How Hidden Figures haunts me

I took my oldest daughter to see Hidden Figures last weekend—a remarkable story that is very well told.

One aspect of the story particularly haunts me. (Besides the analytic geometry.)  I am nagged by the question, How could all those well-meaning white people not see the injustice they were perpetrating against those African American women? Continue reading “How Hidden Figures haunts me”

Why I can’t look down on the working class

 

Like many in America, I have been thinking a lot about class, race, and elite education recently. I have been taking a hard look at my position in society.

The truth is that I have lived most of my life in educated, upper class circles. I grew up in a wealthy suburb of Chicago, and both my parents have graduate degrees. I attended an elite (though public) college and married a man who did also. We currently live in a town that is famous for its liberal politics and the education level of its populace. If I’m honest, the progressive, upper-middle class are my people.  But I have never assumed they were the only people that mattered.

I have never felt at liberty to look down on the working classAnd this is for at least one reason: they are more skilled than me in lots of ways. The truth is that they can do all sorts of things I cannot. Continue reading “Why I can’t look down on the working class”

On Christmas shopping

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I’m making my money do extra work this Christmas. Instead of focusing only on finding good prices, I’m trying to shop in a way that supports things I value. I’m doing this in three ways:

I’m paying money for good writing. Few people want to pay for writing now, even though we continue to need quality thinking expressed well. To counter that trend, I have made sure to purchase both books and subscriptions as gifts this year. I want excellent writers to continue being able to make a living. Continue reading “On Christmas shopping”

If I could have a word with my Christian friends

The year 2016 has revealed many surprising things. Cleveland can win championships! The Cubs can play baseball!

The most significant revelations, of course, have been cultural and political. The racial and geographic divides are even deeper than we knew. There do indeed appear to be two Americas (at least).

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Not surprisingly, I’ve taken some flack for my last blog post. I imagine some of the offense comes from my use of the word repent. As incendiary as it is, I chose that word because of its meaning to turn in the other direction. I believe the Bible when it says that it is never too late to change course.

Christian readers who voted for Trump may feel that I came down hard on them but let Clinton voters off easy. I did not, after all, call Clinton voters to repent even though they voted for (and thus endorsed) a candidate with abortion views more extreme than most of the country’s.

I think that is a fair criticism.   Continue reading “If I could have a word with my Christian friends”

On Brock Turner, consequences, and purple crayons

Once a month, I meet with an ecumenical group of moms from our elementary school to pray. We pray for the district, the school, the staff, and our kids. We pray for everything we can think of. I always pray that if my kids do something bad that they will get caught. 

This may seem counter-intuitive. Why would I want to get a call from the school that my child has misbehaved? Wouldn’t it be easier if they just got away with it? Continue reading “On Brock Turner, consequences, and purple crayons”

Why I don’t write at home

Every Tuesday—-my writing day—-I go to the same local coffee shop. The tables are numerous, the food delicious, and the coffee adequate. I often run into friends there.

Today I sat down at a corner table with four seats. The shop was half empty when I arrived, and I felt okay taking a large table even though I was by myself. After a steady stream of customers trickled in, the shop started to feel crowded. I kept looking around, feeling uncomfortable, wondering if it was time for me to move to a smaller table (in a less desirable location). It was getting awkward, but my love of the corner spot kept me in my seat.

After I’d been there an hour, an older African American man approached me and politely said, Could we have a couple of your chairs, Ma’am? I decided this was my cue. Would you like to trade tables with me? I really don’t need this space, I said.

He looked at me as though I had offered him a hundred dollar bill.  Continue reading “Why I don’t write at home”