By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – A former mayor of the South Toms River said that an enlightened and multi-culturally fair education may be able to erase the discriminatory attitudes and racism in the US.
Lawyer Joseph Makhandal Champagne Jr. who is also an Ambassador for Peace of the UPF spoke before students and alumni of the UTS in its Speaker Series in February 2018. He shared his own experiences of being discriminated at because of the color of his skin, despite his law education and academic success.
Champagne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Columbia University and attended the Law Center’s Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-law Institute program at Georgetown University. In 1999, he won the Best Respondent Advocate award and earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Vermont Law School.
When asked how does one solve the problem of racism and discrimination, when in the American society, people from all colors, have their own varying degrees of discriminatory attitudes, he said: “I don’t exactly blame white people for their supremacist attitudes and the blacks being resentful. This is a result of formal education system that has historically not been fair and truthful. The key is to have formal education that is culturally fair,” Champagne said when asked how to look at racial discrimination when everyone has his or her own personal biases against each other.
Champagne emphasized that the truthfulness in education can set people free from false notions of superiority and inferiority. “The truth is a casualty of the system of knowledge fed by biases,” he expressed.
He remarked as unfortunate the cultural and historical ignorance of Pres. Trump for looking down upon Haiti and other African countries. “These countries are not s___holes. Haiti had been ravaged by colonizers France and America and by the corruption of its leaders. Hence there is massive poverty in Haiti. Globalization worked negatively against these countries.”
Champagne comes from a lineage of political leaders in Haiti who led the Haitian resistance against colonialism.
Champagne said that when we look at babies or young children, they just immediately play. “It is us the adults who can’t get it. We have to learn to live as human family or perish as fools. The youth in Florida get it. The boy shot 17 and the police were afraid to get him. Really? Love one another that will lead to freedom, peace, and justice,” he said in closing.
(This article was first published on www.uts.edu https://uts.edu/news-and-events/536-racism-could-end-through-culturally-fair-truthful-education)