Donald Trump is more of a symptom than the cause of our political mess

I don’t like to talk about politics too much on our blog, because frankly I need more positivity in my life, and these days it is really difficult to find anything whatsoever in politics that gives me cause for optimism.  Still, I am a historian, and I can’t help but think that we are currently experiencing one of those watershed Presidential elections, like the election of 1860 or the election of 1932 or the election of 1968, in which those of us who experience it will talk about in terms of what things were like before, and what they were like after.

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Charleston, the Confederate flag, and the Civil War

It has taken a while for me to process everything that has happened in the past couple of weeks. And truthfully, I am still processing it.

Never, in my life, would I have predicted that the discussion to get rid of the Confederate flag once and for all would begin in Charleston, South Carolina.

The same place where the Civil War began, all those years ago.

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MLK and cultural appropriation

As a historian, and as someone who grew up in the South, I can’t help but shake my head at how a generation after the tumult of the 1950s and 1960s, we as a society are still struggling with virtually all of the issues that Dr. King fought against.  Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way, even in my lifetime, but that progress still doesn’t mean that we live in a “post-racial” society.

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Protests, First Night and Boston Getting it Wrong

I’ll tell you right up front as I start this that I’m as much of a fan of First Night here in Boston as I am of the 4th of July.  Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that I hate the crowds and accompanying stupidity for both just as much, but what the 4th stands for matters more to me.  And, I’ve never been able to figure out why they call the celebration of the last night of the year First Night.

Anyway, New Year’s Eve here in Boston is celebrated with a giant city-wide party.  You can buy a button that will get you into all kinds of things for free.  There are concerts, ice sculptures, fireworks, skating, dancing, face painting, puppet shows, museums, all sorts of things.  The list is almost endless and it is entirely impossible to do it all in one evening.  This has been happening as long as I’ve been living here and, though it nearly went bankrupt and stopped happening a year or so ago, it is back with a vengeance now.

Enter politicians and police to screw it all up.

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Today’s Craigslist Horror

Regular readers will know that I use the Free section on Craigslist to amuse myself.  As today is a sort of vacation day for me, I popped over there just now to see if there was anything funny worth tweeting.  I found something absolutely totally and completely NOT worth tweeting.  It was so awful, especially in light of all of the horrible racist atrocities happening in Ferguson, MO and elsewhere right now, that it merited its own blog post.

What could possibly be that bad you might ask?  I’ll show you.  Be prepared.

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Whitesplaining- don’t do it

I’ve been in a couple of situations lately I’ve witnessed the racial equivalent of Mansplaining.  That is, Whitesplaining.  In short, it’s when a white person explains to a non-white person how they should react to the use of a particular racially loaded term or epithet.  It also happens when a white person explains how non-white people should react to said to said terminology in an all white group.  In short, “this should offend you/them more or less than that” or, “that shouldn’t offend you/them at all.”

Awesome.

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