20 Things You Need to Read Before You Talk to Me About Race

Aware of Awareness

Inside of the classroom, my goalis to create a safe space for my students to learn about and explore the uncomfortable and challenging topics of inequality, race and racism. Outside of the classroom, my goalis mostly to maintain my sanity throughpractices of self-care and spirituality, nurture my creative expression, drink good wine andengage in compassionate action in my relationships and communities.

While my role as an educator and researcher involves teaching and writing onrace and social theory, in my civilian life as a writer and regular gal, I have no obligation whatsoever to engage people on issues of race.To the contrary, I have the right to set my own rules of engagement, establish my boundaries and clarify what is and is not acceptable for me. This is especially so given that”talking about race” (and more specifically, anti-blackness and white supremacy) is not merelysome sport or hobby for most people of…

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5 Things Cis People Can Actually Do For Trans People (Now That You Care About Us)

The (Trans)cendental Tourist

It’s been a weird year for trans people.

Allow me to be more specific: It’s been a heated, daring, tumultuous, graphic, specularizing, aggressive, pointed,contentious, highlyfatal, and really, really complicated year for trans people.

Here are a few examples: Kristina Gomez Reinwald, Ty Underwood, Lamia Beard, and many othertranswomen of color have been brutally murdered at the hands of lovers, family members, and strangers.Meanwhile,Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have come to fame and exhibited incrediblefeats of grace, articulation, and poignancy under the gaze ofan eager media. Blake Brockington, Leelah Alcorn, Taylor Alesana, and many other transgender youth have committed suicide afterenduring endless bullying and systematic brutality. Meanwhile, Jazz Jennings became the new face of Clean & Clear and published a children’s picture book about her life, and teen trans couple Arin Andrews and KatieHill (best known for “Can You Even Believe They’re Trans?!” types of headlines) wrote and published individual books…

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For Jeremiah

     It’s funny how fear can keep you from trying something new. Four months ago I had the opportunity to assist a colleague in the facilitation of a retreat for approximately 100 students. One student in particular came up to me and asked if I blogged. I said no and he encouraged me to do so, if for no other reason than he would read it. I never wrote my thoughts down, let alone felt the need to share them because I had the perception that no one cared to know what they were. 

   There are so many blogs and articles that articulate my thoughts and emotions so eloquently I felt heard without uttering a single word. What this student and a few others reminded of is that no one can tell my story the way that I can. That may sound a bit cocky and narcissistic, but think about an experience that you had and someone else tried to tell it for you. It doesn’t quite sound the same and there are details that may get left behind, leaving so emotion unconveyed or an image unseen. So today I choose to share my voice. Today I choose to let go of the fear of the consequences for raising my voice. Today I choose to honor the lesson I needed to relearn from an amazing student. Jeremiah, this post is for you.