Most of the men – and they were mostly men – I looked up to back in the day have turned out to be racist. Or misogynistic. Or both.
George Washington, for instance, was the Father of Our Country, though I was suspicious even then of the story about him being unable to lie? I know no young person who could not, when pressed, cultivate an untruth to some degree.
Continue reading Racist weeds in a conservationist garden
Submitted for your consideration: a new television offering.
“The Chair” is a dramedy – part drama, part comedy – on Netflix starring Sandra Oh as the first woman chair of the English Department at a small liberal arts college.
Continue reading Context is everything
Much of what follows was a column I wrote 20 years ago, almost to the week. My then-newly declared life partner and I had returned from a celebratory cruise around the Caribbean. We had visited the Yucatan Peninsula, Grand Cayman Island, and Jamaica, and spent a couple of days at sea, being waited on. Not a bad life – for a week.
Continue reading He really wanted to know
Of the (mostly) men I looked up to back in the day, several have turned out to be racist. Or misogynistic. Or both.
Continue reading Pull the (racist) weeds, not the (conservation) garden
Many of my historical champions have turned out to be racist. Or misogynistic. Or both. Who knew? Continue reading Conservation includes all of us
Readers of a certain age – which is to say, aging baby boomers – likely will remember a song by Anne Murray in which she pleaded to wake up one morning with “A Little Good News” in the headline news.
“Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain.”
Continue reading A little good news
The Edmonton Eskimos is no more. It was a Canadian football team, until it announced last week it would drop the name it has used since 1949, responding to years of complaints from at least some people that the name was offensive to Inuits, who many of us erroneously refer to under the blanket name Eskimos.
Continue reading 2 names and a logo
At the site of a battle that began the end of a war to decide whether any men should be allowed to own other men, we still concentrate on the battle rather than its meaning. The people over whom all that blood and treasure was shed remain largely ignored.
Continue reading The cost and the promise
Disney, in its effort to outdo the plethora of streaming services already competing for our eyeballs and money – especially money – has created Disney+.
Continue reading Outdated cultural depictions
We humans, I’ve discovered through many years of observation, are complicated.
We like, for instance, the story of Romeo and Juliet, two young (some say about 15-year-old) lovers who got together in spite of their parents feud. Or maybe at least partially because of it; youth often does things just because the elders forbid it.
Continue reading Myth and reality
News Flash: Archeologists have found Sally Hemings house. Most of us know Sally Hemings was a slave owned by our third president, Thomas Jefferson. I wonder what, if anything, will her abode reveal.
I was a substitute high school teacher in the late 1980s, occasionally in charge of a high school Social Studies class.
“How many of you think women’s lib started in your lifetime,” I asked one day. Except for a couple of students clever enough to suspect a trick question, all raised their hands. So I told them about Abigail.
Continue reading Silly Rules
I‘m a bit mixed about banning speech, but I lean mostly toward don’t do it. Sure, there are things I wish people wouldn’t say, but banning speech really doesn’t accomplish anything, other than to drive the sentiments underground.[pullquote]“Those pictures were not selfies. Someone took those pictures.” – NPR reporter Gwen Ifill [/pullquote]
We all learn to disguise what we think other people do not want to hear us say. I used to visit a certain home and listen to “goldurn” this and “goshdarn” that. Did they really think the god they claimed was all seeing didn’t get that they’d merely disguised the word they really meant.
Continue reading You can’t say that in public
Years as a reporter covering courts have taught me most of us can read or watch the news and decide whether the accused is guilty. The most graphic illustration in my memory came at the end of the OJ Simpson murder trial.
For those who may not remember, the former black football and movie star was accused of knifing to death his white ex-wife and her alleged boyfriend, also white. When Simpson’s trial ended in 1995, the jury said he was not guilty.
Continue reading Questions from Ferguson