Imagine your school’s graduation day some years from now. You look around at your community abuzz with the joys of watching a new generation of students launched. You know they are ready. Each and every scholar has made her mark on the school. Each has grown into a confident, expressive version of that younger person who showed up in the admissions office just years earlier. The school has become…read more in Summer 2016 Independent School Magazine
"Introduction: Breaking the Code of White Silence"
In 2009, when I began telling white friends, family, and perfect strangers that I planned to deepen my understanding of racism, and shared with them the questions that filled my mind, something remarkable happened. Far from the silence and shunning I anticipated, most leaned closer, lowered their voices, and said something like, “Me too. I’ve wondered that too.” Often the comment would be followed by a story of an unresolved upset or confusion. Everyone, it seemed, had a story. Most also had questions.
I am especially grateful for the way this collection reveals a range of white experiences and cultural differences; each essay adding nuance to what it means to be white in the United States of America. While the use of the n-word is commonplace in some white worlds, many others teach racism less directly by speaking in code about the “inner city,” automatically locking car doors in “those” neighborhoods, and being taught to “stick to your own kind.” I learned that the Connecticut town my own husband grew up in let…read more in the 82-essay anthology, What Does It Mean to Be White in America?
"The Upstream / Downstream Charity Challenge"
I recently attended a fundraiser for an organization designed to “serve inner city youth.” Wine flowed, four courses of spectacularly prepped and plated food fed us, and a handful of young people spoke about the organization’s positive impact on their lives. The hope, of course, was that by wining, dining, and inspiring the heavily resourced crowd, increased support would stream to the organization and more young people could be served.
Once upon a time I might have been the person to organize such an event. Like many Americans, I was socialized to think in terms of individuals, not systems. People in distress created an impulse to help, never a drive to examine or challenge the forces creating the distress. Supporting YW’s, homeless shelters, needle exchange programs, and community gardens offered me the opportunity to feel like I was making a difference. And to some extent I was. What was missing for me was…read more of my guest blog on the Food Solutions New England website.