Posted by: Kathleen Cross | May 17, 2008

What Does “Good” Look Like?

Let’s keep it real.

It is a mistake to assume that a person who performs acts of “anti-racial goodness” has eradicated their own internalized racism. Most of the individuals who will be highlighted at this website would tell you themselves, that is a lifelong process requiring a never-ending committment to education, self-examination and action.

Having said that, what criteria can we use to decide who should be highlighted as an example of anti-racist heroism?

I use what I call the “ADMIRE criteria”:


           What ACTION did the person take? 


           Was there a DECISION to act, or was it coincidental or coerced?


           Was the person’s MOTIVE clearly generous or was it mostly self-serving?


           Was there a significant, positive IMPACT on others?


           Did the person RISK privilege, property, life, family or reputation?


           Did the person defend the EQUALITY of all people?



  1. I just read about the teacher who told her students that we shoudn’t judge people from an earlier time in our history by the standards of today. Truth, justice, common sense, and basic human values are eternal, and what is wrong today was always wrong and will always be wrong. I have struggled for as long as I can remember with the stinging rascism of the people I grew up with, work with. worshiped with, been friends with, its a never ending struggle. I have been guilty of this horrible sin at times in my life, but have come a long way. I have an insatiable desire to learn about my country, especially this aspect of our national character. We are getting better, but lets be honest, many people would rather have a tooth pulled than learn anything about the black experience in America. I am a history major and study African American history as a hobby. I belonged to a Civil War roundtable for over twenty years and in all those years I was the only one to ever mention the s word, slavery. People like to talk about battles and generals and the size of the hoop skirts, but it always got quiet when I talked of the REAL issue. I know there are deeply racist people alive and well in our soiety. I met more than one in this group. I persevered for as long as I could, but eventually moved on. I gave programs on William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, and the Cristiana resistance. I would like to start an African American history interest group. I live about twenty miles from where the Coppoc brothers lived and trained with John Browns men before the raid. I am very proud that just fifty miles south of me in Salem Iowa many men stood up to the slave catchers from Missouri and were able to secure the freedom of some of the freedom seekers. They risked alot and were persecuted for it. Keep up the good work, I know things are getting better. When I was a kid in the sixties it was unthinkable that a black man could be our president. I am so proud of our president, we must pray for him, especially for his safety. Good bye and God Bless. Mike Cronin

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