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 […]

Hitler’s American Model–and What That Means for Race in the U.S. Today

As we point out elsewhere on this site (See Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Racial Differences in Time Frames), there are many important differences in the ways White people and people of color view race.  For example, many White people look back at the past and think about how far we’ve come.  Many people of color look […]

The Macro-Function of Micro-Aggressions: The Maintenance of White Institutional Spaces

“Whiteness, like other forms of domination, is characterized by masking power under a veil of normality.”    –Glenn Bracey and Wendy Leo Moore, 2017 My wife is an avid gardener.  It’s her favorite thing about summer, and she tends to it daily—planting, watering, pruning, fussing around.  Lots of people compliment the yard, but they don’t […]

One way to honor Dr. King today

We observe Dr. King’s birthday today.  Those who assume he would be satisfied with the state of the nation today don’t understand his powerful commitment to justice for all, and his constitutional inability to to sit by while people are being oppressed. Dr. King was deeply unpopular among White people all across the country when […]

Lord, have mercy.

Sometimes I wake up early and can’t get back to sleep.  This morning, it was 3:44.  I learned while making coffee of the shootings in Dallas.  Another blow, so soon after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  After learning what I could from the usual news websites, I turned to twitter. I present […]

When Can Small Steps Lead to Big Results?

I’m not a big fan of small steps.  I like large steps.  Strides.  I want a blueprint for Ending Racism in Our Time, and No Later than Tuesday Afternoon.  With all that needs to be done, who has the patience for small steps?  Besides, small steps often are used as an excuse to declare victory, […]

A Gathering of Voices– Ivy Keen, Hope College class of 2016

On November 24, 2015, approximately ninety Hope College students met to discuss ways Hope could improve its campus climate so that all students are able to succeed and flourish. In Hope’s new strategic plan, Goal 4 focuses on discovering why some students are marginalized and on identifying ways the college culture could be improved to include these students. The […]

Does your church have a Swedish Jesus?

It can be difficult for people in a dominant group to understand the experiences and perspectives of those who are in subordinate groups.  If something works really well for me, and others seem to be struggling, my first impulse may be to wonder, “What’s wrong with them?” In addition, dominant group members may not have […]

Two Racial Tipping Points?

I’ve been wondering lately whether we’re moving toward two very different racial tipping points, both at the same time. Tipping Point Number One:  Not Your Mother’s Civil Rights Movement A student asked me after class Wednesday where I thought the most racial progress is being made today.  Interesting question!  I told him that the post-Ferguson […]