February 25, 2016

I really like this blog… “White People Work.”

Thanks to Sheena Greer.

I love her home page at Collude: Learn to kick ass. Hire me to kick ass. Be inspired to kick ass. WOW!

And read this great blog. She quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For example: “White people believe they have so little to learn.” She talks about life long learning and listening. She understands white privilege.

Read Sheena’s lovely blog. Yes, kicking some ass. Mine. Hers. And a bunch of yours, too.


Filed under: Social Commentary

February 10, 2016

A sad sad truth

“Bigotry and national security have, sadly, close and old ties in American history.” So says the first line in the January 4, 2016 editorial in The Nation magazine.

Yet, in my experience, U.S. people and our government don’t recognize and acknowledge our unpleasant history. Things like:

• “National-security concerns mixed with anti-Semitism delayed our acceptance of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi German.”

• “Racism combined with panic after Pear Harbor led to the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.”

• “Over the past decade, we’ve wrenched at least 2 million people from their families with a record-setting pace of deportation.”

• We’ve allowed people to die in the desert rather than allow them to cross the border. National security? Really? How about racism.

• Donald Trump plans to build tall walls and ban Muslims from entering the U.S., and “11 of the 13 GOP president candidates oppose allowing any Syrian refugees into the country at all.”

Here’s another rather terrifying (dare I say embarrassing) fact: According to research, “more Americans have been killed in domestic terrorist attacks by right-wing zealots than by jihadists since 9/11.”

Yet we won’t launch a much-needed war on guns. No other “civilized” nation has the gun violence we have. I think I might blog about what civilization means to me. Hmmm….

Our behavior reminds me of facism.  We make fun of Marie Antoinette saying to the poor clamoring for bread to feed their starving children, “Let them eat cake.”

Our U.S. Supreme Court allows the Koch brothers and their pals to invest more money than either the Republican or Democratic Parties to shape elections. My voice and yours just don’t count as much.

And on and on and on….. But I must curtail my anger today. I have work to do.

[All quotes — except “civilized” and Marie Antoinette – are from “A War on Guns,” The Nation, January 4, 2016.]

Filed under: Social Commentary

February 5, 2016

Electing a black president…Electing a woman president…

The US of A elected a black man for president. Amazing. Wonderful. And, honestly, I’m very proud. (Although I don’t believe this is a post racial society. I believe we are still a racist country. And it’s sad that we have to have another movement to end racism, Black Lives Matter. But I’m glad that some people continue the fight against racism.)

The US of A has the chance to elect a woman president. Amazing. Wonderful. And, honestly, I’d be very proud. But the sexism – obvious and apparent sexism and blind and unaware sexism – are as rampant as racism. (Maybe more rampant. Shirley Chisholm thought sexism was deeper than racism. She said: “As a black person, I am no stranger to race prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black.”

I’m a big fan of Michael Moore and his work. Amazing. Wonderful. But honestly, I’m disappointed. Check out this insightful article about Moore and the way he talks about supporting Bernie Sanders. Michael Moore…justice activist…political lefty. Yippee – and I mean that honestly. But I’m very concerned – very very very concerned – about his “casual chauvinism.”

Read the entire article. Just to give you a taste, a couple statements from the article:

  • “I wouldn’t expect Moore to back Clinton or even say anything particularly nice about her. But he can’t even acknowledge to female readers that this great progressive sees that having a woman president would be on its own terms a salutary thing?”
  • “I obviously have no idea whether Moore contemplated such a sentence and rejected it or it just never occurred to him. Either way, it tells us something. To a lot of men, even men of the left, the woman-president thing just isn’t important.”

Even progressive men don’t seem to think the woman-president thing is that important. What an indictment. And I fear it’s true. Mr. Moore, how could you not mention the importance of electing a woman president in this country? You can still endorse Bernie. But you could recognize and acknowledge the gender bias in this country and mention “the first black man” and “the first woman” as equally important.

Let’s not be naive. Sexism is alive and well worldwide. And YES, in the US of A, too. Just like racism is. Research proves it. The UN documents it. And the references below are just the tip of a very big gender bias iceberg in the US of A.

