'I'm not going to hurt you'
And right now it is defining Marc too. In a couple of days this Los Angeles-based freelance sound man will be working on a homes and garden show. But today, he is in Minister Louis Farrakhan's suite wondering what to do with the microphone. Ordinarily, in a briefly intrusive, intimate moment, he would clip it on an interviewee's shirt. But this is no ordinary situation.
Do as we say, not as we do
There is nothing so pathetic as the powerful claiming victimhood. White South Africans who bleat about affirmative action, as though apartheid represented a meritocracy, are to be pitied as well as pilloried. Business leaders who award themselves exponential pay hikes, only to carp about the damaging effects of the minimum wage, warrant condemnation but need counselling.
Maya Angelou does not like to fly. So she made it to the West Coast from her home in North Carolina by bus. It is 2,152 miles as the crow flies. But she more than trebled the distance, coming via Toronto and the Rockies, on her five-week book and lecture tour. It's not a Greyhound, she quickly explains, but a serious tour bus, complete with a double bed, spare rooms, shower, cooking facilities and satellite television.
At ease with our diversity
It is a nation honest enough about its past to be confident about its present, because its historical self-image is underpinned not by the mythology of might and conquer but by the morality of right and wrong. It is a place where people are not demonised collectively because of who they are but judged individually by what they have done. A land, like any other, where the poison of racism will always be present but where the antidote of anti-racism will always be available for those who wish to use it.
A land fit for racists
The election of three British National party councillors in Burnley marks a significant development in our political and racial history. Sadly, it is not a turning point but the acceleration of a trend - the logical development not only of political disaffection but economic alienation, social degradation, and racial and ethnic intimidation.