A Letter to My (White) Son

Dear Beloved Son, Remember a year ago when I told you the tragic story of a teenager named Michael Brown shot to death by a police officer? Remember how we gathered flowers from our yard—billowing white hydrangeas and pink Echinacea cones, arranged them in a vase, then cut through the neighbor’s yard to place them … Continue reading

Reparations? Or Charity?

This is a reparations moment. That’s not to say it’s newly or uniquely such a moment (as if we haven’t long been in a reparations moment). It’s not. But it’s worth asking this right now: If something as entrenched in U.S.-American culture as the acceptability of flying the Confederate flag could finally be upended and … Continue reading

White Anti-Racist Parenting

Last night at a vigil I heard a black elder in my community trace herstory through the bombing of a church that claimed the lives of 4 young black girls, the murder of Emmet Till, through the civil rights movement and the murder of King and connected it all to Charleston. She then wondered aloud … Continue reading

12 rules (oops, 13) for maintaining a racially hostile environment at your institution*:  

Use phrases like “we’re working on diversity.” Use them often and in as many public venues as you can. (Shake your head sadly, for emphasis, when you do.) Never count out loud, in public space, the actual number of people of color who are part of your administration or faculty. (Doing so is risky. The … Continue reading

Whose Violence?

The Grand Jury verdict will be announced today. Almost all of the reporting in the media keeps reiterating the message that a failure to indict will likely result in “violence.” Keeps claiming that “violence” is what everyone is bracing for and hoping against. Let us remember that this is not a neutral description. And let’s repeatedly ask: whose … Continue reading

What Did You Say About Race Today?

We’re holding our breath. At least, I’m holding mine. Any minute the jury will announce its verdict on whether or not Darren Wilson will be tried for killing Michael Brown. As we wait, let us not forget what a verdict actually is in this country: something that has long had little to do with whether justice has … Continue reading

No More “Reconciliation” Talk

This post is mostly for other white Christians. It’s not about what we should all be doing today in response to what’s happening in #ferguson and dozens of other cities today. Nearly two weeks into this spreading eruption there’s so much powerful and precise writing out there now on that, that not a one among us can possibly … Continue reading

I Don’t Feel Bad About Being White, 2

Parent, teacher, activist, religious folk, and anyone else reading, Two questions for you: Are you white or do you have white people in your life? Have you ever thought it was important to develop your (or your students’ or child’s): ability to express emotions? or nutritional habits? or intellectual understanding? or general capacity for ‘–x–’ [fill in blank] by … Continue reading

I Don’t Feel Bad About Being White, 1

It’s strange to have to claim it: “I don’t feel bad about being white.” But claim it I must. The weird and sad fact is that there’s an all too familiar experience among those of us who are white and trying to figure out how to be anti-racist allies. At some point most of us … Continue reading

THANKSGIVING 1 (A REPRISE)

November’s a beautiful and dangerous month. Yesterday when I opened my daughter’s backpack after school, tips of multi-colored construction paper feathers poked out . . . Momentary pause. As I pulled her construction out, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was only a turkey. But that moment made me recall a post from last … Continue reading

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