Growing Up Poor And Black In The South: Interview With Chattanooga Ruth

They say there are two Americas today. Go back in time and we find more–but not too far back, mind you. Try 1950s Tennessee in the neighborhood Ruth Stewart grew up in. Poverty without food programs, addiction without treatment options, segregated schools: Ruth opens up about these realities just some decades ago. But she also shares…
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Facing The Biggest Problem In America Today

When I was a substitute teacher in Minneapolis a handful of years ago, I was blown away by the behavior of some of the students. I expected some unruliness in the rougher schools, but I didn’t anticipate crying, screaming, and desks strewn about. For the toughest classes, stages of shock and frustration were followed by…
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Is Race Real?

Two books; two smart, well-educated writers; two entirely different opinions on race. Nicholas Wade is a former science writer for the New York Times. He released his latest book last year called A Troublesome Inheritance, and it deals with genetics, evolution, and how humans and societies have been shaped by these factors. He thinks race is…
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My Experience With The Black Lives Matter Protest At The Mall Of America

I had heard that the Black Lives Matter movement was going to hold a protest at the Mall of the America on Saturday, the last big shopping day of the year. Several of the Black Lives Matter chapters in various cities were staging similar protests. Having not done my Christmas shopping, I had actually planned…
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Thoughts On Ferguson

A ruling, a reaction. We’ve seen this before. Violence, fires, businesses destroyed. Besides these obvious consequences, the negative effect of the Ferguson riots is that they will further polarize the country. Watching the riots on television will elicit very different reactions. I can imagine one group seeing the fires and then thinking of the family…
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What I Learned About Race By Living In Africa

Obviously, there are many lessons to be taken away from living in a place as different as East Africa. I’ve gained insight and a more nuanced view on topics such as development, education, the meaning and importance of home, and the magnificence of mother nature. Above all these, however, was one issue I felt was…
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Interracial Romance

Interracial dating is a topic with as much curiosity for some as attraction for others as distaste for yet some others. (And the distaste comes from those who ether don’t like the idea of taking part in such relationships OR from those who find the topic off-putting for even being brought up at all in…
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Every Human In America As A Dot

A map created at the University of Virginia provides a layout of everyone in America–yes, everyone, which means something like 300 million dots. The color key of the dots is distinguished by the common classifiers: White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic. Turning the U.S. into this: But the real meat of this map is in those…
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Adventures In Subbing: Inner City School Pt 2

Part one was about the hoopla; this post is about the nuts and bolts of the student struggles in North Minneapolis. When the 6th and 7th graders I taught this day eventually got down to work (which took some doing–see part one), most did get something done. But for many, it wasn’t much. For every…
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Adventures In Subbing: Inner City School Pt 1

I walked into the class knowing that it would be a little tougher than other places I taught. I based this hunch on the location, and it was confirmed when I arrived and administrators told me the students can be “a little wild”. I was wrong, however, in what this meant exactly. See, when imagining…
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