Following the lead of his racially color-blind son, Michael Rosen and his wife found themselves adopting a group of underprivileged African American boys within the context of their very privileged Caucasian world. What began as a kids’ baseball game in the park, became a commitment that would bridge the racial and cultural divide, introducing the youngsters to Nintendo, their first dinner at a nice restaurant, a book store, and ultimately providing the guidance and support to get them into college. Not surprising, the Rosens gained as much as they gave, including an education in the real impact of racial and socioeconomic discrimination. Dr. Rosen explains, “I don’t understand what needs to be done to change this massive level of oppression. But I do know that unless there are types of mentoring where people reach across those divides, then that very tragic aspect of our society is never going to change.” This tender story of how one family grew to hold the dreams of young men, who might never have escaped that oppression, will bring you a new perspective on what’s possible, when we live as though everyone really does deserve an equal chance to succeed.
Michael Rosen holds an M.S. in social anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from its Wharton School. He has been a real estate developer and investor, a C.E.O. on Wall Street, an assistant professor at New York University, and is now a community organizer. He is the author of Turning Words, Spinning Worlds (Routledge 2000) and What Else but Home: Seven Boys and an American Journey Between the Projects and the Penthouse (Public Affairs 2009). To learn more about the work of Michael Rosen go to www.MichaelRosenWords.com .
Topics Explored in this Dialogue:
- What holds underprivileged young people back even more than racism and poverty
- How our society ignores the issue of class
- How love, trust, and commitment can change the course of a life
- Why baseball depicts both compassion and rankism
- How south Florida became a dream journey
Program Number: 3320 Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 9/29/2009