About this Blog

This blog began for two reasons. The first reason is that I realized that I had very little chronicle of my undergraduate career. My journals largely stopped between August 2006 and Summer 2009. I feel the loss of that chronicle quite keenly–my thoughts during that time have vanished into the ether, and I will never be able to look back on them and cringe at my own stupidity. I picked up the blog when facing a year studying internationally, in hopes of producing a similar quality of hilarious observations that I had produced while living in Germany in March-July 2006. (So far that hasn’t really panned out, but you know, one can dream.)

The second reason is that I had largely stopped writing for pleasure while pursuing my undergraduate computer science degree, causing my writing skills to grow rusty and gather dust. My writing improves exponentially with daily exercise, and I needed a way to ease myself back into writing seriously.

What this blog has become is in many ways different than what I intended it to be (and really, I’m all right with that). I have discovered that I come to understand myself and the world at large by writing, and that I enjoy writing most when I have an audience. As a result, this work is in many ways a reference volume on me, written in a somewhat letter-like format. It is perhaps overly-full of self-explanation and introspection, but since we are newly come to know each other (me and you, I mean), I feel that there is still some introducing to be done. As we grow together, this blog and you and I, the content will evolve in the way that organic creatures do. (So, something involving primordial ooze. Slime mold for the win!) I hope you’ll stick around to see where it goes.

23 thoughts on “About this Blog

  1. I love your post “I am racist, and so are you.” If for no other reason than because OMG references to actual scholarly articles! Actual research! I’m going to re-blog it to my own blog on Thursday, because I have a Thursday series about race.

    1. Thanks! I love linking to research! It’s a great way to forestall all of those “but that’s just your opinion” complaints! I’m excited to check out your series about race!

    2. I also wanted to say thanks for the article. All the links and references are excellent. I shared on FB, of course. This has been a topic that has long mattered to me and I am really hoping that the silver lining of all this is that we move forward in a real way. Desperately hoping. So thank you so much for your time and courage to talk about this. I wanted to share an analogous story about the cultural programming you talk about. My dad said the same thing to me one day about a year ago about how hard it can be to overcome that programming and he told me a story to illustrate that. My dad, since my earliest memories, has always coached me to try not to allow the traditional boundaries of women to box me in. For example as a child, I said I wanted to be a nurse and he responded, “Really? Why not a doctor?” Not that there’s any reason not to be a nurse but he correctly recognized that I wasn’t considering doctor because as a child, I thought that was a man’s job. So the following story surprised me. My dad was on a plane and they announced the first pilot as being a female and he thought “Oh, cool, a female pilot.” And then they announced the second pilot as a female and then he thought “Oh, no! what if something goes wrong?”, quickly followed by “Whoa, was that me that just thought that?!” I thought that was a great story. Let’s recognize the programming and evolve. Thank you so much.

  2. Nik says:

    Thank you so much for your piece on race. It was refreshing, thoughtful, and brilliantly written, although some crazy racists may beg to differ. It is always great to hear this type of perspective from the other side. Keep writing!

  3. stephen says:

    Came across your post (I am racist) on twitter. Thank you. It says, very well, what I have failed to articulate out of my own mind.

  4. Jill says:

    Thanks so much for your blog about racism – so perfectly articulated exactly what I’m going through (the process of recognizing and challenging my own racism, and re-programing) but also what I want so badly to say to so many people around me. People’s “colorblind” response to Ferguson, wanting to sweep racism under the rug, it makes me feel like someone ripped my chest open. Since 8/9/14 I’ve felt sick, anxious, and in despair over Ferguson, and the reactions of many whites in response – void of empathy, compassion, or understanding about institutional racism and subconscious bias (or outright denial in many cases). The divisiveness has made me feel hopeless at times – white vs. black, anti-cop vs. pro-cop. I want to scream that these divisions aren’t real – we’re making them up – and they’re doing so much harm – they’re literally killing people! Thank you for this post, and for your honesty about your own racism. Someone should start a forum where we can all “come out” (in a constructive way), and share our own behaviors and realizations about racism. I imagine it might be cathartic for people to realize it’s not just them, and it’s not their fault, and to work together on our own biases! Not sure if you have these, but for additional resources, I would suggest Project Implicit at Harvard and American Values Institute.

  5. Excellent article on ‘I’m a racist….’ The images of racism are so strong that guess what, even the victims internalize them at times and are forced to work at overcoming them.

