Story by Kevin Li
Audio interview by news director Erin Ben-Moche and Oakland Post chief copy editor AuJenee Hirsch
“I’m not here to give you a speech–I’m here to give you a conversation.”
That is how esteemed journalist Ed Gordon opened his keynote address at the 2018 Keeper of the Dream awards on the campus of Oakland University.
Gordon spent approximately 45 minutes addressing an attentive audience on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
His speech wove President Donald Trump and King together in a way that was both lighthearted and serious.
“I think we are in chaos right now,” he said before launching into how he disliked Trump because of the perceived “content of his character,” citing the President’s recent comments pertaining to developing nations.
“Whether you agree politically or not with this President, you’d be hard-pressed to say that the content of his character is something you would aspire to,” Gordon said.
In addition to political commentary, Gordon was candid and frank about African-American society.
“We love white people who love us,” he said when discussing the stiffness of most whites towards blacks. Former President Bill Clinton was mentioned as a notable exception.
Prejudgment was also described from both a white and black perspective. Gordon has felt prejudged by whites, but he admits to judging Arab-looking individuals at the airport.
At the same time, he offered sharp criticism toward leaders.
“Much of today’s leadership has to look in the mirror because I don’t see plans,” Gordon said. This comment was made while discussing police brutality. An alleged “black political agenda” has been discussed for 30 years, but according to him, not much has been accomplished because of negligent planning.
The journalist later backtracked on these comments to an extent, saying leaders are doing more than the average person. This led him to discuss the importance of voter participation.
Ed Gordon is a Western Michigan alum and hosts “Weekly with Ed Gordon” on BET. He is set to host “How Black Are You?” on Bounce.
The Keeper of the Dream scholarships are offered through the university’s Center for Multicultural Initiatives and Gordon was introduced by Senior Director Omar Brown-El. Brown-El believes that:
“You can never stop learning, you can never stop growing. Your past situation does not dictate where you’re going to be. If you have the will and drive to succeed, anything is possible as long as you’re open to learning each and every day.”
The scholarships have been awarded since 1993 and there were seven recipients this year.