Dear Parents of White Children (Like Me), 2

Dear parents of white children (like me), Imagine with me for a moment, please. Let’s imagine you were living in a world in which there was an epidemic that threatened to abruptly and violently end the life of your son or daughter. It might happen when they were a child. It might happen when they … Continue reading

Let’s Move Beyond Fear of the Words “White Supremacy,” and Say Yes to Racial Justice!

[Friends, in this love letter to white Unitarian Universalists (originally published on Medium), Chris Crass calls his community to choose to stay. To stay and say “White supremacy, you cannot have me. You cannot have my family; you cannot have my faith; you cannot have my congregation.” His words speak well beyond the UUA too, to those of … Continue reading

If You’re a Cop . . . (or have cops in your life).

Dear Police Officers, Let me share a story that illustrates something like how this should go. A few months ago, my nephew T. was at school. A fellow student was relishing in a bag of Doritos he’d brought for lunch. The student was quickly deluged with other children clamoring for a chance to smell this … Continue reading

When “All” Means None

Dear Fellow White Folk—especially (but not only) White Christians: As a Midwestern Lutheran, I have been to many potlucks. Casseroles and Jell-O salads abound. At their best, potlucks embody a community meal in which everyone contributes, feels at home, has fun, and has their fill. But sometimes people at the front of the line overestimate … Continue reading

Disarming the Lethal Knot of White Fear

Dear White People: Earlier this week, in another outrageous, egregious miscarriage of justice, the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury failed to indict the white police officer who killed a 12-year-old black child, Tamir Rice. And once again the justification for letting a uniformed murderer go free is that the officer believed he was in mortal danger. … Continue reading

Failing White Kids

There’s long been a prevailing sentiment among white people of my generation, expressed in some version of the following: “Our race problem is mostly a matter of time. Racism will whither as the older white U.S.-Americans die off.” Other versions of a similar sentiment show up when folks tout the demographic changes poised to dramatically … Continue reading

Building (Racial) Houses

A house can be many things. It can be a place where a family grows; where people gather to nourish each other with food and stories; where they go to rest and rejuvenate after a long day. A house can be a location that someone names as the place where they live; points to as … Continue reading

Rachel Dolezal: One thing we must definitely not do . . .

I’m clearly not alone in my utter inability to quite wrap my head around this story. At the most mundane level (i.e., setting aside for a moment the many contentious racial implications) so many details here are beyond bizarre. I can’t seem to let go of the most surface kinds of questions. If Dolezal’s family … Continue reading

Would the Real “Sooner” Please Stand

It’s right to have shuttered the Sigma Alpha Epsilon House and expelled two students involved in last week’s raucous—joyous, even—celebration of white supremacy on a fraternity bus. But it’s right for one reason and not for another. The reason it’s right has to do with environment, which is different than the logic of punishment (that’s … Continue reading

The Feathers Came to My House . . .

Here’s something we do during the winter months: have elementary kids make construction paper menorahs. In stronger curriculums we do this while teaching them some history of the Jewish people and something about Jewish traditions. Here’s something we don’t do: have these kids make construction paper yarmulkes to wear home. Now some of us may … Continue reading

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