Can You Say “Epidemic”?

This blog did not begin as a blog devoted to the problem of state violence or sanctioned violence against African Americans. (It didn’t even begin as a blog singularly devoted the problem of racism.) It began as a blog devoted to thinking about the connections between the self, the social and the spirit. How these … Continue reading

Killings So Common They Don’t Have to Be Explained . . .

In the back of my mind there’s always a song or voice or quote floating around.  In the past few weeks the blend of lyrics are from Michael Jackson’s, “They Don’t Care About Us” and Sweet Honey in the Rock’s, “Ella’s Song.”  The voices include James Baldwin’s, Ruby Sales’, and Vincent Harding’s. This mash-up of … Continue reading

What Kind of White Person Are You?

I’m thinking about Malcolm X today. Remember his famous response to the white guy in the car? The guy who leaned out his car window, grinning, and asked “do you mind shaking hands with a white man?” Malcolm X responded “I don’t mind shaking hands with human beings. Are you one?” Now, I’m not one … Continue reading

For Whites (Like Me), Who Are Pissed. We Are Not Ignorant.

I debated the “pissed” of this title. I realize it’s not nice. And I didn’t want to alienate readers who might be put off by it. (Like my mom. Sorry, Mom.) But “mad,” “angry,” even “outraged” just don’t capture it. So it’s “pissed.” We get “pissed” at someone or something. It is (or, at least, … Continue reading


I have a hate/love relationship with Charlie Brown. For reasons that seem obvious to me I love the Christmas special and still miss the Great Pumpkin episode they used to air when I was a kid. But, I hate how mean everyone is to poor “Chuck.” (Yes, it took my four year-old asking why they … Continue reading


As a white parent committed to resisting racism, what do I want for my kids? I want my kids to know how to be the only white person in the room. I want them to know how to do this gracefully and without calling undue attention to themselves. I want them to know how to … Continue reading


Dear Parents and Non-Parents Who Also Happen to be White, I need to clarify something in regard to my last letter (“Dear Parents with White Children”). Do Latino/a people sometimes dislike white people because they’re white? Do people of African descent sometimes perpetuate negative stereotypes about people of European descent? In an argument, might an … Continue reading

FOR WHITES (LIKE ME): white paradox

One of the most brilliant poems ever: For the White Person Who Wants to Know How to be My Friend The first thing you do is to forget that I’m Black. Second, you must never forget that I’m Black. You should be able to dig Aretha, but don’t play her every time I come over. … Continue reading

FOR WHITES (LIKE ME): on white kids

Dear parents of white children, I vote that we strike the following from our parental lexicon: “Everybody is equal.” “We’re all the same underneath our skin.” I realize this is counterintuitive. But I’m completely serious. These statements are so abstract they’re mostly meaningless when handed to a seven (or even seventeen) year-old. That’s at best. … Continue reading


Last year at the university where I teach, a group of African American students were walking past a dorm at night when someone in an upper-story window threw an object at them and yelled, “we don’t want your kind here!” In the days that followed, the Coalition of Black Students (CBS), in alliance with other … Continue reading

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