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…

Intermission: A Black African’s View on New England Winter

One day last November, I went into the gym at 4.30pm, when it was reasonably light outside, and came out at 5.30pm to find it pitch black. My thoughts: “eish, mara – what am I doing in this misery?!” I got into the car … On NPR, Melissa Block was talking to Ms. Hazard (I think that’s her…

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…

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 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…

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…

Who gets to say what about whom?

Anybody who’s seen Chris Rock do stand-up comedy on national TV knows the man doesn’t pull any punches. “Sometimes the people with the most ‘stuff’ get to say the least ‘stuff’, and the people with the least ‘stuff’ get to say the most ‘stuff’”, he told my white college mates and me one night as…

In South Africa, past is present in black and white

[This column was written for the Manchester Union Leader, May 15th 2012] Learning my New Hampshire history back in middle school, “conflict” was not a concept I encountered. It seemed the biggest tragedy to befall our state in the last 250 years was losing more than a few good men to wars beyond our borders….

To set the stage

The idea of starting a blog has been percolating for a couple of months, prompted from time to time by the nagging sense that black and white still make a curious couple, and by the need to reflect on why. That sense and need apply whether it’s Concord, New Hampshire (90% white), where we lately…