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Questions for Those Seeking Freedom

I recently gave a "diversity talk" at a large public university, and I reiterated a point that I've been making whenever I get an opportunity. Namely, I believe there are two primary ways one can enact social justice activism. One is to recognize that injustices occur along various axes such as gender, race and physical ability, and then stake out a position on a perceived high ground from which you identify the Bad People who are responsible for those injustices. People taking this approach are the ones who seem to always have a story to share about a racist uncle on Facebook, or a sexist dude at work, or the person who made an insensitive remark in a meeting. While it is important to identify these types of actions and those who are prone to do them, if your activism ends at naming these actions and people, then I don't see how you can accomplish much. This is because the problematic actions of individuals are not inherent to those people. Rather they are symptomat…
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When a Murderer Says He's Concerned About People

Bill Kristol is a neoconservative pundit, which is to say he is a cheerleader for the US waging war whenever its "interests" can be advanced. He is a man who not only pushed continuously for the invasion of Iraq on the false pretenses that Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks and had weapons of mass destruction---claims that are now known to be patently false---he still believes that the invasion was the right thing to do. That invasion, justified by lies, resulted in roughly a million Iraqi deaths. Yes, had Kristol and his neocon teammates been unsuccessful in manufacturing popular consent for an illegal and unjustified invasion of a sovereign country, a million Iraqi human beings---more than the population of the greater Boston area---would be alive today, rather than dead.
Much more recently, Kristol et al. are advocating for US military "intervention" in another Middle-Eastern country, this time LibyaSyriaYemen Iran. On the corporate propaganda channel k…

On Sovereignty

Here's a thought exercise. Roughly half of our country is displeased with our current leadership in both the executive branch and the vast majority of people are displeased with the legislative branch of our government. It's also worth noting that the other half was equally displeased with the executive branch leadership from 2008-2016. This fact stands no matter the opinion of the other side; in both cases roughly half the nation pined for a wholesale change in leadership, and a resistance movement was launched. Back then they liked tea, right now they wear pink ears on their heads. 
Let's say that right now another powerful country or alliance of nations (Russia, China, the EU, pick one or several) says that it sympathizes with the resistance movement in our country and makes it a part of their international policy to fund and arm militants from Canada to sneak into our country and join/take over the current resistance movement. This sparks a civil war between these now…

Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

Affirmative Action is Bad, But Wealth is Good

I wonder if anyone asked Jared Kushner if he got into Harvard only because he is white. It would've been a valid question. Even so, the question wouldn't have drawn upon centuries of stereotypes about the inferior intelligence and work ethic of white men. Who cares how he got into Harvard? He could always convince himself that he is hard working, just like, or even better than, all of the mediocre white men that preceded him in leading this country of ours. His grades were better than George W's C-average at Yale. If forced to answer how he got into Harvard, young master Jared could've shrugged it off and comforted himself by thinking ahead about how much wealth he would inherit. Hell, if his parents played their money right, he might even have a job waiting for him in a future presidential administration.

Isn't it great to live in a meritocracy?

No Human is Illegal, But Some Are Not White

Our white nationalist presidential administration is cracking down hard on non-white immigrants, particularly those from Mexico. In fact, it's the only successful policy that the child-king has managed to implement in his short presidency. While we should celebrate the failure of the attempt to destroy the ACA, the resistance that federal judges are applying to the racist Muslim travel bans, and the fact that he still hasn't built his big beautiful wall, we should not forget that hundreds of people who are working, paying taxes and attempting to establish stable lives in the US are now being rounded up, separated from their children, and dying because they have been successfully scapegoated for our country's economic woes.
It's a common question for Americans to ask, "why didn't those people come here legally?" The short answer is that they can't, because they aren't white. Does that sound a bit hyperbolic or simplistic? If so, then I'd recom…

Hidden Explicit Messaging

A common refrain these days about racism in our society—to the extent that it's discussed at all—is that racist language is far less explicit today than it was in the past. There may be racism (way over there, and by those people) but let's be glad that people don't casually throw around the N-word anymore. Or so say people—good liberal people—like to frequently say.

But is racism less explicit today, really?
In my last post I gave an example of some extremely common, casual, yet racist messaging in the example of a white person claiming that a person of color only got a prestigious academic fellowship "because they're Black/Brown/Indigenous." Is this racist comment not explicit? The message here is that the only way a person of color could possibly get, say, an NSF Fellowship is because of affirmative action, whereby more qualified white people are pushed aside so a less qualified person can get the fellowship based on their race (or so the fictional, carto…