Subtle Indignities: Why We Should Still “See” Race – Part 3

After my last post (my intermission), I wasn’t sure I wanted to proceed with my series of blog posts. Ironically, I was feeling a little fatigued of talking about the need for race consciousness (colour bravery) – especially against the backdrop of the xenophobic attacks (“black-on-black violence”) that have taken place in South Africa these last few…

Subtle Indignities: Why We Should Still “See” Race – Part 2

Last post I gave the example of having suffered a subtle indignity linked to my social identity as a black woman at a professional dinner. Now I turn to a different situation. Teaching a new class, I always find that I have to work extra hard with my students – more so than my white (especially male)…

When ‘reasonable belief’ is unreasonable and unjust

(This article appeared in The Concord Monitor on Sunday, November 30, 2014) The grand jury has spoken. Officer Darren Wilson has had his day in court. The focus of the press and public is moving on from Ferguson, Mo. Although the outcome of the case is clear – Wilson will not be tried in court for the killing…

The Story Behind “You’re Beautiful”

I was walking through an airport the other day when I spotted the glossy cover. An unabashedly black Lupita Nyong’o, sporting her very own nappy black hair, cropped short, beamed on the cover of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful” issue. Another first for dark black women in American popular culture, courtesy the luminous Lupita. But for…

The Story Behind “He’s Creepy”: White Men-Black Women

Some wonderful single, black women I know have recently been considering, for the first time, dating outside of our race. A set of circumstances – namely, building an intentionally multiracial community with Christian friends – has made that a viable and even reasonable proposition for them. For the first time, they can actually imagine (and…

What’s In A Name?

One of my dear relations through marriage has, for the last three years that Dan and I have been married, consistently misspelled my name. Dan and I have tried to gently draw her attention to the fact a number of times (by signing my full name at the end of emails or Dan posting a…

Raising Interracially Adopted Black Babies – Part 2

In Part 1 of this post, I argued that interracially adopted black babies ought to be taught a vernacular (African) language at first language proficiency to give them the option of communing with other black people who share their experiences of being black in a (sadly, still) highly racialised world. In this part, I expand…

Raising Interracially Adopted Black Babies – Part 1

For the first time, I am blogging per request and to give advice explicitly. I suppose I say that up-front, not to suggest that I haven’t thought about the topic lots beforehand, but because I had held off blogging about this rather sensitive subject out of doubt that I had the right to speak on…

Is it because I’m white?

Not long ago, I received a call from a man inviting me to give a talk at a conference. As friends can no doubt attest, I have a healthy dose of pride and don’t mind being asked to speak in public. So I was happy to receive his call. Trouble was, I really had no…

I love you, you’re perfect, now where’s your PhD?

Athol Fugard (b. 1932) was a man ahead of his time. The celebrated South African playwright and novelist (of Tsotsi, among many others) had the balls to take on such testy topics as institutionalized racism, township violence, and the color line in daily life–different sides of the same bitter coin in apartheid South Africa. And…