It’s not unusual for me to be on the receiving end of sarcastic comments in response to something I wrote. It comes with the territory. In fact, I’ve grown to relish the barbs, and on occasion will use them as teachable moments. Here’s the latest one from “Cynical Cedric” followed by a teachable moment checklist:
“Hey Howard, we’ve noticed that you’ve been strangely silent on the sexual assault stuff that’s been in the news lately. I think that many women are paranoid and worry too much about something that probably won’t happen to them. This stuff is largely overblown.”
Continue reading Cynical about Women? – by Terry Howard
For native born U.S. citizens life is full of challenges. But, as “Nadia” shared during my interview, life for those in mixed status marriages like hers has even more difficult challenges. She shared a few:
ME: Tell me about some of the biggest challenges children in mixed-status homes face.
NADIA: The impact on children is the most heart wrenching. Immigration raids and police checkpoints targeting undocumented immigrants in their homes and communities, or having to visit a parent in a detention center all can be psychological damaging. One of the most difficult issues in our life is that occasionally a friend or family member will be arrested and deported. It’s very difficult to explain to children that uncle-so-and-so was not a bad person, he wasn’t a criminal and yet he is in jail. The idea of immigration laws are very abstract to children.
Continue reading My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 3) – by Terry Howard
Recently my wife and youngest son were riveted to live images on his laptop of my eight month old granddaughter crawling around on a living room floor pausing occasionally to pull herself on furniture to explore stuff. Although her 9 year old brother was preoccupied in another room, the baby’s 8 year old sister pranced in and out of the screen smiling and waving at us. Like us, their proud mom and dad – my daughter-in-law and son – could be heard laughing and relishing these precious moments.
And for a few seconds later, I conjured up recent images of those immigrant kids on the southern border literally caged up like animals and separated from their parents. Unlike for us – and the majority of native born citizens of the United States – those precious moments are few and far between for those parents.
Okay – before reading further, think on the aforementioned two paragraphs for a few moments from your perspective as a parent and/or grandparent with your loved ones in mind.
Continue reading My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 2) – by Terry Howard
At the center of the contentious immigration debate; the finger-pointing and the promise to “build a wall” on the southern border, are human beings who like everyone else want opportunities for a better life for themselves and their loved ones. “Nadia” is no exception.
But let’s start this at the end, that being a gut wrenching decision by her family to finally pack up and relocate to the relative safety of Winnipeg, Canada. A dozen or so years fighting through the immigration system, the bureaucracy, the morass and the constant fear of deportation can wear down even the strongest of the strong.
Continue reading My Marriage to an Illegal Immigrant (Part 1) – by Terry Howard
I didn’t know Bill Nordmark. And I’m probably not alone. That is until his name appeared on the obituary page of a local newspaper. “Bill Nordmark fought polio as a child and racism as an adult, all the while believing that one person can make a difference,” the opening paragraph read. Two years ago he embarked on a mission to forge better race relations – two people at a time – through what became known as a “Friendship Initiative.”
You see, that line and the rest of the story about Bill Nordmark (I’ll get to some of it further down), conjured up for me a line from one of my favorite authors, William Faulkner. “You move a mountain one stone at a time!”
Continue reading “Two people at a time” – Remembering Bill! – by Terry Howard
NOTE: In part one of this series, My Neighborhood, the author traced his experiences growing up in a small town in segregated America. Part two, The Powerful Voices of Momma Nem, replayed the voices of the black women who raised and held families together during those times. Those two narratives culminated in an idea for a block party. Here is part three of the story.
For us, the block party trek started on one corner and was interrupted along the way to a corner on the far end by surprised looks on faces, hugs, frequent pecks on cheeks and a bite to eat.
On July 4th this year nearly 100 of us participated in the first Baptist Street block party in historic Staunton, Virginia, where folks roamed the bristling street snapping pictures, looking over arts and crafts, chowing down on chicken wings and fried fish, playing games and reconnecting with family and friends they’d not seen in years, decades even. Tears meshed indistinguishably with perspiration as temperatures soared into the low nineties.
Continue reading The 2018 Baptist Street Block Party – by Terry Howard
DATELINE: Police questioned a black graduate student who fell asleep while studying in a dormitory common room.
I picked up a local newspaper and was confronted by this headline: “Harassment for ‘being black’ gains attention.”
My blood started to boil.
I took in a deep breath, cussed to myself, and slowly exhaled.
There’s not a day that goes by without more evidence of how tough it is for many African Americans to go about their daily activities – any activity it seems. We’ve gone from DWB (Driving While Black), to SWB (Shopping While Black), to BWB (Barbequing While Black), to SISWB (Sitting in Starbucks While Black), to SIADWB (Sleeping In A Dorm While Black). Insanity is too mild a word to describe this racial mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.
Continue reading Dialing 911 on Black Folks – By Terry Howard
“Diversity defines the health and wealth of nations in a new century. Mighty is the mongrel. The hybrid is hip. The impure, the mélange, the adulterated, the blemished, the rough, the black-and-blue, and the mix-and-match – these people are inheriting the earth. Mixing is the new norm. Mixing trumps isolation. It spawns creativity, nourishes the human spirit, spurs economic growth and empowers nations.”
As much as I’d like to, I can’t claim that the above quote belongs to yours truly. No. Its actual source is G. Pascal Zachary’s, The Global Me: New Cosmopolitans and the Competitive Edge.
Initial reactions aside, you have to admit that this one’s a classic thought-provoker. Once I ceased quibbling over Zachary’s intriguing choice of words and began really processing this on a much deeper level, it started to hit home.
And here’s why.
Continue reading Mighty is the Mongrel: Diversity – by Terry Howard
Hey predators, Bubba awaits!
“Rubbernecking,” is the act of staring at something of interest; a trait that’s associated with morbid curiosity.
It can be the cause of traffic (and cyber) jams as drivers (and readers) slow down to catch a glimpse of what happened in a crash. It seems that the more grisly the scene the more we stare. Now I naively thought I could do a smooth pirouette around the recent “crash” – the guilty verdict in the Bill Cosby sexual assault trial that is – but nah, I had to do a U-turn and pivot back to it for two compelling reasons – the truth and the teachable opportunities it provides
(Now Cosby fans, you may want to skip the next paragraph).
Continue reading The Cosby Teachable Moment – by Terry Howard
Ever watch the old sitcom Hogan’s Heroes? If so, no doubt you’ll remember Sergeant Schultz’s famous line, “I know nothing … nnnoooTTTTHHHING!” when he witnesses Hogan’s shenanigans.
During these times of mind boggling incivility, blatant disrespect, school shootings and outright bullying, I find it disheartening to watch those who sit quietly on the sidelines (or behind them on the stage) while someone verbally demeans others with vicious bullying rhetoric. It’s unbelievable how calling someone a “SOB” and other unprintable words have become an acceptable norm these days.
And even worse are the spineless ones not wanting to offend their political base who choose to stand silently in the background and utter tepid responses, but only when called out on their silence.
Let me to peel back the onion as to why the Sergeant Shultzs, the silent bystanders, in the contemporary world appear to be so prevalent during these turbulent times.
Continue reading Silence and the Sergeant Schultz Syndrome – by Terry Howard