We Are the World

By Williams, Patricia J. | The Nation, September 3, 2001 | Go to article overview

We Are the World


Williams, Patricia J., The Nation


At 5 o'clock in the morning, the radio alarm begins to blare the news. The United States is threatening to pull out of the World Conference Against Racism if the conversation includes tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. What a nightmare, I think as I sit up in bed. How can the most powerful and diverse country on earth refuse to go to the first global discussion of race? No one expected easy accord about what's racial and what's not, but to refuse to attend the discussion at all?

Perhaps I am unduly depressed because I am in a small motel somewhere in...South Dakota, is it? Or maybe San Diego? I made the terrible mistake of watching Planet of the Apes the night before, in this dim room whose walls are flocked in orange fuzz with silver trim. It is the end of a long week of speaking to organizations that have called me in because someone has done something like hang a big noose over a black person's work space, and they would like me--me!--to get everyone speaking again.

The last five days have involved flying into Pittsburgh or Salt Lake City or Tampa in order to take a shuttle to terminal Z, where militia members in camouflage or square dance teams in pouffy skirts or troupes of young missionaries take flights to and from small towns all over America in very small planes. I have been lining up behind them, boarding ancient Cessna prop planes seating ten--give or take carry-on weapons caches, guitars, extra Bibles and box of diversity pamphlets--and bounce low to the ground all the way to Saginaw or Elko or Huntsville or Dayton.

I get out of bed and look for coffee on the room service menu. There is no room service menu. There is no room service.

The gentleman who comes to greet me on behalf of the Better Business Through Multicultural Harmony Committee is from Bahrain and hails me like a long-lost sister. I can assure you from personal experience how dramatically America's demographics are changing; the smaller and more off the beaten track the American town, the more likely the confused little minority community will include representatives recently arrived from Bangladesh or Sudan or Cambodia or Cameroon.

The gentleman from Bahrain settles me into a large, all-American car and whisks me off into the cornfields and more cornfields. An hour later we hit a strip mall, turn left, a mile and a half of soybeans--et voila! East-West Central Southern Industries (name changed to protect the innocent). The conference room at whose door he deposits me has coffee! muffins! and is really pretty pleasant, even given my yuppie pretensions.

The problem I have been asked to tackle is a new but essentially old-fashioned one. Someone with too much free time has created a list of all the employees, put it online and created the kind of cyberspatial graffiti that one hoped one never had to think about after tenth grade, when notebooks were passed around with a name on each page, and cruel anonymous comments were scrawled beneath. This particular list ranks everyone by sexiness, intelligence, dress and, perhaps most destructively, smell. The comments are racialized, sexually crude, almost pathologically immature but as hard to dismiss as a punch in the stomach.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

We Are the World
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.