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  • Writer's pictureAlice Bernstein

Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism— Book update

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Above (l-r) speakers: Onilaja Waters, Jaime Torres, Monique Michael, Alice Bernstein, Allan Michael, Arnold Perey.

At this critical time in history, I am happy to tell you wonderful news: Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to RacismArticles Published Nationwide and Abroad is being updated and republished for the New Year! Here are some of our 30 co-authors and others who joined in our work and whom you will meet in the new book, as we tell of work which began 16 years ago because of the book, and which continues today!


In our book and events we speak about the urgent, practical, kind, and enduring explanation of the cause and answer to racism, taught by Aesthetic Realism, the education founded by the great poet and philosopher Eli Siegel, and continued with integrity and beauty by Ellen Reiss, the Chairman of Education.

As representatives of humanity's diversity, we want everyone to know what we have learned: the cause of racism and every injustice is contempt — the desire to get an “addition to self through the lessening of something else.” And the answer is criticizing contempt wherever we see it, including in ourselves, and seeing that good will, wanting to know and be fair to the world, is real power—it makes us stronger, happier, more truly ourselves!

Each of us has seen in our happy lives that racism can end because good will is real; it is the proud emotion every person is longing to feel more deeply than they know. Our gratitude for learning this is immense!

Our new book tells of the founding of the nonprofit Alliance of Ethics & Art, and our mission (a) to educate the public about the cause of racism and join with others seeking the solution based on Aesthetic Realism principles; and, (b) to find and preserve little known history of civil rights in the words, images, and voices of women, men, and children yes,

childrenwho helped to make that history! Projects at the heart of this mission are:

1) "The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights" Oral History Project of video interviews Alice Bernstein has been conducting across America with over 300 unsung pioneers of all races who deserve our nation's gratitude and acknowledgement.

2) The educational/performance event, based on a second book, "The People of Clarendon County"A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism" (Third World Press: 2007) by speakers, actors, and community leaders nationwide in schools, libraries, colleges, churches, union halls, museums, and in the Congressional Auditorium in Washington, DC.

Our beginnings with The Harlem Book Festival

Harlem Book Festival, 2004. Seen above (l-r): Alice Bernstein, Antonio Workman, Patsy Lewis, Arnold Perey.

Harlem Book Festival, 2004. Seen above (l-r): Alice Bernstein, Monique Michael, Allan Michael, Steve Weiner.

Some Readers & Audience Comments

"About contempt. I saw it in myself and in my wife. As soon as I see her, we'll start to examine these things together. It's a great concept: I never heard it before. It sticks." "As a black person, I could relate to Dr. Torres when he said that he would avoid other black and Hispanic people. I realize that I sometimes do that and it’s wrong. I learned that Yes, there is a hope that racism can End!" "This book, with this philosophy, has the power to transform us all." "It should be taught in all the schools"

The late Hon. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings' Tribute Honoring Eli Siegel in the 2002 Congressional Record (a chapter in our book): “Aesthetic Realism…has been tremendously successful…an effective tool to stop racism…because it enables people of all races to see others with respect and kindness.”

"The Force of Ethics in Civil Rights" Oral History Project

Jose “Chegui” Torres (1936-2009), Puerto Rican boxer; first Latino to win World Light Heavy Weight Boxing Championship(1965); also an author, newspaper columnist, NYS Athletic Commissioner, and legendary civil rights activist. His wife Ramona Torres, also interviewed, tells the unknown history of

her mother's role (1940s) to organize the Photo by David M. Bernstein first union of Sugar Cane Workers in Ponce, Puerto Rico!

In an interview, Onilaja Waters thanks Dr. Robert Cohen, former Director of US Civil Rights Commission, for his role in enabling her father, Archie Waters to break the color barrier in the world of chess.

Photo by Alice Bernstein

AB with Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants: Raymond Chong, George Sau, John Mark in Salt Lake City, UT for the 150th Anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad, 2019.

Photo by May Chin Ng

Father and daughter in Memphis, Apr. 4, 2018 at 50th Commemoration of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. at Lorraine Motel.

Edgardo Miranda--Rodriguez, graphic artist, Latino rights activist, creator of the first Puerto Rican comic book super heroine, La Borinqueña, and originator of RicanStruction, a collaborative work of many superheroes by 130 writers and artists, to assist in rebuilding Puerto Rico.

Photo by Paul V. Brown

(l-r) Videographers/Editors, Renata Leguisamo and Zishun Ning; and Andrew Salinas, Oral History Archivist at the Amistad Collection in New Orleans who was key in having "The Force of Ethics Oral History Project" included in the Library of Congress original database of Civil Rights History Projects.

Please join in celebrating our new book

to be published by Path Press, one of the first Black-owned publishing companies in the US, for over 50 years. A founder, Bennett Johnson, the revered Civil Rights pioneer, is seen in a Skype interview by Alice Bernstein and Monique Michael. Your tax-deductible contribution will help to meet the hopes of people everywhere, including Eddie Ponds, Editor/Publisher, The Drum (Louisiana), who says, "We hope this new book will be a best seller!"

"The People of Clarendon County"

A Play by Ossie Davis, & the Answer to Racism

Allan Michael, Glenn Mariano, Mugga Phoenix, in a scene from the play event at Congressional Auditorium, Washington, DC, introduced by Congressman James Clyburn.

Photo by Len Bernstein.

Congressman James Clyburn introduces Ossie Davis seen with Ruby Dee Alice Bernstein at Congressional event 2009. who spoke and acted at several events.

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