Hand Mashed Guacamole and Other Values in Intercultural Context

On the way to dropping my son at school this morning we heard an ad for a fast-food restaurant that was boasting “hand-mashed” guacamole. “That’s sounds kind of gross,” I said. “Especially if it’s mashed by dirty hands,” my son added. “Ewww” we both shouted. Why would the advertiser think that was a desirable trait? …

Gray Meets Brown: Older Whites and Young Diversity Boon for Intercultural Communications

 I saw an ad on late nite TV last night for a pharmaceutical promoted as critical to help men’s health as they age.  The patient was an older white man, and the doctor (also a man) was African American. According to a recent article by Ronald Brownstein in the National Journal Magazine, “The Gray…

Swapping Races to Reveal Unconscious Bias and Privilege

 I need to go take a shower. I just caught myself talking to my husband’s kindly Indian colleague over the phone like he was an idiot, plus I read this article by Tim Wise “Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black,” and realized I am guilty. (This is a must read!) One, because looking…

The 7-Year-Old Samba Queen and Identity vs Societal Norms

Have you heard the old joke that plays on the philosophical question about a tree falling in the forest?  You know the one… “If you’re in the forest and you say something wrong and your spouse (of course I’m going with the gender neutral version!) doesn’t hear you, are you still wrong?” While seemingly innocuous,…

5 Easy Steps to an Honest and Equitable Judicial System

 In less than 30 seconds on the Internet I can find what Casanova’s job was in 1798, what Darwin had for dinner on January 3, 1834, 1,500 recipes for banana cake and how to add water to a sub-pump.  What I can’t find is how two judges could “choos(e) to treat children as commodities…

Translating Timothy Cole’s Injustice into Anti-Racist Action

The problem with stereotyping is that it presumes guilt before innocence, dictating that someone will behave a certain way because of their race or ethnicity.  In the extreme, the results can be devastating, as they were for the late Timothy Cole, a young black man who was exonerated last week for a rape he didn’t…