Get Ready: It’s WTF Time, Y’all

I want to tell you a story. The characters in this story came from many lands, but eventually their view of themselves sorted around one fact: they did not come from Africa. Or China…or anywhere “that just doesn’t look white.” I’m a character in this story, the starring role, in fact. Fair warning: I’m not the hero. The Story Once...

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Nekkid People

This morning in church I was a lay reader for the first time in my life. You usually have to go through training or some such before they let you stand at the head of the church at the heavily-carved lectern with a microphone in front of you and read the word of God—we say that after the reading, intone it, actually: “The Word of God.”...

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Wiping the Slate Clean

You know when you’ve solved a complex calculus equation, and you take the eraser and literally wipe the slate clean? I did that last week with my writing career. Three acceptances triggered the erasure: First, I was accepted into the Community Writers Workshop in the Virtual Valley for July of this year. This fabulous writers conference...

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For Those Who Mother

An Unexpected Dilemma The flower bins at Claiborne Hills, usually so skimpy in their offerings, were fat with flowers, and I realized the bounty was for tomorrow’s Mother’s Day. I studied the roses and whatever flower it is they falsely color pink so that it looks like when we children stood white spirea in a glass of water with...

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Bottling Happiness

“This, if I could just stop this for a minute and bottle this right here,” my daughter-in-law said Saturday night. We were at the table on the screen porch at the beach house eating Ryan’s boiled shrimp and Tom’s waygu steak. I had cut flowers from the yard to decorate the table, and we were all full of meat and peas and...

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So You Love that Racist Movie?

Scene I Y’all, Gone with the Wind was my first grown-up movie (that means my first movie that wasn’t a Saturday morning matinee where my friends and I ran up and own the aisles acting like fools). We went at night, my mother and two sisters and I. Watching this movie I learned a very important plot point. During the burning of Atlanta,...

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Do You Know Your Patterns of Racism?

All the news about attacks on Asian Americans, I wanted to speak out. So I began writing a blog post, and soon enough, I took a hard turn and found myself re-hashing our national history of white racism toward Black folks, with some scant references to indentured Chinese. I wrote, and I revised, and somehow I couldn’t get it right. Then I realized,...

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Beignets, Names, and Future Wins

Today, we took our grandsons to the cafe au lait and beignets place. Inside the place, I mean. Except for one, two times, I haven’t been inside a restaurant for 12 months. We ordered three plates of beignets and one croissant because it was an after-school snack, and the beignets might not have been sufficient, thus the croissant....

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The Gifted Young Professional

In the summer of 1981, when I was clerking at the Wise Carter law firm in Jackson, Mississippi, and living at my grandmother’s house, I walked the five blocks to my job in downtown Jackson. Pedestrian commuting was not the rule in Jackson, but my other option was to drive Bigmama’s 1965 land shark Cadillac, fondly known as “Big Blue.“ At that time,...

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