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 […]

Segregation means that the similar is also the familiar

An international research team has been studying racial bias in children—how it develops and how it can be addressed. We have known for a long time that babies and young children look longer at things they like, and not so long at things they don’t like.  Pretty straightforward, right?  More recently, we learned that when […]

Getting un-befuddled

#BlackLivesMatter has become a national force in the year since Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri.  Businesses are scrambling to adapt to the new work force, and the new customer base.  “Social justice” is the subject of sermons and studies in churches, synagogues, and mosques around the country. And 51% of likely American voters want […]

Are those kids our kids?

Back in the ‘80s, there was a lot of concern about the coarsening of U.S. culture, especially in entertainment, including the use of violent, crudely sexual, and misogynistic lyrics in both heavy metal and rap music.  At the time, heavy metal was considered a genre mostly for young White men, and rap a genre mostly […]