This is where we offer some of our thoughts and perspectives to you. We won't promise they're better than anyone else's. Or even right. But we'll at least provide interesting ways of looking at things.
Combined with the information we provide in the other parts of this site, we hope to encourage interesting and meaningful conversations about things that affect you.
DID YOU JUST LEARN SOMETHING?
Is it worth a dollar?
News in FiVe is free to read, but it takes time and money to publish.
If you find what we do valuable, please help us continue with a small donation every so often. Even a dollar or two makes a difference.
In return, we'll keep providing you the most relevant, understandable, and accessible news and information.
It's secure and takes only about a minute.
Flipping the Byrd
Date: 2015-Dec-08           Author: Barry Shatzman
He was just a product of his times.
That was the main argument used by those opposed to the University of Maryland changing the name of its football stadium from Byrd Stadium to Maryland Stadium.
But the reason for the change was stated in an email sent to alumni by the university's president Wallace D. Loh...
President Byrd is rightly regarded as "Father and Builder" of UMD over a 43-year career here, retiring in 1954.... He laid the foundation for today's achievements. He earned his place in our University's history.
He was also an ardent proponent of racial segregation and discrimination. To many African-American alumni and students, "Byrd Stadium" - the "front porch" of the institution... conveys a racial message hidden in plain sight.
But Byrd's views merely were a product of the times he lived in, right? After all, if you look at virtually all perceptions in societies that have changed over time, the main thing that's changed is the time. So of course these views were a product of his time.
These perceptions haven't been just against black people of course. Throughout the times of this country, we have engaged in hatred and systemic discrimination against all kinds of peoples. Irish, Jews, Palestinians, Mexicans, Japanese, and Muslims. We had the Yellow Peril and the Red Scare. Most recently it's been refugees from Syria.
You just don't like foreigners, you say? Then how about our treatment of the North American natives? They lived here for tens of thousands of years, yet look what's happened to them in just the past 500. What about homosexual and transgendered people who were born Americans and still face scorn and discrimination?
Past or present... all products of our times. And all caused by the same thing. Fear. We worry they'll take our jobs. We're frightened they might be secret terrorists. They're criminals, rapists, moochers... you name it.
There's another thing they all have in common. And this is where I yank the excuse rug right out from under Byrd's feet. And yours.
In every single instance of mass anger and differential treatment, that hate was later shown to be wrong. Read those words again. Every instance. Wrong. There has never been an exception. Read that one again too. Never an exception.
But here's the good news. You can do something about it right now. Any time you're told you have something to fear from any large group of people and you find yourself believing it, start to investigate - both from outside sources and from within yourself. Let's not kid ourselves... these fears can be very difficult to overcome. But overcome them you must - because if you don't you will be proven wrong.
Please do yourself that favor. So in 50 years they don't rename the building that has your name etched on it. Or worse... excuse every mention of you by saying that you simply were "a product of your time".