And the sexism is so institutionalized in the US of A that women running for any office are at a disadvantage. Media bias against women. Societal bias against women. Yes. All true. And the references below are just the tip of a that same big iceberg.

So back to the beginning of this morning’s rant…. I want Michael Moore – a progressive – to recognize that electing a woman president is just as important as electing a black president. And more important than electing a Catholic president or a divorced president or….

Filed under: Social Commentary

January 20, 2016

I believe that silence is consent.

So I take risks because I can. I have these social commentary blogs. Yes. I know that social commentary on my business website might cause some potential clients to turn away. That’s okay. With my privilege, I can take risks that others can’t.

I sure love that Seth Godin. Check out these two social justice blogs of his: Getting ahead versus doing well and read Hiding, too.

Paul Krugman is my kind of economist. Check out this op-ed. And Thomas Piketty is my kind, too, I suspect. I bought his book and must read it soon. Although the situation will only make me angrier. So I have to spread out my anger.

Check out this interview with Robert Reich… “A vicious cycle of wealth and power threatens capitalism.

If you’re interested in justice, subscribe to this compilation service...very justice oriented.

Also read the Transformation newsletter at OpenDemocracy. Justice activist Mike Edwards is the founder.

I hope you’re able to speak out. I hope that doesn’t put you at too much risk.

And here’s a shout out. To the gentleman sitting on the aisle next to me on Southwest airlines flying to Chicago on Sunday, 01-10. He asked me what I was writing on my laptop. And off I went into my love of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector … and then I began ranting about justice… my white privilege and that I could wear a hoodie without fear. He can’t. He’s a football coach at URI. He helps develop young men. Cool.



Filed under: Social Commentary

November 9, 2015

Discomfort with strangers…people who are different than…

I find it somewhat curious… rather annoying… and totally distasteful. All this anger at immigrants (or the possibility of immigrants). Let’s lock those other people up. Let’s put them in some dark corner of our city. Let’s build a wall – maybe even two or three! – to keep them out.

All the while, today’s world is so connected. Your grocery store. My clothing store. YouTube. The news. Photos. People. So much connection.

Yet so much suspicion and distaste – even hatred –  for those who are different.

Here’s a postcard from my French cousin Fab and her partner husband Jean-Claude. The postcard comes from the Memorial of the Camp des Milles. This postcard proclaims, “Understand in order to agitate.”

Here’s the original version as seen on the postcard. Scroll down for the English translation.

Ton christ est juif

Ta voiture est japonaise

Ton couscous est algerin

Ta démocratie est grecque

Ton cafe est bresilien

Ton chianti est italien

Et tu reproches a ton voisin d’être un étranger…

Your christ is jewish

Your car is japanese

Your couscous is algerian

Your democracy is greek

Your coffee is brazilian

Your chianti is italian

And you reproach your neighbor because s/he is a stranger               

A tribe can be wonderful. Just read Seth Godin’s book of that name. Think about what we want to do with donors – build a tribe that cares. Think about movements like social justice – building a tribe that will act together for good.

Tribes can be so marvelous and special and extraordinary and helpful and useful and great agents of change.

And tribes can be so awful, so disgusting, so vicious, so harmful, so hurtful. I fight those tribes. I want them gone gone gone.

Which tribes do you belong to? Which tribes do you avoid – and even fight?

P.S. An important article about change in U.S. demographics (in a decade or so, whites will be the minority). But who continues to seemingly control the world?

August 19, 2015

Some pretty cool articles

Check out these interesting articles. I find lots of this kind of stuff at TRANSFORMATION…where love meets social justice. Part of the website called openDemocracy. (What’s openDemocracy? A digital commons magazine. Champions human rights…)

So check out these articles I found by subscribing to TRANSFORMATION.

Racism is not a mental illness

Will the left ever get religion?

Welcome to the empathy wars

Dylann Roof is not an extremist

Are you cultivating knowledge or just consuming information?

