DiverseCity (12)

Why White People Need to Speak Up During the Holidays

2017 should probably get classified as “the year America became a dumpster fire.” It's been the year in which our cultural norms have been tossed out the door and replaced with new ones that hearken back to the days when non-white people and women were seen and not heard.   Except, these are not the good old days and thus the chorus of dissenting voices continues to push back against the shifts. The result is a…

When even the tiniest progress toward equality feels like discrimination

In a recent NPR poll, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that 55 percent of white Americans believe that they are being discriminated against due to the color of their skin. Given that the clear majority of all wealth and power still resides with white people in this country, this finding would almost be laughable if we were not living in the era of Trump — which, incidentally,…

The long-overdue task of kicking Columbus overboard

I realize that many people think I’m ungrateful, or that I'm part of an effort to ruin Maine for white people. As I urge Maine to do and be better on sensitive and important issues (as I do also for people and organizations for which I have affection and connection — a perfectly natural and reasonable thing), what often gets lost are the times I mention what I love about the state. I do say nice things…

White supremacy runs deep — Do we have the willingness to uproot it?

The horrific events that came out of Charlottesville, VA, have forced many regular white folks to realize that America has a white supremacy problem. But it's not enough to state that we have a white supremacy problem; we must grapple with how we got to this moment. We need to investigate why, in the wake of Charlottesville, it was when a white woman became white supremacy's latest victim — 32-year-old Heather Heyer — that suddenly…

As Trump Calls for Violence, We Must Actively and Loudly Say No

On Friday, July 27, President Donald Trump gave a speech to law enforcement in Long Island, New York, during which — for all intents and purposes — he essentially advocated violence against criminal suspects. “When you see these towns, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon," Trump said. "You just see them thrown in. Rough. I said, 'Please don't be too nice.' Like when you guys put somebody in the car,…

Having to Work Twice as Hard (It's Far More Truth Than Hyperbole)

Even in a place as overall blue as Portland — we’re talking political inclinations, not summer skies and Casco Bay on a calm, clear day — that even progressive white people often think we people of color overstate just how steep a hill we have to climb in American society. Especially Black people. I've come to believe this from personal experience talking to white people and from gut feelings (not to mention the copious anecdotal evidence from POC I…

'Black Lives Matter' is More Than a Mere Slogan

“They’re just protesters. They don’t have a message. They don’t have a complaint. They don’t have nothing to say except Black Lives Matter, and that’s a bumper sticker.”   Those are the words of Stephanie Anderson, Cumberland County District Attorney, when she discussed her decision to end efforts to revive a restorative justice process with the 17 Black Lives Matter protesters who were arrested at a July 2016 demonstration on Commercial St. in Portland.   …

The Virulence of Racism, Even When Non-Whites Abound

A few weeks ago, a dear friend (who, like me, happens to be a Chicago transplant to Maine)  asked if I wanted to go to Boston to watch the Red Sox play the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park. To be clear, I am not a sports person. However, coming from Chicago, I do feel a certain affinity for the Cubs, who only recently rejoined the winner’s circle with that World Series win after a nearly…

Racial Diversity is Only the Starting Point

I moved to Portland from York County almost two years ago after the collapse of my marriage. Seeing as how I wanted to stay in the area to ensure that my minor daughter would have access to both parental units, Portland seemed like a good fit. An added bonus: She likely wouldn’t be the only child of color in her classes. And at King Middle School, indeed she isn’t. However, it's become clear to me…

Moving From Talk to Results

While on Facebook recently, I read with a heavy heart a status update from a fellow woman of color in Maine that announced she and her family had decided that as much as they loved the state, they couldn’t make this place home. They felt that the racism was too deeply entrenched and it was too great a risk to their wellbeing to remain. On the surface, this woman’s plight (and her family’s response) might…
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