Herman Boone: Leadership and Diversity

To be honest, I really wanted to hear him speak because Remember The Titians is one of my all time favorite movies, but I am so glad I went. Herman Boone is a man that ,even in his old age, marches to the beat of his own drum, but still inspires and leads so many as he goes. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he was the coach of a one of the first integrated high schools in the south around the time of civil rights. He is also the person the blockbuster movie Remember The Titians was based off of, being portrayed by Denzel Washington.

There was one thing that he said that really stood out to me. He said:

“There is no person who committed a crime based on the color of their skin.”

I had never heard it phrased like this, but I don’t think you could say it any better. So much racial tension arises from stereotyping races/ethnicities, especially when it comes to crimes, and what he said is, no one commits a crime because they are black, white, purple, or blue. This statement really amazed me because I’ve never thought of it like that before.

He also stressed during his presentation the importance of accepting others regardless of races but also in regards to sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. He also said progress won’t happen unless we all make an effort to step out of our comfort zone. He mentioned how common race, social standing, religious affiliations, etc. often group together in social situations, and challenged his audience to step outside of the status quo to improve the quality of interactions and improve the acceptance and understanding of those not necessarily similar to you.

My favorite part of the whole presentation was towards the end when he started answering questions. One of the facilitators approached the microphone and told the audience he would take one more question. He immediately said “No, no not when there are 10 more people in line!” The look on her face was priceless. He demanded that he answer the remaining questions. It’s people like Herman Boone that make my heart smile. His dedication to inclusion, cultural acceptance and understanding, and his position as a role model inspire me. I secretly stated I wish he was my grandfathers just so I could spend a little more time in his presence. He made my day.

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