And here’s another interesting article… From BUSTLE: How this landmark birth control case led to the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling

Filed under: Social Commentary

July 27, 2015

Understanding and talking about racism

I don’t think we talk about racism and sexism and homophobia enough. I don’t think we acknowledge the root causes. I don’t think we call out truth enough.

These pieces about racism really resonate with me.

Thanks to a colleague in Cohort 24 at SMU for this:

Finally (for this blog),  here’s one of my most favorite pictures: Equality is not justice. But equity is.





Filed under: Social Commentary

June 29, 2015

Building the people’s movement

As a subscriber to The Nation magazine, I just received this email. I’ve heard The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP. He gave a marvelous and inspiring speech to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I couldn’t resist sharing his email here.

“How do we build a people’s movement?

“We start with vision. Prophetic moral vision seeks to penetrate despair, so that we can believe in and embrace new futures.

“In North Carolina, we had a movement that had already reformed the voting laws before Obama was on the ballot—an interracial, intergenerational, anti-poverty, pro-labor fusion movement that was challenging even Democrats to be more committed to a moral vision.

“Since the social, political, and economic system of slavery was defeated by progressive Northern white families aligning with hundreds of thousands of African slaves and freed people in the South in 1865, The Nation has fought to repair the deep breaches this system created in the human family of the nation. Today, when Southern legislatures have fallen to Tea Party zealots, the need for a Southern-oriented anti-racism mass movement is greater than ever. The Nation will continue to play an important role in building this movement in the South, and explaining it to the rest of the nation.

“We need a transformative movement—state-based, deeply moral, deeply constitutional, pro-justice. We need to build for the long term, not around one issue or campaign.

       “We need the kind of language that’s not left or right or conservative or liberal, but moral, fusion language that says:

  • It is extreme and immoral to suppress the right to vote.
  • It is extreme and immoral to deny Medicaid to millions of poor people, especially when denied by people who have been elected to office and receive their own insurance through that office.
  • It is extreme and immoral to raise taxes on the working poor and cut earned-income tax credits, especially in order to slash taxes for the wealthy.
  • It is extreme and immoral to shut off people’s water in Detroit.
  • It is extreme and immoral to end unemployment compensation for those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own.
  • It is extreme and immoral to desegregate and underfund our public schools.
  • It is mean, it is immoral, it is extreme to kick hardworking people when they are done.
  • That’s not just bad policy. It’s a violation of the common good and a disregard for human rights. In face, this kind of philosophy is rooted in the policies of immoral deconstruction. If you look at these policies carefully, they are historically inaccurate, they are constitutional inconsistent, they are morally indefensible, and they are economically insane.

“That’s not just bad policy. It’s a violation of the common good and a disregard for human rights. In fact, this kind of philosophy is rooted in the policies of immoral deconstruction. If you look at these policies carefully, they are historically inaccurate, they are constitutionally inconsistent, they are morally indefensible, and they are economically insane.

       “The day is over for quick political platitudes. The day is over for little campaign slogans. We’ve got to build a movement.

“We’ve got to think more deeply. It’s going to take more than a few texts, and a few e-mails. We must engage in action that shifts the center of political gravity in this nation. And we’ve got to do it state by state. And we’ve got to say—no matter who’s in Congress, or who’s in the general assemblies of our state, or who’s in the governor’s mansion, or who’s in the White House—we are demanding higher ground.

       “We’ve got to say you don’t have enough political power to vote us away, you don’t have enough insults to talk us away, and to the Koch brothers, you don’t have enough money to buy us away.”

And The Reverend Dr. Barber ends his letter with, “In solidarity….

Yes, this letter is a solicitation letter to those of us who subscribe to The Nation magazine. And yes, I sent in a donation in response to this powerful letter.

But for this blog, I’m not asking you to give. I’m asking you to read. To absorb. To vote. To fight. In solidarity with others demanding justice.





Filed under: Social Commentary

April 27, 2015

Sarcasm and subtlety

“Sarcasm and subtlety are wasted on the easily confused.”

That statement resonated with me.

I was talking with a high school teacher, a debate coach.

