Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, Public Health

After Trayvon Martin

July 22, 2013

President spoke from the heart

The President’s words were “That could have been me 35 years ago.” They were raw, honest, heartfelt and, sadly, probably true. What can we learn from Mr. Martin’s death and the President’s words? I’m not referring to the legal issues, because I am not the person to write about that. How do we learn not to judge a person by his or her dress, skin color, handbag, tattoos, piercings, car and other externalities? Sunday morning, there was a commentary on NPR. Kathy Grigsby Bates speculated how different the outcome probably would have been if the billionaire hoody-attired Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had been walking down that dark street instead of Trayvon Martin. We know it would have been different.

In public health, where we are so committed to overcoming health disparities, can we walk in someone else’s shoes to feel what it would be to live his life? We need to do that, to close some of the distance that academia erects between us and the people we study, nurture and aim to help. Linda Wertheimer, on the radio Saturday morning, examined herself in light of President Obama’s suggestion that we each have a conversation with ourselves and ask the question, “Am I wringing as much bias out of myself as I can?” Am I? Are you? Are we? We can do better.

I can’t believe it’s less than a month until orientation. Happy Monday. Barbara



Net Nanny


Like the post author, l am not going to talk about the legal side of things either, my thoughts are irrelevant and not helpful..... The thing that really matters is that one young life has ended, sadly, abruptly and quite prematurely. Whether that young life was taken because of skin colour or because of attire or for any other reason is an answer we may never truly know. While we can, should and must sympathize with the family and friends of Trayvon. We also need to pause and consider all the millions of people throughout the world who have also gone through difficult and devastating events. Events which should never happen... but do ! We all need to do out little bit to ensure that we all improve ourselves and in turn help improve others. We all need to remember that no matter our religion, our race, our skin colour, our level of education, our employment status, our sexuality, our financial position, our physical appearance, our gender we are all human and we all deserve to be treated as equal from the moment we are born until the moment we are here no more. Remember what goes around does come around, if you would like your child, your brother, your sister, your mother and your father to be respected by all, then you must show the same respect to all...... Never 'judge a book by its cover' Instead read that book, understand that book and appreciate the book for what it is......... while some books may be your cup of tea and others may not, remember that each book is appreciated and loved by someone else. Every book deserves to fill it's place in the library book shelves alongside all of the books you love.

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The views expressed in this blog are Barbara Rimer’s alone and do not represent the views and policies of The University of North Carolina or the Gillings School.