Untangling the images that shape our thinking
This essay uses the backdrop of comics and superheroes to highlight how we our unconscious bias has been form through childhood images. When people took to the internet to criticize the new Black Batwoman, it reminded me how we had green superheroes and a dog before we had a popular Black superhero. This essay explores how that harmed us and provides us tools to undo that impact.
Blacks and Jews once modeled a path to end racial distancing
To escape the horrific racism and systemic oppression in the South, beginning in 1916, millions of southern Blacks migrated north and west to places like Chicago, East St. Louis, Compton, Oakland and Baltimore. And to Harlem, which at the time was home to a sizable Yiddish-speaking Jewish community, also trying to make their own way in a still challenging America. Blacks and Jews were each other’s neighbors, customers, and employers.
One result of that was Black men and women becoming Jewish cantors. Cantors lead the Hebrew (and back then Yiddish) prayer songs on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. This odd entry into Jewish religious life presented an opportunity for Jews and Blacks to get to know each other and end what I call racial and ethnic distancing. This essay explores that fascinating time in our history.
The stars and stripes of racism
Independence Day for me as a kid was always a joyous occasion. Beautiful red, white, and blue flags everywhere. Burgers and hot dogs. Lighting sparklers. Sitting on blankets in a field watching fireworks. Columbus Clippers baseball games.
But for some people, it wasn't all picnics and barbecues. This essay delves into systemic racism and how we can begin to heal.
How to use personal trauma to practice empathy of others
Most of us, Black or white, have experienced some trauma in life. Whether it’s an awful childhood, a bad parent, an abusive partner. Severe financial hardship or divorce. Disability. A scary illness. Yelling and screaming in the house. Extremist religion. The death of a parent or child. Or if you’re Jewish, Muslim, Asian, Latino, gay, trans or in some other marginalized group, you’ve undoubtedly dealt with xenophobic-laced challenges. There are few among any of us who haven’t experienced impactful trauma.
This essay dives into how we can use our own trauma to practice empathy for others.
It's about understanding and trust
Do-gooders have come out of the woodwork since the tragic murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others.
For most of us fighting for social and racial justice, it’s a welcome and long overdue awakening. Black and brown people have waited years for a national outcry like this. For people to take to the streets. Protest. Speak up. Vote. Never in the United States’ two and a half centuries of existence has there been this level of simultaneous compassion and outrage. It’s a great renewal of the civil rights activity of the 1960s.
READING THE ESSAYS
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