Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Six Words: A Better World Begins with Me

Photo by Rita Bourland © 2010

My Six Words:
A Better World Begins with Me

In the midst of the ongoing national discussion about race, which has been galvanized by the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida, comes the opportunity for each of us to speak out in the sparsest of language, using just six carefully chosen words. 
This opportunity actually came about beginning in 2010 as Michele Norris, noted commentator for NPR, began her book tour for her widely acclaimed memoir, The Grace of Silence.  In conjunction with readings and book signings, she asked audience members to write on a postcard the six words that in some way illuminated their personal views on race in America.   Ms. Norris wasn’t sure if any would be returned but they slowly began pouring into her office either by mail, e-mail or twitter. 

The aptly named Race Card Project  began before the death of Trayvon Martin, but since his case came to light, people have been drawn to it in countless numbers.

Some of the entries are healing in nature, some inflammatory and almost all are thought-provoking.  They are a very real and poignant example of how our language can be at its most powerful when we think carefully, speak carefully and write carefully.  

The fact that The Race Card Project is here at the very moment we need an outlet for our concerns seems very synergistic.   Trayvon Martin’s case may never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, but we can take this moment in human history to reach for a better, truer version of ourselves.  This may be one of those defining times when we can elevate the discussion and prove to the world that America is truly democratic in every sense of the word.  

The six words I added to the project are:  
A better world begins with me.  

What will yours be?  

To add your six words, go to The Race Card Project


  1. I thought I knew about this, but didn't, so thanks. Will read through this site. I can't think of a better 6 words than what you've written here, however. Judy

  2. Thank you. The nice thing is that everyone comes at this from a different perspective and brings their own six words to the table. Yet at the end of the day we are all the same family.