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…

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)…

In a small NH town, stark reminders that racism persists

(This article appeared in The Concord Monitor and The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) June 12 was Loving Day. What’s that? The day that, in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the decision in Loving v. Virginia, finding the State of Virginia’s law criminalizing interracial marriage to be in violation of the Constitution. In the words of Chief…

Lovin’ “Loving Day”

It’s corny, I know: interracial couples the world over, and their friends, getting together en masse to publicly celebrate interracial relating. Yeah, it’s kind of a gimmick too. Yet, I can’t help but get excited about it every time the annual reminder shows up on my calendar. I even confess that I looked on the…

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 Elusive Pursuit of Dark Beauty

“I can remember being in the bathtub asking my mom to put bleach in the water so that my skin would be lighter and so that I could escape the feelings I had about not being as beautiful, as acceptable, as lovable.” “She’s pretty for a dark-skinned girl … What is that supposed to mean?”…

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…

When Love Was a Crime

With Nelson Mandela’s recent passing, I’ve found myself reflecting on South Africa’s apartheid history a lot. I have reflected on the significance of his life and passing for me personally (socio-politically and economically) and South Africa’s future (in the country’s pursuit of reconciliation, freedom and justice) elsewhere. Yet, this blog seems the appropriate place for a reflection on…

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…

Let’s not end the discussion on racist graffiti in NH superficially

(This opinion piece appeared in the Concord Monitor both in print and online on Sunday, October 20, 2013.) On Tuesday, the Concord Monitor reported that a 42-year-old man, Raymond Stevens, had been charged with writing racist graffiti on black, African refugees’ Concord homes in 2011 and 2012. This was after Detective Wade Brown had painstakingly combed through 1,500…