Where Do We Go from Here?

The revisions to my Mississippi novel have reached the “listening to the computer read to me” stage. I’ve received wonderfully helpful feedback from Beta readers and spent 2 months implementing it. “Implementing” sounds so neutral, but I wrote another 20,000 words and revised the ones I already had on the page. Now...

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Violent or Peaceful?

My last year at the University of Virginia, I took a masters-level Applied Sociology class. There I learned that small changes in our public spaces—placement of the exit on the bus, arrangement of an apartment complex courtyard—can lead to huge changes in group behavior. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated by forces that influence us in ways...

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Do You Want to Be Lied to, or Not?

They use it as an asterisk. Like when the governing commission is forced to add an explanation to a sports stat. Babe Ruth and Roger Maris or whatever. The sports hero is the greatest ever…except with this teensy asterisk caveat. The same treatment is granted to the white men who established America. Historians, politicians, we white people—we...

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My Date with a Neo-Nazi

I went to lunch with a Neo-Nazi. We had gyros and iced tea, I’m pretty sure, but the details of the food escape me. What I’ll never forget was my dawning realization that this man was a nutcase. He was tall and incredibly good-looking in a blond Aryan blue-eyed way. (Yes, this is a true story, though it’s starting to sound...

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White People’s Ego Will Get You Killed

The two young men had been high school friends. One was Black, one was white. The Black man went missing. He had last been seen with the young white man, his friend. The white man schemed with his half-brother to shoot the young Black man and rob him. The brothers buried the Black man in a shallow grave, and the white man’s wife allegedly later...

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The Mississippi that Might Still Be

When I heard that Mississippi during this massive moment of potential change was focusing on its racist flag, at first I thought, oh, dear Lord —that’s what Mississippians think matters now? But. I lose count when I try to say how many generations I’ve been from Mississippi (’cause, you know, we’re not very good at...

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When a White Woman Accuses a Black Man

He was a writer, a man I’ll call Jonathan. Jonathan was in writing group with me one hour before he was accused of having snatched a purse from a woman on the street, a felony even though the purse had less than $10 in it. I told the investigators that Jonathan had just left writing group when this crime supposedly occurred; there was no way...

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Christians Leave Trump in Droves

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church condemned it. Trump “used a church building and the Holy Bible for partisan political purposes. This was done in a time of deep hurt and pain in our country, and his action did nothing to help us or to heal us,” Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in a statement. The Episcopal Bishop of Washington...

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When Your Racist Beliefs are Challenged….

When I was in the 7th grade, I went on a weekend trip with a new friend. Drew was Jewish and, as she explained, because her grandmother was with us on that Passover, we would be observing. We went to what I, a young girl newly minted from Mississippi, called the coast, and they called the beach. I remember it as a remote island. I’m sure it...

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Today, In Memphis

Today, in Memphis, we met a fun new couple who have been leaders in Memphis for decades and live in our downtown neighborhood. How? We went to a coffee shop, in Memphis. Today, in Memphis, I had lunch where one of the most accomplished, energetic, enthusiastic women I’ve ever met, and we plotted to end homelessness and world domination...

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