The Reverends Irene Monroe and Emmett G. Price III were back on Boston Public Radio for their regular Monday segment, All Revved Up. They talked about the Confederate flag, diversity in the Boston police department, and Pope Francis' visit to South America.
Irene Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist who writes for Huffington Post and Bay Windows. Emmett G. Price III is a professor of music at Northeastern University, and the author of The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture. Their responses below are edited where noted [...], and all questions are paraphrased.
The South Carolina legislature is debating whether to take down the Confederate Flag right now. What do you make of those who are holding out on this?
Irene Monroe: I don't think people realize that the Civil War did end. [...] There's always going to be that tension between the fact that the North won — and they call it 'Northern aggression' — and the fact that the South lost.
Yesterday at a NASCAR event in Daytona, Florida, it seemed like there were as many Confederate flags flying as American flags. Do you find that shocking?
Emmett Price: No, no.
Monroe: It's a Southern history of hatred. [...] The textbooks that they have teaching about the Civil War do not teach about slavery. [...] It was just a, 'Lincoln freed the slaves,' but there was no conversation about the Confederacy.
Price: We make it sanitized, because there are still white teachers not comfortable teaching the [history].
Where are we going to get our American history education, if not in primary through high school?
Price: You really don't get 'American history' — the unsanitized and uncensored version — until you get to college.
Monroe: You're exposed to diversity in a way which you're not when you're in high school. We tend to live in sort of segregated enclaves.
To switch gears ever-so-slightly, Amber Roof — the sister of the Charleston church shooter — solicited donations online to help her pay for her wedding and honeymoon, which were postponed after the church shooting. Was this in poor taste?
Price: It's time for them to go back to pre-marital counseling.
Boston Police and their Commissioner William Evans have rolled out anti-bias measures to improve diversity in police ranks. Is this a big thing?
Price: This is huge. I mean, when you think about the 'old Boston,' [...] this would've never happened. I do remember Commissioner Evans, when he was kind of the number two, when he was very involved in the start. [...] To see him in this system of integrity, where he's calling it like it is, not trying to sugarcoat anything, [...] this is a good thing for Boston.
Monroe: I think what he's setting up might very well be a national model. [Evans] is the real thing.
Misty Copeland was named the first African American principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre.This comes after harsh criticism that she and other African Americans have faced in that arena. Is this a big step forward?
Monroe: I wanted to be a dancer [but] my hair was too nappy, and my skin was too dark. [...] That's not the phenotype we want for a ballerina. So the Dance Theatre of Harlem offered me an opportunity.
Price: Alvin Ailey started his troop in 1958 because of racism, [...] but you go back and have Katherine Dunham, who was a phenomenal [dancer]. Misty Copeland has been a survivor over all kinds of family disputes, and she did not start dancing until she was 13, which is old!
Monroe: We only see ballerinas as white women.
Price: I want to give a shout-out to Bill T. Jones, who was the type of choreographer who was classically-trained, but gave people who look like me a chance.
Pope Francis is in the middle of a trip to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. Any idea why he picked those three countries?
Monroe: He's empire-building because he realized that he's lost the global north, he has to go to the global south. [...] You can't pour old wine into new wine skins.
Price: He's the first pope from that part of the world, and he's going to see all of his fans.
They're also three of the poorest South American countries. Do you think Pope Francis is the real deal?
Price: He is, absolutely
Monroe: Paraguay has a real anti-gay problem, so I hope he addresses that while he's there.