Race Words

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

The world is burning up–from fever and riots–yet I sit at my table, face the window, see the sunlight, the brick-and-blue building across from me, and then look back at my computer.

What am I doing?

What are we doing?

Continue reading

Not My Student

I have a student who speaks badly about women, swears when he shouldn’t, and reacts poorly to perceived criticism and the consequences of his actions.

I ask him casually in the hall how his day is going and he keeps walking without even looking in my direction. I sit down next to him in class to check in and I have to say his name half a dozen times before he begrudgingly acknowledges me. I try to have productive, relationship-building conversations, and he actively shuts me out.

Then he grabs some chalk and writes insulting messages on the chalk boards.

And then he gets pissed off and storms out when he gets in trouble.

But he’s still my student.

Continue reading

Maximum Occupancy Approaching

When protests began in New York City on September 17, coinciding with Constitution Day, most people had no idea what they were there for, if they knew of them at all. Certainly their mission seemed disjointed and unclear, and at best the media portrayed merely a mass of people with little else except a slogan: Occupy Wall Street. Surely no one knew where the idea came from–or that its origins weren’t even American.

Continue reading