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

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


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

“White Privilege” is Not Enough

More than forty years after the advent of Black Liberation Theology, Trayvon Martin’s predator and murderer walked. More than twenty years after critical studies of whiteness began to gain traction among justice-committed academics Trayvon Martin’s predator and murderer walked. Free. Went home. I feel frozen. Caught tight between the demand for an endless flow of … Continue reading


One of the challenges faced by women who survive sexual assault by an acquaintance is the shattering of everyday trust. We expect harm from the stranger in an alley. But when violence comes at the hands of someone you’re supposed to trust (a friend of a friend at a party, a classmate, a family member) … Continue reading

It’s Not Only About The Onion: On Intent and Impact

There’s been plenty of brilliant, angry writing in response to The Onion’s tweet about Quvenzhané Wallis. But an admittedly non-scientific reading of my facebook feed tells me lots of white folks are still confused. Just what is all this hoopla about? We all know The Onion is satire, right? We all know satire’s job is … Continue reading


by Jennifer Harvey You’ve probably heard a lot about “non-white” turnout post-election. Or that shifting “demographics” decided the presidential election. The more crass version of this refrain, spoken aloud by Bill O’Reilly, laments that the “white establishment voter” is now a “minority.” Yes, communities of color supported President Obama by huge margins. But, let’s avoid … Continue reading

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