    As a black man the moment I hear news of some horrible crime my first image is often of a black perpetrator, and the sense of relief when I find out it is not leaves me ashamed. I too feel fear at times in the presence of young black men on a deserted city street.

    In addition to these issues of imagery there’s also the fact that the structures of our society were created by the privileged for themselves and in most cases they persist.

    I find it ironic, for example, that in the lighthearted area of sports, the majority of fans have no problem with the ‘Redskins’ nickname of the NFL’s Washington, DC team. In all the discussions pro and con, the one overlooked point. The original owner who chose the name was an avowed and unabashed racist. So much so he went to the point of stating in his will that none of his wealth should be used to promote better relations between the races.

    How under those circumstances does a society delude itself into believing that a word that began life as a pejorative and chosen by a man of such dishonor, is now a badge of honor to the history and culture of a people on whom it nearly committed genocide?

    The time has past when we should be re-examining the basis on which we have created the economic and political institutions in this country. The persisting difficulty is the political will to do so.

  6. I think your post on race should be required reading in highschool. I think it is important that we understand the cultural misinformation that is formed in “isms”. Sadly it doesn’t stop at racism, or sexism, or homophobia, or classism … I think what we as individuals need to understand is how the information controlled by the power elite encourages a system supported by fearful thinking/distrust of each other, so that essentially we cannot unite socially and politically. Isms are used to divide and conquer the populations. If you see ISMs in this larger context, you can see how we all share as perpetrators and victims of these maleficient systems of oppression.

    Confronting it all, can be monumental, but the primary thing is to question what you fear – Are those fears based upon – actual fact or fiction fueled by ISMS.?

  7. Kristin Patton says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and eloquent blog on racism. It deeply resonates and your clarity, courage, research and recommendations are very helpful. And please say hello to Portland for me.

  8. Toni B says:

    THANK YOU. THANK YOU. Thank you! for “I’m racist and so are you.”
    You expressed that so much more eloquently than I ever could have. I am a widowed white mom to three biracial (and therefore seen as Black in our society) teenage sons. So I’m kind of close to the subject emotionally. Thank you. You put into words what I have been trying to tell my white friends. Thank you so much.

  9. Kathy S says:

    I see others also wanted to compliment you on your I’m A Racist blog. I hope comments are not off on that column due to negative responses.

    It was an excellent column. I undertook my own diversity education over thirty years ago and I know how difficult it can be to explain clearly what is an experiential topic. I have tried to write that column for YEARS. I was never able to connect the dots in the way that you did. Beautifully done!

  10. John Prentice says:

    Rachel…
    I’m an African-American man. I thank you for your witness. I believe that most white people have the same biases that you shared, but are afraid to acknowledge them. (IMHO, you are prejudiced, not racist; racism has to do with community/business practices such as redlining, denying promotions, last hired/first fired, stopping people for DWB, etc.) Believe me, I live and work in a racially mixed climate. There are very, very few white people that truly “don’t see color.” (There are some. But not many.) I can’t and wouldn’t try to speak for all black folks, but I believe all most of us want is the simple acknowledgment that we are treated differently because of our skin color. We KNOW this, but so many whites reflexively deny their prejudices. (Yes, most black people are prejudiced in one way or another, too. Including me.)

    The only way we’re going to move forward is to have frank conversations. I promise you, you didn’t just get your prejudices from watching television. You have to tell your mom that she’s racist. You have to tell your Uncle Doug that he’s racist. You have to tell your best friend that he/she is racist. You have to speak up when someone tells an off-color joke at a party where there are no people of color around. And those will be difficult discussions. But they have to happen. Thank you for starting a dialogue. Good luck to you.

  11. Kathleen says:

    As many others have said, thank you so much for your “I’m a racist and so are you” blog – the links to resources and scholarly articles are amazing! I am putting a resource guide together for a racial justice group I work with across New England, and this piece and all of your resources are going in it! We’re a mixed group of people of color and white people, and the white group’s “work” is to do exactly what your blog post does – get other whites to acknowledge white privilege and racism, and do something about it! Thanks again, and good luck in all your future endeavors! You’re an inspiration! 🙂

  12. I also wanted to thank you for your “I’m a racist” post. I appreciate that it’s candid and a little raw yet rooted in evidence, and offers thorough and meaningful next steps. I like that someone suggested it should be read in high school. I would go a step further–we need to be much better about teaching our children about race and diversity. Thanks again for this thoughtful piece.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s