Connected stories about anti-Muslim events. Importance of personal responsibility. Finding common ground.
Category Archives: Grits: Social Commentary
Limits or Limitations?
I am finally learning to stop calling limits limitations. These are not the same.
Caste: The Violence Within
I began to make a mental list of what I had until now considered idiosyncratic quirks in my family of origin, only to discover in reading Caste the extent to which these behaviors were the direct result of our antecedent slavery past not only in my family but in others as well.
The Fear of Being Second: The Political Is Personal
The Mark of Cain This first and second business is really quite old: Cain was the firstborn son of Adam and Eve, who were farmers, already ejected from the Garden of Eden before he was born. Second-born son Abel comes along, a shepherd, and pleases God. Cain can’t figure out why God prefers Abel’s offerings,Continue reading “The Fear of Being Second: The Political Is Personal”
Are We Literate Yet?
Originally published in 1994 in The Times of Trenton as “African Americans in the year 2000: then is now.” At that time we were all looking ahead to the new millennium with some trepidation. now that we have surpassed 2020, has anything changed? It broke my heart a few weeks ago to get a letterContinue reading “Are We Literate Yet?”
Of all the words that might unite us across the political spectrum, the one I have heard most often over the past few days is “Enough!” Enough dividing and conquering Enough violence Enough cruelty Enough isolation due to COVID-19 Enough meddling from foreign powers Enough lying Enough fear Enough loss Enough immobility Enough being takenContinue reading “Enough”
Immigration Issues Are Not Just for the Mainland
Immigration Issues in Hawaii Asylum, border security, and comprehensive immigration reform are not just issues for the mainland. In August 2019, three non-profit organizations co-sponsored a forum on issues of immigration and sanctuary here in the Hawaiian Islands. Panelists spoke of the historical roots of anti-immigration sentiment in the United States since the Seventeenth Century.Continue reading “Immigration Issues Are Not Just for the Mainland”
Count Me In!
The morning was filled with politics. What are we for, what are we against? What matters? What could touch the heart of any individual anywhere on the planet? What slogan could unify a divided country, a divided world, a divided self? At the end of a recent local political meeting the phrase “Count me in!”Continue reading “Count Me In!”
Guilt As a Cornerstone of American Exceptionalism
As I see it, the most significant difference between the United States of America and other developed countries is the public expression of guilt when its ideals are not met, when it slips up in its efforts to become “a more perfect union.” That guilt goes all the way back to the Declaration of Independence.Continue reading “Guilt As a Cornerstone of American Exceptionalism”
Budget Cuts to Education: What in the World Are We Thinking?
When we look for ways to respond to danger, loss, economic challenge, and threats to the future of the planet itself, why are educators and schools the first target for budget cuts, as if education were a “discretionary” expenditure? These are the people and institutions to whom we entrust our prized legacy – our childrenContinue reading “Budget Cuts to Education: What in the World Are We Thinking?”
I continue to be an optimist. I continue to believe that human nature is fundamentally good, regardless of evidence to the contrary. After all, judgment and interpretation are matters of perspective: time and distance are likely to increase my understanding. “Ah, that’s what was going on!” “Ah, those are the consequences of my action orContinue reading “Optimism”
This Is How He Does It: Buffering as Trump’s Secret Sauce for Control
“Witch hunt!” “Fake News!” “Crooked Hillary!” “It’s a Disgrace!” Few people can sling around incendiary phrases like the current President of the United States. He engages in what seems to be crazy behavior, eventually wresting control of any situation through surprise, redefinition, name-calling, and denial, at least for a time. This shocks the opposition intoContinue reading “This Is How He Does It: Buffering as Trump’s Secret Sauce for Control”
Kudos to Teachers!!
There is an old saying that has stuck with me my entire life: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” On the one hand teachers are canonized (sometimes called philosophers and prophets, professors, almost always male, who are initially ridiculed and later revered). Some are teased affectionately (absent-minded professors). On the other hand someContinue reading “Kudos to Teachers!!”
Consent is a very tricky issue. How do I know if consent is real or even possible? How do I tell if what I am consenting to and what you think I am consenting to are the same? What recourse do I have to change my mind and take back my consent midstream for anyContinue reading “Consent”
Stranger in a Not Entirely Strange Land
Nothing makes us more aware of our similarities with others in our own country or town than travel abroad. No matter how marginal I felt in the United States for much of my younger life, trips to my West African ancestral home in the 1960’s and 70’s made me intensely and even painfully aware howContinue reading “Stranger in a Not Entirely Strange Land”
One Way or the Other, One Global Family. Will It Take UFOs to Get Us There?
Many years after an intense decade immersed in African politics and culture I was talking with my friends Kip Eddy and Sue Phillips about the possibility of UFO’s and extra-dimensional or extraterrestrial beings making their presence felt on earth. Kip was fascinated with the subject and I was happy to oblige his curiosity by takingContinue reading “One Way or the Other, One Global Family. Will It Take UFOs to Get Us There?”
Why So Many Dilemmas Right Now?
Unlike almost any other time in recent history we are facing a host of mind-boggling and gut-wrenching dilemmas. Every day forces some impossible collective or individual action, some choice between equally horrific consequences no matter what action we take. Someone has to decide whether or not to treat an Ebola patient; and then someone hasContinue reading “Why So Many Dilemmas Right Now?”
Choice III: Keeping At It
If one single thing distinguishes this new millennium in my mind, it will be the active and fully conscious exercise of choice. It is only the intensity of choice that can break the oppositional pull of dualism, provide the synthesis between contradictions, handle, if never entirely eliminate dilemmas, and move the human spirit to theContinue reading “Choice III: Keeping At It”
“It’s Only Meat”
The killing, skinning and dismembering of a healthy two-year-old giraffe named Marius in front of child and adult spectators at the Copenhagen, Denmark zoo has haunted me for days. I am still trying to sort out my visceral feelings about this, and trying to understand and share the public outrage and concern on all sidesContinue reading ““It’s Only Meat””
The threat of toothpaste and gel-based insurgent attacks on flights to and from the Sochi Winter Olympics could have an interesting twist. What if, in the process of protecting flights by removing predominantly safe products in travelers’ bags, a different sort of threat is actually put into motion? What if the intelligence gathered and disseminatedContinue reading “Sochi Games”