The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Columns

August 25, 2013

Maureen Hayden: Will Hoosiers embrace diversity?

WASHINGTON – Many years ago, when I was a high school senior visiting college campuses, I met with an Indiana University official whose job included recruiting new students to campus. The conversation somehow turned to IU basketball and the undefeated season the team had just completed. The adviser, an older white woman with a visible sense of privilege, volunteered that she hadn’t been a fan for years.

In her mind, IU basketball (and therefore the university itself) was ruined the day a Shelbyville teenager named Bill Garrett was recruited for the team. He was both a star student and a star player – earning the “Mr. Basketball” title given annually to state’s top high school player. But he was also black. In joining the IU team in 1947, Garrett broke a color barrier established by what’s been described as a “gentlemen’s agreement” among Big Ten coaches that barred black players from the conference.

In her mind, Garrett was a threat to her seemingly secure world.

I was thinking about that conversation during a visit to the nation’s capital last week where events are underway to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the landmark “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

While here, I saw the new movie, “The Butler,” which tells the story of the 20th century civil rights movement through the eyes of a black butler in the White House who served seven presidents. I saw the movie, which is based on a real story, in a theater in D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood, surrounded by a racially diverse audience.

For me, one of the striking lines in the film came toward the end, when the main character, played by Forest Whitaker, observes how little we acknowledge our troubled history as a nation founded on the self-evident principle of equality.

Text Only
Columns
Featured Ads
More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium
Front page
Poll

Should the collective bargaining agreement be reopened between the Anderson school board and teachers before the contract is up in 2018?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results