During the infamous O.J. Simpson trial, attorney Johnnie Cochran — who used his magnificent mind to defend the indefensible and paid the wages of sin with an inoperable brain tumor — claimed during that awful trial it was Racist to identify a Black man by voice alone.
Do you agree with Cochran or not?
It is possible to identify someone’s gender, religion, educational
level or cultural upbringing solely by the sound of their voice?
Is it ethical to Racially or Ethnically identify someone based on skin
and facial features alone?
I have students who can look at a series of faces and say — “She’s
Filipino. He’s Chinese. She’s Korean.” — and get them all right! One
Filipina student told me, “The Filipino nose is unique. That isn’t
Racist. That’s a fact.”
Is that student Racist, or is she just using the physical
characteristics of a people to categorize them based on common
experiences in her culture — a broad nose, the shape of an eye, a
prominent cheekbone — to help identify friend or foe or family or
stranger based on a genetic coding within us that we have all used —
consciously or subconsciously — for thousands of years as a matter of
socialized survival and community advancement?
Is it appropriate or not for us to use our ears and our eyes to try to
give form and reason to strangers we may not know, but may have
Are we forsaking our innate protection methods and survival skills by
denying there are identifiable and historically appropriate Cultural,
Ethnic and Racial profiles that are shared across a group of people for