July 2020 Blog – On “Patriotism”

Almost four years ago Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest the blatent police killing of Black people. Retired Army Green Beret Nate Boyer, someone who most Americans would call a patriot, suggested to the 49er quarterback that kneeling was respectful.  But many attacked Kaepernick as unpatriotic, and for that his career was derailed. Kaepernick insisted, “I’m not […]

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June 2020 Blog – On “Police Force”

How can we make sense of the last words spoken by George Floyd? With a law enforcement office kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and other officers looking on, Floyd pleaded, “please, please, please I can’t breathe, please man, please somebody…I can’t move, mama, mama, I can’t, my knee, my nuts, I’m through, I’m through, I’m […]

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May 2020 Blog – On “Employment”

Following April’s 400 Years blog about the pandemic disproportionally harming communities of color, let’s acknowledge an historic lack of choice regarding employment for Black Americans. Indentured service and slavery did not allow Black workers any choice in their creation of $14 trillion dollars worth of labor in today’s dollars. After slavery, Jim Crow segregated workers of color into the least […]

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April 2020 Blog – On “Coloring the Pandemic”

During these difficult times we are all struggling. Those in relatively comfortable circumstances might say, “We’re all in this together. After all, the coronavirus is blind, right? It’s an equal opportunity killer, right?” Personally, I can socially distance, shelter-in-place, and telework. No problem. My white collar job allows me to avoid possibly contaminated public transportation. […]

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February 2020 Blog – On “Space”

400 years of racism affects how many navigate space in America. Some who identify as white may be blissfully unaware of this reality. They feel at home in public spaces and enter commercial establishments with comfortable entitlement. Most would not expect a security guard to challenge them with a stern, “May I help you?” – […]

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January 2020 400 Year blog – On “Family”

Ethical Society Leader Hugh Taft-Morales’s 400 Years project included weekly blog posts through 2019. He argues that our 400-year-history of owning, torturing, and oppressing people profoundly affects many Black Americans today.   Now, in 2020, he is writing monthly blogs intended to: (1) explore how historic and systemic racism makes navigating the world today particularly […]

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400 Years Blog #52 – Spiritual Resistance

My early memories of Martin Luther King Jr. impressed upon me how America’s racial freedom struggle is fueled greatly by the Black Church. Resistance was fueled by faith in a better world and the courage to resist. Although I am not a believer, and despite the fact that Christianity was often used to defend slavery, […]

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400 Years Blog #51  – Harriet and Malcolm: Any Means Necessary

Few heroes of the liberation struggle inspired Black Americans as much as Harriet Tubman and Malcolm X. While watching the new film Harriet, I recognized parallels between their willingness to use, as Malcolm X famously said, “any means necessary.” Tubman would do anything to save her passengers, even threatening to shoot any of them who wanted to […]

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400 Years Blog #50  – Letter from Birmingham Jail

Clarence B. Jones, a friend and speech writer for Martin Luther King Jr., called the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” “one of the most profound (examples of) literature created in the 20th century.” The letter of nearly 7000 words scrawled on the edges of a newspaper and various scraps of paper is now routinely studied in college […]

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400 Years Blog #49  – Harriet Jacobs and the Life of a Slave Girl

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs, weaves together forms of oppression and the persistence of motherly love. Ignored for decades and labelled a work of fiction, during the Civil Rights Movement it reemerged as a heroic tale of resistance to patriarchy and racism. She shared with the world her experience […]

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