Just How Easy It Is To Give In To Institutionalized Racism

A personal anecdote, which just happened about half an hour ago.

(I think sometimes the small, everyday indicators of how wrong things are hit home more powerfully than the worst horrors we see in pictures or on the news, which are often too gruesome to truly grasp.)


I sent a shipment to London for a trade show. Brochures, pens.

I get a message that my shipment is held up at security, with a phone number to call. I call.

The security officer asks me a series of expected questions: What is in the boxes, who packed them, were the items special order or from stock in your office, who else knows where the shipment is going… I answer.

Then she asks: Do you have any Arabs employed at your company?

I answer, no.
My stomach is knotted, because I am very unhappy that the level of discrimination against Arabs means that it is pretty obvious that we would have no Arab employees. But I am also relieved, on some level, because I need my shipment to go out, my job depends on successfully getting my projects off the ground.

She asks, do you employ any foreign workers? No.
Not even as cleaners? No.

Okay, your shipment is cleared.

Congratulations to me. I am certified to send brochures to London, all at the tiny price of apartheid.

I feel sick to my stomach.


Thirty Years of Poverty

Click the link or image to see the interactive map


Each map shows counties where the poverty rate is 20% or higher for kids or the elderly or for both. Use the slider to see how those patterns have shifted from 1980 to 2010.

Sources: Census Bureau data; Kenneth Johnson, University of New Hampshire, analysis by Paul Overberg, USA TODAY

By Jerry Mosemak and Chad Palmer, USA TODAY


Think Mama, Think

“I’m going to teach you to be a feminist.”

Those words were part of the newborn peptalk I gave to my precious Lady Fair in the hospital only hours after her birth.  They were her first encounter with patriarchy, at the hands (or rather the lips) of her own mother.

If you’re wondering how that possibly constitutes patriarchy, I’ll tell you: because I’ve never said the same thing to her brother.  The second those words came out of my lips I realized that fact.  I realized that for two years, while we’ve been modeling our values for our son, I’ve never consciously thought about making him a feminist.  And then, almost the very moment my daughter was born, I put the onus on her to fight for the rights she should be entitled to as a human being.  Because even while I think I’m fighting it, our society is so…

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