New book’s perspective explores racial similarities rather than differences

By Lee A. Litas

Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I’ve always been a fan of comedian George Carlin; particularly because of his bit dubbed the “Seven Dirty Words.”

To me, the point of that routine, aside from its intrinsic shock value, was simply that words are a means to an end, and in and of themselves not culprits.

For a reporter, words are currency; and as such, one dollar bill is arguably just as good another. In that routine, Carlin himself said, “There are no bad words, just bad thoughts and bad intentions.”

As recent events involving Mel Gibson, Michael Richards and Don Imus have shown, were they to have their druthers, many would say exactly what is on their minds.

But while Carlin toys with taking free speech to its extreme and others use it as a platform for racial slurs, political correctness has undeniably placed many restrictions on things we can say, even as an innocent inquiry.

Luckily, there is no shortage among us of those who eschew PC and tell it like it is.

Local businessman-cum-author, Kevin D. Moore, 43, of Lindenhurst, is one such individual.

His recently written book is called “Did You Ever Wonder Why Black People Do the Things They Do?”

Some might argue racism — until they learn that Moore is black; though, as it turns out, this is not a description he would choose for himself.

“I prefer not to be called an African-American, or even a black American for that matter. Just American,” said Moore. Having lived 14 years in Germany, he knows firsthand what it’s like to be a foreigner on many levels.

Moore’s overseas experience, along with his work as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, chief information officer of the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM), and president of his own motivational speaking and consulting company, has put him face-to-face with cultural differences — none the least of which has to do with his race.

“In my work, I do a lot of traveling and often discuss cultural differences with my fellow travelers. Being open, I make people comfortable enough with me to where they will start asking me questions about things that they’ve observed stereotypically across the spectrum of black people,” said Moore.

He believes there to be many misconceptions about black culture still.

“Maybe it’s because (people) are afraid to ask questions that may be viewed as offensive,” said Moore.

So in 95 pages, Moore addresses 18 questions and myths he believes to be the more pressing topics of the day, including “Wearing a Du-Rag,” “Can’t Swim or Float” and “Some Are So Well-Spoken.”

More selective memoir than a study in sociology, Moore presents no expert opinions, studies or findings, noting that the comments, observations and conclusions in the book are his opinions alone.

The purpose of the book, says Moore, is an attempt to underscore cultural similarities rather than differences to show that people are people, regardless of their status, their race, color or creed.

“I believe that by understanding our differences, we as a race — the human race — will grow closer,” wrote Moore in the book’s opening.

Then borrowing an uncited paraphrase of a qute from Martin Luther King Jr., he added, “I hope that our sons and daughters will live in a world where they are judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character.”

Moore published his book independently and is doing all the marketing for it himself. When asked if he had appealed to Oprah’s Book Club, now a proven catapult to success for any new author, Moore, an exceedingly confident and gregarious man, demurred.

“First of all, how would I find her address? And second, the probability of someone like that taking a look at someone like me has got to be pretty small,” he said.