reflections on race, religion, history & social change

October 22, 2019

Today as a part of a brief overview of African music, I introduced my Introduction to African & African American Studies class to Ewe polyrhythm, and I think we're all the better for it. 

When I was nineteen and living in southern Togo, I had no idea what polyrhythm wa...

August 31, 2018

In recent days the sitting governors of South Carolina and Florida have each referred to their political opponents as animals.

It is no coincidence that these same political opponents overwhelmingly represent African Americans.

This would just be more of a tired old stor...

July 11, 2018


I'm not a poet, and I try not to curse quite as much as this guy, but his analysis of whiteness is pretty spot-on.

I've been reflecting for some time on what must take the place of the conception of whiteness that is summarized so cogently in this poem. Does it mea...

April 27, 2018

Freedom of movement on one’s own two feet is a fundamental human right.

It was so basic to English common law that the Founders didn’t even bother to mention it in the Bill of Rights. (Oh, that and the pesky part about 20% of the non-Indian population being enslaved at...

February 9, 2018

Today, on the 50th anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre and two days after the murder of one of South Carolina's most prominent advocates of social justice, Muhiyyidin d'Baha, in New Orleans, I would like to invite all South Carolinians of good conscience to "Beyond...

June 27, 2017

I'm impressed. Justin Baldoni, known for his role in the TV show Jane the Virgin, has made a point for using his public platform in socially conscious ways. But you don't often see young male actors talking openly about their body image problems. One could argue that t...

December 21, 2016

Here's a new one (to me) from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, "Country Girl" from the album Leaving Eden (2012).

I find this song and video challenging, liberating, troublesome, thought-provoking--and a lot of fun. I'm not naive enough to think this is an accurate or com...

December 4, 2015

"People think it's about...a lot of competition.... I've found that the way it really works is by creating a spot where everybody can come and help facilitate each other's growth."

Facebook is an amazing, sometimes vexing, often mysterious place. Today, because I'm frie...

July 29, 2015

I'm happy to be heading next week to the 39th annual conference of the Association for Baha'i Studies in Orange County, California. The conference theme is "Advancing the Life of the Mind" and there are a number of really great presentations in a variety of disciplines...

February 27, 2015

He Who is the Mother, the Soul, the Secret, the Essence...

I just happened upon this striking essay-poem, “Mother's Name Unknown,” and am feeling pleasantly dumbfounded. What clear writing! And what perspicuous truth it conveys!

I don’t know personally the author, Andr...

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