We’re better, and braver, than this

In 1645 – decades before the colony of New Hampshire was independently established – historical records show that the purchase and sale of human beings began in the “Live Free” state. In that year, an African man was kidnapped in Guinea and brought to Portsmouth for a life of servitude. His European enslaver would later be punished by the local Puritan authorities…

Antiracist Reader: A New Year’s Resolution

Over thirty-odd years of literacy, I’ve read thousands of books by white people, mostly men. I don’t regret a single one.  Here’s what I do regret: As a white man constantly, if unconsciously, fed the standard American fare of white history, white knowledge, and white culture, it scarcely even occurred to me to seek out…

When Will Democracy Come to Black America?

Like many a Fourth of July gone by, my family celebrated on Saturday with burgers and dogs and a side of democracy, as we remembered the timeless Declaration of our Founding Fathers that “all men are created equal” and governments derive “their just power from the consent of the governed.” But something was different this year….

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…

Just Ask It!

On a walk through the woods outside Cape Town the other day, Sindiso and the kids and I happened upon a middle-aged Xhosa woman sitting outside a shed, presumably waiting to start work. I say ‘presumably’ because although I have no idea why she was in that spot at that time, I have learned from…

Yes, I’m Their Mommy, Not Their Nanny

One of the things I love most about my home country of South Africa is just how upfront people are … especially black people. On our recent trip home, several conversations about our babies duly fit this mould. For background: last year, Dan and I had twins. Since they’re still young and very portable (as well as…