Leelee Jackson and Geoffrey Stone are hardly household names in diversity circles. But in 2019, my interactions with Jackson, a talented young playwright, and Stone, a passionate defender of free speech, helped illuminate the challenging complexities of diversity and expression.
As a fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, I have been examining the myriad tensions created when two laudable principles collide: the defense of robust speech and the effort to create greater inclusivity. This intersection has generated considerable controversy, including among diversity advocates.
Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 4: Navigating the N-Word – by Carlos E. Cortés
Sigh, here we are again folks. Race…America…2019!
Like those meddlesome spring dandelions in the front yard, the specter of race keeps coming up as a slap upside the head reminder of how far we’ve come yet how far we need to go. One step forward, two, three, four, five steps back.
Here’s the latest “what the heck was he thinking” moment; one, I add with disgust, broke in the headlines on the first day of African American History Month in a state where 400 years ago the first slaves were hauled off in chains onto the shores in Virginia.
Continue reading When Nobody’s Looking: the Northam Moment! – by Terry Howard
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, not now at least. America is firmly within the twenty first century, yet we are struggling to deal with the problem that W.E.B. Dubois so aptly identified in 1903 as the problem of the twentieth century. That problem was the color line, which refers to institutional racism, discrimination and segregation. Looking ahead over a century later, it seems little has changed. While that assertion is unfair to a point—after all, we had a black president and legal segregation is prohibited –certainly the dynamics of racism are still as vibrant, conspicuous and ubiquitous in American life as ever—there is a problem throughout U.S. history that never subsides, and, as if to operate in cyclical fashion, sometimes gains momentum.
Continue reading ‘Violence Against Black Bodies’ is About More Than Black Deaths – Book Review by Elwood Watson
Bill Maher, host of the quasi political/entertainment program HBO Real Time with Bill Maher, recently had renowned Black intellectual and ordained Baptist minister Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and rapper Ice Cube as guests. They discussed the n-word controversy that erupted on the May 31 edition of the program when Maher flippantly referred to himself as a “house nigger” in an interview with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). The senator had been invited to the program to discuss his book on what he sees as the increasing problem on prolonged adolescence occurring in American society. Sasse and Maher agreed on the issue and provided examples and suggestions on how to rectify the problem. Things seemed to be going well up until this exchange transpired between both men:
Maher: Adults dress up for Halloween. They don’t do that in Nebraska?
Sasse: It’s frowned upon. We don’t do that quite as much.
Maher: I gotta get to Nebraska more.
Sasse: You’re welcome. We’d love to have you work in the fields with us.
Maher: Work in the fields? Senator, I’m a house nigger.
Continue reading Bill Maher and the N-Word Debate – Elwood Watson
Readers, you’ll need to rely on your imagination to read this narrative.
Let’s start with a few actual “voices from the ranks.”
First Donnie, a middle age white police officer who got out of his hospital bed after recovering from a brutal beating by a drug dealer and returned to street duty, to the profession he still loves.
Continue reading Consider the Iceberg: Untold Challenges of the Boys in Blue – by Terry Howard
In their attempt to break into the Chinese market, Victoria’s Secret seems to have been caught with their cultural pants down. Their most recent fashion show in Paris last December was intended to win over Chinese shoppers as the company is in the process of opening their first stores on the mainland. But critics saw things differently. The Global Times called Victoria’s Secret “the latest international brand to rub Chinese consumers the wrong way with ill-conceived Chinese-inspired elements in its designs.”
Continue reading Racist Underpants? Victoria’s Secret’s Slap Dragon Problem – by Kyle Hegarty
In Part one of this two-part series, “What to do in those moments of rage,” we called out the increases in acts of hate after the recent election. We follow up here with some tips for getting home safely.
But here’s the reality that threatens that goal – “drive by hate” can spring up unexpectedly, anytime and anywhere. And it’s on the rise across the country. Such acts can puncture your comfort zone while crossing a parking lot, walking on campus, sitting in an athletic stand, in cyberspace – anywhere.
Continue reading What to do in those moments of rage! EXPEDIENCY on the STREETS – Part Two
(Article is Part 1 of a series) So here we are, and not in some far-flung foreign country either. We’re in America 2016, and hate is popping up across the nation. And as incidents of racist, sexist and Islamophobia harassment continue in the wake of the election, many are asking, ‘what should I do when (not “if”) acts of hate are directed at me or others?’
“God Bless You,” was her seemingly choreographed response to this question I asked my friend and her young black son “Mark”:
“Given the documented cases of hate crimes since the election, how would you respond if haters drove by you and yelled ‘Hey N—-r”, go back to Africa. We’re taking our country back!”
“Uh, uh! If that happens to me, I’m ready to rumble!” said “Mark,” at hearing mom’s response.
Continue reading What to do in those moments of rage! EXPEDIENCY on the Streets – by Terry Howard
Even after forty years, I still remember the most important lecture I heard at college. It was delivered to me by a friend, standing in the dormitory hallway. I had once again done something thoughtless and self-centered. She had had it with me. She delivered a lecture on all of my failings, all of the ways I had let people down and acted in selfish self-interest. Defensively, I pushed back. But I also absorbed what she said.
Continue reading The Privilege of Failure – by Patti Hague
When it comes to courageous writing, it doesn’t get much better than James Ragland. He constantly serves up a menu of thought-provoking lines that allow for wannabee writers like yours truly to do some free cherry-picking.
“And when did civil protest — of any form, really — become the object of scorn in America, even when it’s not hurting anyone except the guy whose butt is on the line? You may not like what Colin Kaepernick is doing, but fighting for what he believes in is about as American as it gets.”
–James Ragland, Dallas Morning news
Continue reading They protested, did they not? Just asking. – by Terry Howard