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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti


Zero tolerance on race talk?

Like Trent Lott before him, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in political hot water over his comments about Barack Obama's race. Should leaders, in particular, be held to a "zero tolerance" policy on potentially offensive racial comments, or does that have a chilling effect, silencing all discussion of racial issues?

Posted by Steve Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti on January 11, 2010 12:57 PM
Slade Gorton

No exceptions for Congress

The nation cannot be deprived of the opportunity for a frank and open discussion of race. Trent Lott should have kept his job -- and Harry Reid should not lose his.

Posted by Slade Gorton, on January 14, 2010 10:03 AM
Robert Goodwin

Fewer than 42 years

Instead of another zero tolerance policy, we need freedom and openness to report and deal with offenses like Harry Reid comments.

Posted by Robert Goodwin, on January 14, 2010 5:39 AM

Our nation's success

We will have succeeded as a nation when we can engage in respectful conversations about race without fear or censure, but instead with a true desire to understand perspectives that may be different from our own.

Posted by Alaina Love, on January 12, 2010 11:59 AM

Underground bigotry

The existence of colorism is a fact in this country. How can we counter bigotry if we drive honest, open communication underground?

Posted by Katherine Tyler Scott, on January 12, 2010 11:52 AM

Whispering about race

Harry Reid's comments don't just address how we speak about race; they reveal how we think about it.

Posted by Coro Fellows, on January 12, 2010 11:51 AM

Theater we can't afford

We need to work together instead of adding to an already-contentious atmosphere by turning Harry Reid's unfortunate choice of words into political theater.

Posted by Yash Gupta, on January 12, 2010 11:43 AM

No double standard

There are many profound issues about race in America to address with deep thought and concern. Indefensible as it is, this incident is not one of them.

Posted by Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr., on January 12, 2010 11:20 AM

Worth talking about

I have seen many leaders make mistakes when in the midst of race talk. And I am particularly intrigued when white leaders make those mistakes.

Posted by Martin Davidson, on January 12, 2010 6:42 AM

Shut your mouth

We are all going to make mistakes like Reid did. The best advice is shut your mouth, listen, and show people the respect you would want for you and whatever group you identify with.

Posted by Juana Bordas, on January 12, 2010 6:37 AM

The tender topics

Harry Reid tread into territory we all know to be explosive.

Posted by Ken Adelman, on January 11, 2010 2:30 PM

Costly missteps

we all say foolish things. What counts is how we behave when our words come back to haunt us, and Reid has passed that test.

Posted by Howard Gardner, on January 11, 2010 2:23 PM

Save us from shallowness

Leadership in America seems increasingly to consist not of making bold decisions but of explaining away relatively harmless mistakes.

Posted by Alan M. Webber, on January 11, 2010 2:12 PM

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Aprogressiveindependent: Yes, this clearly will have have an inhibiting effect on any discussion of racial issues. Most people, certainly all white people, probably...

truthtime: For far too long, we have been unable to talk to each other about race. While most of us are ashamed of the US racial history, some still s...

JoanAngel: And who gets to decide what constitutes "stupid or insensitive"? Al Sharpton? As much as I dislike Harry Reid (and I do!) I'm at a loss to u...

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