay you.”
Volunteers said the free effort was
“I definitely feel like we’re help
ing someone. I could be doing a lot
less meaningful things today,” Jaman
Bass, a freshman pre-law major, said
as he painted Anderson’s porch.
Jennifer Dunn, part of a Campus
Crusade volunteer group, said she
thought the efforts Saturday would go
a long way.
“We can tell it will go further,” she
said. “It put a spark in someone’s life.”
And spark it did, as the reactions
from the homeowners were nothing
but praise for the volunteers’ work.
“Your hand prints are in my
home,” Anderson said. “It gives it a
new energy. It makes me so happy.”
JOE BUR6ARD, a pre-dentistry stadeat, and Audrey Carl, a biscbemistry
student, clean walls as the mid-mernlni Saturday sun shines through the
wtndsw. Burpard and Carl Ytlnnteered their time fer Habitat far Humanity’s
prelect su April 19.
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