Let’s talk about white privilege

The term white privilege seems to be popping up everywhere these days — online, in the media, and in college classrooms.  In the midst of all this talk, though, I have noticed that the term is frequently misunderstood, particularly by people who find it offensive.  Many, many times, I have heard rebuttals of the idea of white privilege that go something like this,

“Just because I am white does not mean I am wealthy. I came from a poor family, and I have worked hard to get where I am today. It makes me angry when people assume that all white people have money and that life has been easy for us.”

I understand how a white person raised in poverty or in the working class would be annoyed by assumptions that they were raised with money and that life has been easy for them.  Here’s the thing, though – that is not what white privilege means. Not at all. Continue reading “Let’s talk about white privilege”

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How to Not Become a Nazi

When you look at mass evil like the holocaust, do you ever wonder where all the “normal people” were in the midst of it?  What were the ordinary Germans doing who, presumably, had functioning consciences?  How did they let that happen to millions of their own countrymen?  Or when you consider the antebellum South and its centuries of brutal slavery, do you think about all the regular people participating in that evil?  How did all those nice Southern ladies look on without a tremor of conscience?

I think about this a lot.  I shudder to think that I, too, could be party to such evil.  I don’t fear that I might become Hitler himself or one of the slave traders, but I do fear that I could be a passive onlooker who contributes by my sheer passivity. Continue reading “How to Not Become a Nazi”

Living Local

Much has been written on the importance of buying local.  From shopping at farmers markets to joining local farm share programs to buying “a quarter” of a nearby cow, we are learning to buy our food from producers within a certain mile radius of our homes.  This is major progress for both our diets and our society.

I want to encourage us to not only buy local, but also to live local.  Imagine confining our weekly activities to within a five mile radius of our homes.  My philosophy is that the more often we do something, the closer to our homes it should be.

For instance, recreation.  Why do the traveling hockey league when you can do the local park and rec league? Continue reading “Living Local”