I don’t remember what we were talking about. But the context was likely social justice. Things like racism and sexism and socioeconomic rights and … Well, you get the gist.

  • Subtlety….The quality of being subtle. That’s what the dictionary says. I get so annoyed with definitions that use a form of the word for defining. But the definition goes on to mention synonyms like: delicacy, understatedness, nuance…
  • Sarcasm….The use of irony to mock or convey contempt. Synonyms include cynicism, scoffing…
  • Confused…Unable to think clearly. Bewildered. Befuddled. Puzzled. Perplexed.

Of course, you’re wondering where I’m going with this. And I’m not really sure. I just really like the statement.

But, maybe I could apply this sometimes…. Like with a group (e.g., board or committee meeting, trying to make a point with a client, trying to agitate in a presentation…in an article…as a headline for a blog or something….???!!!)

So here are some examples that I worked on to utilize the tool of “sarcasm and subtlety are wasted on the easily confused.” Of course, the challenge of this is, as Dr. Albert Mehrabian tells us, communications is only 30% of what you say. The other 70% is voice, tone, face, gestures, huge tacky rings, etc.

  • “I’m so tired of whiny people.  (I’m being really sarcastic!) People should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps and earn their way in life.” (Sarcasm again. I’m so pissed at this sentiment. Just read the book The Self-Made Myth: And the Truth About How Government Helps Individuals and Businesses Succeed by Brian Miller and Mike Lapham.) Actually, a fair amount of people believe that those other people should just “pull themselves up.” Easier said than done, I say. 
  • “I’m not so sure there’s a glass ceiling anymore. Black people and women are CEOs of big companies now.” (Indeed, there are CEOs of big companies who are black and female. But not very many. And, according to research, women continue to bump into the glass ceiling. And women are still paid less than men for the same work. And and and …) I’m thinking this statement is pretty subtle. And I sure am being sarcastic.
  • “I often wonder about men who choose to stay home and care for children. I wonder if they just couldn’t get a good job. I suspect that the wife earns more money than the husband made.” (What?! Maybe the guy is married to a guy. And one husband wanted to stay home with the kids. And the other husband wanted to work outside the home. Or both wanted to stay home but they needed an income so they drew straws or talked and voted or or … Or maybe the guy is the nanny…Or maybe there’s no marriage involved…Or…)

I use quite a bit of sarcasm myself…in life and in work. Mostly, I don’t think I’m too subtle. But maybe sometimes I am. I think I’m rather subtle (maybe not the right word) when I keep using “life partner” instead of “husband.” I watch the faces. And people do tell me that they wondered if I was married, living with a man but unmarried, or a lesbian… And that’s exactly what I want them to wonder!!! For all kinds of reason, which, if you read any of my blogs or articles or books or hear me present… You know that I do this on purpose to make a statement about social justice.

Okay. Off to work. But first, thanks Aaron. You made me think. And I really do like that statement, “Sarcasm and subtlety are wasted on the easily confused.”

April 14, 2015

Do you know what today is?

Here I am, another blog today. But how could I resist?

Today, April 14, is Equal Pay Day… “the day selected each year by the National Committee on Pay Equity…to draw attention to how much longer women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.”

  • John Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963…Back then, women earned 59 cents on the dollar paid to a man in the same kind of job. By 2013 (most recent data), women were paid 78 cents on the dollar.
  • Progress? Actually, according to the article, “stalled” is the appropriate term.
  • But really? This is called gender bias. There isn’t any other reason. Even when we’re trying to be aware and conscious, we’ve been socialized to be anything but.

Another April 14 reminder. The year was 1865. Abraham Lincoln was shot. He died April 15. That would be the Civil War. The fight against slavery.

  • Progress? Sure. No more slavery, so to speak. The Civil Rights Movement.
  • But racism still exists…for people of all colors but white here in the U.S. of A.

Justice? Not really. Racism. Sexism. Homophobia. Socioeconomic injustice.

We don’t have equality. We don’t have equity. The two are different and we have neither.

Let’s keep fighting.


Filed under: Social Commentary

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