There are prices we pay for participation in society. We all agree to live amongst one another and that requires some set of shared rules, obligations and responsibilities. Some are formal like paying taxes and others informal, like cutting our lawns in a timely fashion. We do these things even if we don’t like them or understand them so that we can have the enjoyment of living amongst our fellow human beings.
We learn new expectations as new technology and situations arise. We no longer cover our coughs and sneezes with our hands as we did before, but with our…
I’m very good at pulling weeds up by their roots from the garden.
And the truth is,
I get a sort of strange physical pleasure from it.
I make exceptions for anything that blossoms,
especially if it’s yellow,
but I’m very efficient.
I know how soon to head out after the rain stops.
It’s the tug of the meandering tendrils
against the pull of my will,
the satisfaction of dethroning an interloper,
the frustration when it rips at the ground
and I know we’ll have to fight again,
This months long stubborn impasse,
my refusal to…
I have a unique take on cultural appropriation. I know it’s unique because every time I raise it around people of color, they look at me like I have two heads. Many people of color don’t want White people wearing our clothes, using our hairstyles, generally using our style to outpace us in the dating market, mimicking our slang and body language and dance styles, using gifs of us, acting like they “discovered,” á la Christopher Columbus, our food and style, or worse, profiting off any of these cultural symbols.
I get the collective frustration. All too often when White…
So there is this “compliment” that well-meaning people lob at me when I write conscientiously about social ills that infuriate me. I write about something deeply painful, troubling and/or problematic in our society in my own fairly measured way that feels innate to me and is not in any way meant to say anything about the deservedness of my politeness as it relates to thing that is problematic or people supporting or engaging in problematic behaviors and without fail someone, sometimes many someones, will thank me for being, “so polite.”
Instead of sharing my outrage at the initial and underlying…
In the 1994 remix of “One More Chance,” The Notorious B.I.G. lists in great detail his effortless finesse with women of all races and ethnicities. The classic cut samples El DeBarge’s “Stay With Me” and features his wife, Faith Evans, and Mary J. Blige on background vocals. It’s partly comical, partly offensive, and all NSFW. Still, apart from a beat that lingers, a few lines really stick with you.
Momentarily putting aside glaring concerns with misogyny in hip-hop, I’ve spent perhaps an inordinate amount of time considering the social influences that led Biggie to rhyme “Heartthrob, never/Black and ugly as…
Recently, a friend of mine asked me why people of color often get defensive when White people ask where they are from. She had a new friend whose heritage she was unsure of. She genuinely wanted to learn more about him and asked where he was from. Her question led to a disagreement, hurt feelings, and offense on both sides.
For people who don’t fit the stereotypical social expectations of an American identity—whether because of their skin color, accent, or any number of factors—this question can come up a lot.
And it’s almost always a White person who asks.
Each year during Black History Month I share this letter that I wrote to my local library as a concerned parent in 2017. The library responded graciously and favorably and we have collaborated on the Black History Month display each year since. I share the letter because the message is always relevant and I hope it can challenge some common conceptions about what Black History Month is, remove constraints around the idea of what Black history is, and encourage others to raise awareness in their communities about Black history. …
Like many human beings, I start my day with a cup of coffee, and like an increasing number of us, I check in with one of the four virtual assistants in my home as I do so. What’s on my calendar? Give me the news. Play NPR. What’s the weather like today? Sometimes, especially if my children are present, I say please and thank you. Often times, I don’t.
I don’t have cable and, during the coronavirus pandemic, I have found myself increasingly dependent on Alexa, Siri, Google and Bixby for basic information and access to the kind of thoughtful…
I have survived two of Life’s Great Tests in my life. I won’t go into detail about them because it doesn’t really matter what they are because no matter who you are, where you live, or what your beliefs, if any at all, you will likely encounter periods of prolonged upheaval and even sometimes physical and/or emotional pain or suffering in your life. Sometimes these Tests will come at once in the form of all three.
There are of course the usual small inconveniences and short spurts of disruption that frustrate and deter us usually temporarily from our chosen paths…