Garden City, NY (PRWEB) June 27, 2012
On June 12, 2012, 85 students and teachers attended ERASE Racism's Youth Roundtable to speak with Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, a leader in the civil rights movement and one of the last original Tuskegee Airmen. The heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen, America's first black military airmen, paved the way for full integration of the U.S. military.
At the Youth Roundtable, Dr. Brown introduced the documentary, Double Victory, about the dual challenge that the Tuskegee Airmen faced by having to fight a war abroad while at the same time confronting segregation and prejudice at home.
When asked how one can fight racism today, when it is not as overt as in the 1940's, Dr. Brown responded that stereotyping is one of the most dangerous aspects of racism that we face. “The thing about African Americans from my generation was that we really thought that we could do well even though other people didn’t recognize it…Today it is different because the laws prohibit discrimination and we supposedly have an equal society, [which leads to] a covert belief that different groups of people can do different things,” explained Dr. Brown, adding, “One of the things that I hope this film does is help erase the stereotype threats that are around us all the time. Any one of us can do anything if we put our efforts to it.”
Dr. Brown further explained that irrational expectations of an individual based on their race influence everything from the sports that a person plays to the career he or she decides to pursue. "We need to challenge those irrational thoughts," Dr. Brown said, adding that the Tuskegee Airmen were so successful in creating opportunities for other African Americans because the quality of their performance was undeniable.
"Before other airmen even knew that we were a group of African American pilots they requested to work with us because we developed an outstanding reputation for being loyal and staying with the bombers," explained Dr. Brown.
In response to hearing Dr. Brown speak, one student said, “Today we’re not educated about very important issues such as this one that have impacted each and every one of our lives in major ways and it’s just a blessing that we can come out and talk to people like this.”
Another student, who also volunteers with ERASE Racism, said, “Today it was so amazing to see how far people have come and how far our community has come since WWII, but it still shows how much more work there is to be done. And I’m so happy that ERASE Racism is here on Long Island calling attention to all of these issues. It was so amazing to meet Dr. Roscoe Brown. He’s such a pioneer.”
Following the Youth Roundtable, Dr. Brown was honored by ERASE Racism at the organization’s 2012 Annual Benefit. For pictures of both events, visit http://www.eraseracismny.org