He is a little man, dressed all in black, shivering on a wet and cold street corner. It is 37 degrees and raining hard, puddles of blackened half-melted snow marking the vestigial remains of winter. His sparse wiry facial hair and vaguely Asiatic features mark him as an American Indian. Native American. Indigenous. First Nations, as the Canadians about sixty miles to the north say. He stands at the busy intersection, clutching a hand-written cardboard sign with letters scrawled in black Sharpie announcing his plight: “Homeless, God Bless.” Continue reading A Five Dollar Blessing
There has been a lot of buzz and even vitriol lately about Rachel Dolezal, the white woman in Spokane, Washington, who has been passing herself off as a mixed-race black woman for the past few years. Mostly the talk has been about the disbelief that she would falsely claim black heritage. But the one part that is almost always overlooked is her dubious claim of Native American ancestry. She even claims to have been born in a teepee in Montana. Because Indians were still living in teepees in Montana in 1977, apparently. Continue reading Black and white (and red all over).
As book nerds, we commonly hold the rather snobbish opinion that movies based on novels are never as good as the book. There are good reasons for this, as each book reading experience is very subjective. We visualize the characters in our own way. We savor each detail. Film interpretations of novels often have to be ruthless in cutting details, lest each film run hours or days in length. Characters are often cast for their star appeal rather than their authenticity to the role. Avid literati often take offence at this. “How dare they cast Brad Pitt in that role? He’s completely wrong for it.” Or, “How dare they not include the scene at the refinery, that’s the key detail that explains the ending.” Continue reading Book/Movie Review: Winter in the Blood
Hooray, it’s time again to celebrate the man who got lost, washed ashore on a land that had already been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, claimed it for his financier, the King of Spain, enslaved its inhabitants, left behind smallpox and syphilis, never really figured out whether he was in Asia or not, and was such an inept and brutal governor that he was jailed by his King. Continue reading You know what? F*#@ Columbus
Up to now I have waged a passive protest against racist sports imagery, most notably the Washington DC NFL team, whose name I refuse to acknowledge. I’ve never been shy about talking about it to anyone who will listen, but I’ve never taken an active role. My personal boycott of this team means that I skip over pages of the newspaper that talk about them, I flip past TV stations showing their games and I refuse to speak their name, calling them the Washington Racists or R-words. But ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away. It’s time to speak up. I will be passive no longer. Continue reading Honor or hatred?