Like Learning a Foreign Language

I found my social activist soulmates in Pittsburgh: What’s Up?! Pittsburgh, a group of white activists who invite racial dialogue on the street by being “sign holders, stranger talkers, conversation openers, and spectacle makers.” They have been doing actions similar to the ones Keren and I have been doing with our “Talk With Me About […]

Peer Review

Keren and I spent two hours on the Oval — a central grassy area on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus — with the “Please Talk With Me About Race” sign. It was so cold, with gray skies and a stiff wind, but we are determined to do our “job” on this tour. Although […]

The Utopian and the Subversive Speaker

I was confused for a moment, back in college Sociology 101, when the professor referred to an “ideal type.” “Ideal” in common parlance, of course, means “the best possible.” But in social science it means “the truest example” of a phenomenon. “Ideal” in this case doesn’t necessarily mean a good thing. In the past couple […]

Atticus Finch and Witnessing Whiteness

Tuesday was the first time on the Meet Me Halfway book tour when the travel schedule, the weather, and our health aligned to allow me and Keren to get out with the “Please Talk With Me About Race” sign. The sign is about 4 feet tall and is painted with black lettering on a white […]

A tree grows in Ferguson

We’re already on Day 5 of the Meet Me Halfway book tour and I’ve hardly had a chance to write anything down and almost no access to wifi so I could post this. I’m sitting now in the cafe of the radio station KDHX in downtown St. Louis drinking coffee and riding their internet waves. […]

Getting Ready to Go

Keren and I are getting ready to go on the Meet Me Halfway book tour, a three-week journey to 8 of America’s 10 Most Segregated Cities (we’ll go to the other two cities in the fall). It will be part book tour — supporting Meet Me Halfway, my collection of short stories about life in […]

Of Interest

This weekend I was part of a series of literary events. Many of the attendees happened to know that I have a book coming out soon about race and racism in Milwaukee. “Why are you interested in this?” three people asked me at the event on Friday night. “Why are you interested in this?” another […]

Please Report

In my last post, I wrote about a sexual assault I survived in college back in the 1980s. I wanted to share that story because of the conversations that are finally happening around campus sexual assault and around Bill Cosby’s alleged attacks on numerous women over the past 50 years. I feel a particular affinity […]

Bill Cosby’s Victims and Me

In the midst of the national movement of resistance against police brutality and racial discrimination, it’s been hard to imagine posting on any other topic. What can I add? Only this: My heart is broken for my country, and for African American young men and boys especially, and I’m rejoicing at the emergence of new community […]

18 Benefits for White People

The Ferguson grand jury’s failure to recommend any charges against Mike Brown’s killer has really woken me up. I realize that all this time, I’ve been looking at the killing of an unarmed black teen by a white cop as a civil or human rights issue. I thought we were talking about the civil and […]