Last week I had lunch with a friend of mine. We were talking about each other’s businesses and our profile, so to speak, on Twitter. He said that in general he liked things I said, but wished I didn’t concentrate on race as much.

I said a lot of things to him in explaining why I talk about race. I’m not going to get into everything I said to him, but I will explain in general why I talk about it.

I’m a child of the 70’s, pretty much the early part. During that time, we were “black and proud.” It was a mantra that I remember uttering as young as 10 years old, though it took another 2 years before I actually knew what that meant.

I’ve always been the observer. One of my friends has a name he calls me that I’m not going to use, but it’s a term of affection that I’m proud he uses. He says I look at what’s going on and I see truths that people don’t want to own up to. He says that if something is racial, no matter what someone else may believe, he knows I’ll see it and I’ll call it out when all others stay silent. He says I stay true to the cause.

What is the cause? The cause isn’t a promotion of the rights of minorities over anyone else. The cause is balance, equality, and fairness. And, by the way, it’s not always race. I was proud of what New York did last week in passing the gay marriage act; it’s something that the nation needs to do in my opinion.

The fact is that things aren’t equal or fair. Some people point to just how many blacks there are in positions of power these days. I point to just how few people there are in regular jobs or leadership positions in regular companies, including health care.

Statistics say that blacks are prominent online. Yet last week I had to write a post on my other blog pointing out 21 prominent black voices in social media because other people and companies that have been putting these types of lists together for the past 3 years almost never mention anyone black, and I’m sorry but in the 21st century even if you mention one you don’t get a pass; I’m tired of tokenism as a general rule.

Last week in Syracuse there was a racial issue involving an Asian young man being verbally berated by two drunk white kids at Syracuse University. Another white kid hours later wondered, out loud, why it was a big deal. It had to be me to step up to the task of telling him, in no certain terms, why it was a big deal. He took it well, and thanked me for my point of view.

That’s why I talk about race. Because every day there’s someone who doesn’t get it, someone who, strange to me though I should be expecting it, doesn’t get the whole “race” thing, someone who’s never had to worry about it because it doesn’t impact their daily life. And I say something because I’ve reached the age where I now have some people listening. Sometimes it takes that one voice to help change things around.

And hopefully, though I respect the man, I’ll never get to the point of saying things like Dr. Cornel West has been saying lately. He’s right and wrong at the same time; but that’s a conversation about race for another time.

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