Speaker asks students to try new perspective

Monday, February 11, 2002

White people are not the worldwide majority and by the year 2053 they will no longer be the majority in the United States.

That, said nationally recognized editor-in-chief George E. Curry, is why blacks and whites need to start learning to live and work together.

Curry, editor-in-chief of BlackPressUSA.com and the National Newspaper Publishers Association News and Service, spoke Sunday night at Southeast Missouri State University's annual Michael Davis Lecture.

Michael Davis was a mass communication student at Southeast who died as a result of a hazing incident in 1994. The lecture is held each year in conjunction with the university's Black History Month activities.

Curry challenged a crowd of about 200 students to go beyond their comfort zone and look at society from a different perspective.

"The majority of the world is not white," Curry said. "You're living in a fantasy world if you believe it is."

Curry asked the students to commit themselves to living their lives not in a separated community with blacks and whites on opposite sides, but in a combined community.

Many of the students who attended the lecture are mass communication majors. Curry said one thing that needs to be changed is the way the groups are covered by media.

"Mainstream press has done a terrible job covering women and blacks," he said. "There has been tremendous progress over the years, but I don't think there has been enough."

Curry said race-specific newspapers began being published around the country several decades ago to make up for the lack of coverage in mainstream papers.

He said the mainstream press needs to go beyond what it is doing now and include all racial, ethnic and minority groups.

Another problem adding to the racial gap, Curry said, is the fact that people with interracial relationships are still stared at and looked at strangely in many situations.

"You have a unique opportunity to go beyond this mess that has hurt this country," he said. "Take it upon yourself to look beyond race, nationality and gender. If we're going to make progress in this country, it's going to be because of people like my white friend who picked me to be his best man in his wedding because I am his friend, not because of my color."

hkronmueller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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