Zoom Meeting, Wed. Jan. 20, 2021 Rochelle Riley: What We Got Wrong

 Rochelle Riley is the Director of Arts and Culture for the City of Detroit.
Prior to becoming the Director of Arts and Culture, she was a nationally syndicated columnist for the Detroit Free Press in Detroit, Michigan, United States. She was an advocate in her column for improved race relations, literacy, community building, and children. She is also the author of The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery
Rochelle Riley has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, CNN and FOX2.[5] She has worked as an editor or reporter at The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Times Herald and The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. In Louisville, she was deputy managing editor, 1992–96, associate editor and columnist, 1996–2000; and from 2000 to 2019, she was a Detroit Free Press columnist. In 1985, when she was with The Dallas Morning News, she founded the DFW/ABC Urban Journalism Workshop to train minority youth to be journalists.
WHAT WE GOT WRONG
 
If we had only gotten together years ago, rather than become more separated, we would have fewer racial problems in America.  What if all children had grown up learning about all of American history and the vital contributions that African Americans made? Would it not have made it harder to see Black people as inferior? And what if Black children in some households, some communities were not taught that white people were the enemy? Would our relationships be different?
 
In my book, The Burden, I contend that slavery did not end in America. It moved from plantations to the board rooms, courtrooms, classrooms and newsrooms of America. The segregation in recent years has not always been intentional. It is because that is just the way it has been in America. 
 
We got it wrong, but in a seminal year in American history, we have an opportunity to get so many things right. We are America, the greatest country in the world, the place other countries’ leaders aspire to and other country’s residents imitate. 
 
We can do it.
 
Rochelle