Numb and Number

This was the week that was: this week we had school shooting number 22 of 2018. This is week 20 of the year. Let that sink in for a minute. We have also had incidents where police roughed up an innocent black person, though thankfully haven’t killed anybody this week. I don’t know how many people of color that makes for the year. Another black man was exonerated and released for jail after serving a sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. White people have again called police when they see black folk doing innocuous things and businesses have accused

America WTF is wrong with you?

In my final blog entry on the George Yancy situation I will presume to take a stab at analyzing America’s current situation. My analysis is free, take it for what it is worth. It’s just my two cents added to the conversation. What we have seen since the end of the 1970’s is twofold:  a belief among many folks that we are living in a zero sum game where if someone else is winning they must be losing; and a loss of a sense of community that people outside of our “tribe” are part of our community. “Tribe” can be

Racism as Self Delusion

Blog entry 3 of 4 on the George Yancy situation.

What did George Yancy say that has brought all this backlash. His New York Times opinion piece from December, 2015 is written as a letter addressed “Dear White America.” In it he asks white America to listen with love to what he has to say. He admits he is sexist despite his best efforts, because he harbors subconscious beliefs that oppress women and he participates and benefits from a system of male privilege. His words:

“Yet, I refuse to remain a prisoner of the lies that we men like to tell ourselves

The Importance of Black Professors

The first group of responses to George Yancy’s New York Times op ed piece that I want to talk about are those responses which deny that he could be an intellectual or even someone who reasons. He received comments like: “This belief that niggers even reason is blatant pseudo-intellectualism,” “The concept of there being an intellectual Negro is a joke,” “Another uppity Nigger. Calling a Nigger a professor is like calling White Black and Wet Dry,” “This coon is a philosopher in the same way Martin King was a PHD and the same way that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton

Ugly Truths

A friend asked for my thoughts on a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “The Ugly Truth about being a black professor”. It is written by George Yancy, a professor at Emory University and it is here if you want to read it. In it the author recounts hate mail and death threats he received after writing an op-ed piece for the New York Times in 2015. Another version of his response to the backlash is here. The op ed piece is here if you want to read it. He is writing a book about the reaction

New Gumbo

On this day four months ago my wife of many years, who I had been with for two thirds of my life, passed away. I have dealt with my grief many ways. I have stayed busy with chores, done those things which I avoided doing with her (like eat red meat, she couldn’t, eating shrimp, she was allergic), spent more time with my son and his family, cleaned the house, and did the things I normally do as well as those things I haven’t in a long time (e.g. cooking and going to the gym.) Many friends, colleagues and former

Re-Creating

A scholar I know has just written an article bashing a jazz group for re-creating Miles Davis’s classic “Kind of Blue”album note for note including the solos’ of the musicians. She makes the point that this is a Western way of seeing music as property rather than the African American one of what Henry Louis Gates calls signifying. Gates defines signifying as “repetition with a difference” which is at the center of black art and culture. This Western way was fetishizing the form of the music rather than the experience of the music. A long time ago I read something by C.S.

Old Friends

If you are lucky, and I mean really lucky, you have a friend you haven’t seen in a long time with whom you pick up where you left off as if it were just yesterday. One of my friends like that just visited me for a few days and little in our friendship had changed. Oh sure we had a few more pounds between us and our hair was grayer, retreating, or both, but the core of our friendship was as strong as ever. If you have spent time in the foxhole of undergraduate college together, supporting each other from

What Trump Doesn’t Understand About Immigration

Donald Trump doesn’t understand a lot of things, but right now we are concentrating on what he doesn’t understand about immigration. Historically most immigrants have come from “shithole” countries although which countries these were has changed over time. Even his beloved Norway was once a shithole and although I haven’t checked the stats I would hazard a guess that there was more Norwegian immigration then than there is now. Most of the 19th and 20 century immigration was from what were then “shithole” places. If you think about it people are more likely to leave their homes if the economy

Yelling at my TV

From time to time there are things on the news that make me yell at my television because they are so outrageous or because the media have so spun the wrong narrative that it is brainwashing the public. Cases in point:

In a photo op I watched on CBS news Trump was  handing out sandwiches or something to hurricane victims when a middle aged white man contrasted Trump’s behavior in coming out to help with Obama’s who was golfing during the last hurricane. This of course is keeping with the internet memes which show a picture of Trump helping compared with