Explorations in Black Leadership

Co-Directed by Phyllis Leffler & Julian Bond

World Vision and Worldly Priorities

BOND: Do you have a vision of what ought to happen, what the world ought to be like even in the perfect world? What would that be like, and how does your vision instruct you with getting from here to there?

BERRY: I think several things, to try to be concrete. On questions of gender equality, I think that men and women ought to understand that they both are responsible for taking care of children and that it’s not just a woman’s role and that women can never be equal unless we understand that and not so much that men understand it, but that women understand it. And that women should — and, so, both men and women then have these responsibilities.

I think that on questions of racial equality we have to get over using specious reasons I call them, for denying opportunity to people. For example, in higher education, we argue that standardized test scores are the holy grail for deciding whether somebody should be admitted. That’s what people argue and almost everybody I know, including me, knows somebody who got admitted or they encountered who had great standardized test scores and didn’t do very well and other people who had lousy ones and were really smart people who did very well and we all know this but we still go around denying opportunity to people based on test scores. We’re in denial about a lot of different things. I think opening up opportunity to people in a real way is what I think should happen in a perfect world. I think —

So, I see these as goals but my vision is simply a world where barriers, where discrimination, invidious discrimination, doesn’t exist and where specious rationales are not presented for denying opportunity and where people can sort of decide what they want to do and where I would like the Human Rights Covenant, something like the Human Rights Covenant of the United Nations, to apply generally to everyone, that people do have a right to decent food and housing and health care wherever they are and that there’re certain minimal things that people ought to have.