Jessica Chambers got murdered, and what an interesting story it is. No one knows who did it, and everyone’s trying to arm-chair solve the mystery online, and there are more sleuths working on it than residents in Jessica’s hometown. Jessica is the current poster girl for “missing white woman syndrome” and her latest murder(s) are members of a gang, just proof that black men are nothing but thugs, and that black lives don’t matter. Jessica, you see, actually dated black men. In Mississippi, even. So that’s a hot mess. A hot mess of racism in the dirty south made all the worse by the internet’sRead More →

It’s the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods. But for the people who are excluded, for the people who are locked out, all they can do is stare from a distance at that city’s glimmering towers. – Mario Cuomo, 1984 DNC RIP 1/1/2015Read More →

In the 1800s, the Irish were New York City’s “ghetto thugs” and unwelcome “illegal aliens” (ugly words), much the way we think of people of color today. When they were required to defend the North in the Civil War, to risk life and limb for black slaves that most considered subhuman, well, that just added insult to injury. Irish and other impoverished immigrant males in New York City started the Draft Riots in the 1860s to protest. During that time, the New York police force was heavily populated by Irish. By the end of the 19th century, 70% of the New York police force wereRead More →

Over the years, my therapists have asked me how I feel. They tell me my answers express my inner thoughts, not my feelings. My vocabulary of feelings is remarkably thin. This is unsurprising given that I am an academic; thinking to the exclusion of feeling is, presumably, my occupational psychosis. Ironically, the academy has taken the turn to affect. It’s an interesting twist given the centuries-long atrophy of feeling in the sacred grove. Now that post-human, post-gendered, post-raced but always material bodies can play in the exclusive grove, we can talk academically about how it all feels. Unintentionally. What gives? I have noticed a popular turnRead More →

Sixty years ago the Supreme Court handed down the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Until around 2005 or so, give or take a year, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system operated under a federal desegregation order, one of the longest running orders in the country. Today, Baton Rouge Community College continues to receive entering freshmen educated under that order. Due to the cult of self esteem, the best of these students have been told throughout their education that they can succeed, that they are smart, that they have a future. In college classrooms over time, these students demonstrate facility with logic, organization, and critical thinking. Even though theyRead More →

Today I am grateful for some old school internet acronyms plus some texting ones that have joined the crew. Don’t ask my why I’m feeling this nostalgia. It just is. 1. OMG (Note: The F has fled the scene.) 2. FML (Note: The F has returned.) 3. LOL (tried and true) 4. BRB (where are you going? You’re leaving?!) 5. BRT (BRB’s texting brethren) 6. OMW (BRT’s texting cousin) 7. WTF (Note: The F persists.) 8. IRL (stands for “in real life,” as opposed to…which…well..yeah…) 9. OIC (oh, I see….I see how it is…) 10. FTW (Also tried and true) To be clear: I amRead More →

Perhaps it’s because they are hollow that our imaginations can occupy them so easily. That is to say, it is their anti-heroism, their apparent lack of Great Qualities, that make them our size, or even smaller, so that we can stand among them as equals, like Dorothy among the Munchkins. – Salman Rushdie, Step Across the Line Referring to the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion of the Oz movieRead More →

If you look up practice in the dictionary, you get lots of definitions. You will see there that the word derives from the Greek and Latin sense of “practical work.” Gratitude as a practice is indeed practical work. It takes work. It takes practice. As such, it connotes the many meanings of practice found in the dictionary. Think about gratitude as you read these definitions, because it might change the way you understand gratitude. It did for me, or at least it reminded me of some old lessons. Gratitude is a proficiency that must be practiced. It is a habit, a custom, a customary performance,Read More →

An aliens and monsters meme floated around Facebook this morning with this annoying cast of images. The meme depicts aliens and monsters in pop culture transforming from ugly and monstrous to attractive and desirous. It asks WTF happened? Here’s my first FB post: “People would rather embrace aliens from outer space than illegal aliens.” My later post: “It’s actually an old pattern from way back when. People who study pop culture say that we had an invasion of alien bug movies when we were afraid the aliens (in this case, Japanese during WW II and Koreans afterward). We’ve been invaded by illegal aliens time andRead More →