Gratitude and Grief at Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving in Massachusetts was 400 years ago this year in 1621. I like Thanksgiving.  I like the fact that sitting down to virtually the same meal I had as a kid brings back all kinds of memories: my childhood, my children’s childhoods, now my grandchildren’s childhoods.  I envision the childhoods of my parents […]

A Pet and a Threat, Part 3: What Can We Do?

Without understanding anti-Asian racism in at least some depth, it’s difficult to know how best to address it.  (See Part 1 and Part 2.) But understanding by itself isn’t enough, of course.  Here are some possible ways to address Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) hate.  At least one of them should be a good […]

A Pet and a Threat, Part 2: Stereotypes at the Ready

In Part 1, we examined the rise of overt bigotry against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) during the pandemic, including terrible, terrible violence, often aimed at women and older people. In Part 2, we will examine why. The answer begins in our history, in the role people of Asian descent have played in this […]

A Pet and a Threat, Part 1: Anti-Asian Violence During the Pandemic

Anti-Asian hate crimes have been all over the news for a year now and, if anything, seem to be getting worse.  They’re not new, of course, but they are on the rise, driven, almost certainly, by the pandemic and the pre-existing condition of racism.  Why is that?  And what does it tell us about race […]

The Past is Always Present: How Jim Crow Helped Shape My Life

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun There is a lot of resistance to the idea that we should tell the truth about the racism embedded in our nation’s history. Part of that resistance is motivated by a desire to deny the power of racism today. Just […]

The (literal) Idolotry of White Supremacy: A Golden Calf for our Time

I read a couple of books this weekend, spent a little time online, watched a bit of TV, and went on a walk with my wife.  Except for the walk, there was definitely a common thread.  Some excerpts . . . From Zach Beauchamp, in Vox:   “The Golden Calf is one of the most […]

Acknowledge the land. Acknowledge the facts.

I learned some years back about land acknowledgements from Lowa Beebe and Chip Colwell.   I never thought much about whose land I lived on until I worked with a group of Native Americans on a series of pow wows from 2005 – 2009.  One of them had a dream—a literal dream—of offering a pow […]

Prayer of Repentance for White Supremacy

One of our students told me recently that she is reading Isaiah 1 in light of the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.  Here are some selected verses from that chapter, from a section entitled “The Wickedness of Judah” in the New Revised Standard Version. 2 Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth;     for the Lord has […]

Bound by our context: the direct line from the xenophobic hysteria of 1929 to the xenophobic hysteria of 2019

Our grandson turned four a few weeks back, and was happy to show me the birthday crown he got to wear at pre-school that day.  His pre-school is part of a Spanish-immersion elementary school, and his crown had “Feliz Cumpleaños” written across the front.  I began to sing Feliz Cumpleaños to him, and he got […]

Remembering the life, the death, and the legacy of Dr. King

Dr. King was assassinated 50 years ago today, on April 4, 1968.  I was eleven years old and living in Holton, Kansas.  I don’t remember a thing about it. I remember 1968.  I remember the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive, and Lyndon Johnson’s announcement that he would not seek re-election.  I remember the assassination of Bobby […]