A View From The Mountaintop



Racism is rooted deep within our conscious because the ways of society have subtly taught it to us and that is called social conditioning, said Rev. Bryan N. Massingale during “A View From The Mountaintop” talk.

“Culture facilitates a blindness or an indifference to social injustice,” said Massingale. “I want to argue that if King were to look at our society today he would say we are conditioned to see danger . . . and this leads to tragedy.”

Thursday in Grewen Auditorium, Massingale along with senior student speakers Lorenda Mable and Kharisma Goldston, discussed the realities of racism within society and what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would think of the recent events rooted in prejudice that have been plaguing today’s America.

The night’s heavy but critical topic was nicely balanced out by spirited performances from the Le Moyne’s Dolphin Steppers and Prayer and Worship team.

Due to the racist, anti-feminist and overall discriminatory happenings that occurred on campus last semester, this talk was a small step in making Le Moyne’s campus feel more inclusive of all its diverse residents.

Dr. Ludger Viefhues-Bailey was very excited to be a part of the event and thanked Dr. Thomas Brockleman [Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs], Deborah Cady Melzer [the Vice President of Student Development], Fr. McCallum [Director of Mission and Identity Assistant Professor of Management] and Roger Stackpoole [the Vice President for Finance and Administration] for demonstrating “that the leadership of Le Moyne takes these issues really seriously, and that we are committed and interested in changing the culture into an even more inclusive Le Moyne.”

Massingale explained the importance of translating King’s lessons to today’s society, because in a world where unarmed African-Americans—especially black men—are being killed we need them more than ever. Americans are living in the new justice movement.

Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner. They are just a miniscule fraction of all those who have fallen victim to police brutality. Massingale shared some startling statistics concluded through public media that show the truths so many people choose to ignore. Every 28 hours at least 313 extrajudicial deaths of black men occurred in 2012. 68 percent were younger than 31, 22 percent had a mental illness or were self-medicated, 44 percent had no weapon.

According to Massingale, culture tells us who we are and who we are not, and race operates as a culture by identifying us. Through racism we learn that we are not like them. We are taught that what is different is dangerous, and that is why such violence will not cease until people learn to change their mindset.

“Remembering King leaves him safely in the past; distant and removed from our time and issues,” said Massingale. “I think King is more relevant and needed today than he was even during his lifetime . . . we need to make him more than a history lesson.”

Mable could not have agreed more. She explained that so many people sit back and hesitate to make a stand for what is just because they think ‘Who am I?’, but they shouldn’t because we are all Martin; we are all fighting for the same rights—equality.

“What is now does not have to be,” said Massingale. “Therein lies the hope. And the challenge.”