When will we protest our privilege?

What do #racism and #whiteprivilege look like? I attended a predominantly white and wealthy university with over 5,000 undergraduates. Of the more than 3,000 students who were under age 21 at any given time, I would estimate at least 1,000 drank on a typical weekend. Considering we spent around 28 weekends on campus per year,…

It’s Not Enough to Not Be Racist

What if I told you the sad and ignorant man who called my wife the N-word in New Hampshire isn’t really the problem? What if I said that well-mannered “white” folk like you and me are just as much the problem as he? Let me explain. The term “structural racism” is redundant. Racism didn’t start…

Coronavirus – A Call to Conscience

A relative of mine reached out this week, sensing all was not well. It seems the unrest in ‘black’ America following George Floyd’s murder prompted him to ask how we, and especially Sindiso, are doing. Many ‘white’ friends have also reached out in recent days, although Sindiso is not yet at a place where she’s…

A photo 400 years in the making

How to say this with care — first for those who are troubled by this image (like me) and also for those pictured (whom I refuse to hate): Everyone we see in this astonishing photo from yesterday’s #BlackLivesMatter rally in Concord is harmed by racism, albeit unequally. First, a little background. In 1705, the Virginia…

Learning to love, and be loved by, the ‘other’

Hard though it is to admit, I grew up implicitly fearing black faces like his. Not because my kind and inclusive parents were consciously racist—because they and their society hadn’t yet learned how to be consciously antiracist. So I drank my portion of the poison of racism that permeates American life and defines dark faces…

Remembering Dad Mnisi

Our hearts are heavy. This week we bid an unexpected farewell to Sindiso’s father, Simon Semete Mnisi, who died on May 28, 2020 in Johannesburg. Dad Mnisi was born in 1941 in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. His family were labor tenants (sharecroppers) on “white-owned” land that had been taken from them generations earlier. His mom,…

Our wish for Harry and Meghan: Disruptive Love

(This column appeared in The Concord Monitor on May 31, 2018) We did not receive any royal wedding invitations. We’ve never been to Windsor Castle or hung a royal portrait on the wall. We’ve never even tuned in to a wedding on TV (or owned a TV, for that matter). Until last Saturday. Watching the wedding…

What would MLK say?

Today is MLK Day. Tempting as it is to point an angry finger at a racist president, I want to look beyond the headlines and in the mirror instead. In his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed not the Ku Klux Klanner but white people of goodwill. “I had hoped that the…

Confession: I haven’t read The Canon

Yes, I hold a BA in English but haven’t read much of “the canon”. One of the things about not coming from a very literate family, culture or class is that I wasn’t read to much growing up, and most of what was read to me was written in short form (published in the newspaper…

It Would Be So Easy To Share. So, Why Not?

When we had our babies we would often have people ask us to post (lots of) pictures of them babies’ “cute faces” on our Facebook profile pages. We have so far resisted doing so and, though (the rare barb notwithstanding) over time most people have come to tolerate, accept or embrace the fact that we…