For many folks who hold historically marginalized identities, particularly those of us who feel the effects of racism and microaggressions acutely in our bodies, I’d like to share two truths for determining how to think about those who perpetuate bad behavior: They are mistaken. It’s not about you. Half the battle is deciding if we’re… Continue reading Racism Reminders
Of all the new words that entered the lexicon last year, “whitelash” was the hardest one for me to share with my students. I felt relief when a local media source in San Francisco chose “Xenophobia” as the word of the year, because that word’s easy to accept. Phobia is a powerful suffix we review… Continue reading Whitelash
Why Don’t People Understand Racism?
O n February 29th, 2016, Stephen A. Smith gave a speech at the University of South Alabama as part of the school’s offerings for Black History Month. During his talk, Smith told young black students and attendees that racism is not an excuse for lack of progress because it doesn’t exist. “You don’t have to… Continue reading Why Don’t People Understand Racism?
As I maneuvered the shit-laden sidewalks of San Telmo, a gently gentrified neighborhood of Buenos Aires, I couldn’t help but hear the Sesame Street song “one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong,” playing from an imaginary loudspeaker. To see people’s reactions to me, you’d think I… Continue reading Hola, Morocha
Maybe She Should Have Just…
I deleted and wrote this essay over at least twice. It was difficult to write because I was still sorting out my emotions. I didn’t want to vent and write an angry piece or feel compelled to have something encouraging to say. I also wanted to make sure this essay had a clear purpose, given… Continue reading Maybe She Should Have Just…
“We can live in a world where the police don’t kill people by limiting police interventions, improving community interactions, and ensuring accountability.” So reads the hopeful, matter-of-fact vision statement of Campaign Zero, a momentous, sweeping initiative focused intently on ending police violence in the United States. Organized by four social justice leaders from around the country… Continue reading Campaign Zero
Set Adrift on the West Coast
This was somewhat foreign territory for me. The West Coast of South Africa was about as far as you could get from where I grew up, at least without leaving the country all together. Now, living in Cape Town, the ice cold waters of the West were not much further away than a few moments… Continue reading Set Adrift on the West Coast
Misogynoir and Me
On Thanksgiving night five years ago, my uncle, a guest in my parents’ home, insisted that we watch a two-hour Beyoncé special airing that night. I wanted to slap the shit out of him. “I don’t wanna see that black bitch.” I’m not proud of it, but that was my first thought. An offense punishable by… Continue reading Misogynoir and Me
The Buck Stops Here
“Why can’t we all just get along? I didn’t do anything personally to cause oppression, so why would you call me an oppressor? You’re just stoking more racial tension by discussing racism.” Every day, these same delusional questions and statements are posited by us white folks. Every day, after centuries of racism and genocide at… Continue reading The Buck Stops Here
Finding a Place Between the World and Ourselves
I had been anticipating Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book, Between the World and Me for all of three weeks. I must confess, I had not heard he was writing a book and I did not want to know too much of its content before reading it, in the same way that I detest previews and would rather watch… Continue reading Finding a Place Between the World and Ourselves