Tuesday, September 15, 2009

be inspired

Ted Kennedy's memoirs were published yesterday. Today I heard an interview with the editor and publisher, Jonathan Karp. One thing they talked about was the reason why Ted Kennedy worked so relentlessly for health care.

Mr. Karp said that the conviction had come from something that happened when Kennedy's son, at 12 years old, needed treatment for bone cancer. The boy ended up being part of a group that was treated with an experimental drug that was paid for through a research grant. When the grant ran out, participants had to pay for the remainder of the treatments out of their own pockets. Kennedy found himself surrounded by other parents, all equally concerned for their children. But while Kennedy could pay for what his son needed, other people mortgaged their homes and risked their jobs.

In teaching about racism there is a shift that happens when a white person realizes that the world is fundamentally different for someone of color. After the moment of realization nothing is the same. You can't turn back.

It sounds to me as if Ted Kennedy's experience had the same quality. Once we've been made aware of social difference, we cannot not see it.

No comments: