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.
Why everyone's so scared
A primary tenet of critical race theory is the oft-ignored reality that racism is ordinary and normative. It’s not a few nut cases. It’s not aberrational. It’s not individualized. It’s you. It’s me. It’s our systems. It’s part and parcel of society.
Racism, according to CRT, is deeply part of our American psyche, affecting all of us.
The result, which is why so many are in uproar, is that every person would not only need to critically examine the country we were taught was the champion of freedom. But that we must look inside ourselves. At our biases. Our attitudes. Our behaviors.
This essay explores CRT in an intellectually honest manner and outside of the extremes and distractions.
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.
Author Jeffrey Kass takes his three kids (now teenagers) on vacation every year. In recent years, that has involved trips overseas. But because his kids are Jewish and wear yarmulkes (Jewish head coverings) he often requires them to wear ballcaps because of the dangers Jews face in Europe and other places.
During COVID-19, he had to take them somewhere in the U.S., so they went to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for hiking, bike riding, tubing, ATVing and the like. He was reminded that as much as our country suffers from so many xenophobic ills, his kids didn’t have to wear baseball hats in the U.S. Kass uses this story has a backdrop for how we can end systemic racism in the U.S.
The case for reparations for slavery has been discussed and re-discussed for generations. But it’s usually pro-reparations with vague details versus anti-reparations with no recognition of the havoc America caused to so many families. This essay by race expert Jeffrey Kass discusses tangible ideas for administering a reparations program aimed at actually repairing rather than just compensating.
There’s been much talk of white privilege. The phrase tends to send many white folks, who themselves have endured life’s challenges, into a denying tailspin. There obviously are poor whites. Whites who have been incarcerated. Whites who have had rough childhoods. Etc. This essay discusses the importance of the language and methods we use to advance the cause of social justice. To help cure our country’s dark racist past. But Kass also dials down the offense at phrases like white privilege and instead urges people to have empathy for others’ experiences.
Democrats and Racism
Social justice warriors have been conditioned to blame every race related issue on Republicans and the right wing. The Democrats have enjoyed unwavering support from the Black community and its allies for half a century or more. This essay explores that while many on the right have indeed made our race problems worse, we ought not to ignore the failed solutions and racism on the left. We need solutions to systemic racism above party loyalty.
READING THE ESSAYS
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