Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Things I Am Thankful For

1. That I am married to Liz, my hero as well as my partner in life.
2. That I have amazing children, who are married to great people, and amazing grandchildren.
3. That I love my job and have great students and colleagues.
4. That I have friends all over the country and all over the world who represent many races, religions and nationalities.
5. That i work in the Bronx, a place which challenges me and inspires me every day.
6. That i survived situations of great danger in my youth and as a result go through life with very little fear.
7. That I wake up every morning filled with joy and anticipation and remain optimistic no matter how bad things may seem.
8 That no matter how well life treats me, I always feel compassion for those who are suffering, and will make time to support them

Monday, November 20, 2017

Notorious Phd’s 3 Keys to surviving the Trump Presidency


1. Do something every day to support the causes you believe in and defend vulnerable people under duress.
2. Make a concerted effort to take care of your mental and physical health. Eat healthier, get plenty of exercise, and find constructive ways to relieve stress.
3. Love and support the people around you at school, at home and at work. Never let rage and disappointment prevent you from being a good neighbor, a good friend and a good person

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Growing Up in Morrisania in the Fifties: Oral History Reflections


Spending time with Charlotte Watson Manus and Paul Himmelstein and listening to them talk about their youth in Morrisania brought back vivid memories of growing up in New York working class neighborhoods where your block and your building were the most important communities you were part of, where fighting was a part of life, but when you could come home by public transportation at 2 AM without worrying about what would happen to you, and when the sounds of music were everywhere, coming out of stores and apartments and portable radios and, performed live, were something you and your friends aspired to do and in a few instances, did well enough to make a record. That was New York in the Fifties for young people growing up working class. whether you were Black, Puerto Rican, Jewish, Irish or Italian. There was poverty, there was crowding, there was violence, there was tracking in schools, and there was racism, which kept people out of neighborhoods where they weren't welcome, but there was also camaraderie, community and hope. And great great music being produced in YOUR neighborhood., Which is why there is so much nostalgia for those days among those of us still alive.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Genius of Luis Torres: How PS 55 Responded to the Charter Challenge

One of the most brilliant and important achievements of PS 55’s visionary Principal, Luis E Torres, is that through innovative programming and a relentless public relations campaign, he has totally overshadowed the Success Academy Charter School co-located in his building! Normally, Success Academy tries to humiliate and stigmatize the public schools it is co-located by pointing out how much better it’s performance is! Not at PS 55! Here, the action, innovation and excitement is all with the public school, whether it is the scientific and pedagogical innovations of the Green Bronx Machine, the school based agriculture program housed at the School; the full service Medical clinic Principal Torres has created; or the school’s championship step team and basketball team! People from all over the city and the nation come to see what Principal Torres has done; while Success Academy stays in the background.
This is what should happen all over!! Principals and teachers should not just roll over when a charter comes into their building; they should show everyone what public education at its Best can do, which is draw on the resources of entire communities! And what I mean by community resources is not only the cultural capital of the neighborhood  the school is located, but the skills and resources of everyone in the city and the country who supports public education. Principal Torres has done this brilliantly

Everyone seeking to defend public education against the relentless charter attack needs to visit his school and draw upon his innovative and inspiring strategies not only in programming, but in public relations!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Affordable Eating in the Bronx- Notorious Phd's Favorite Spots

Here are some of my favorite affordable eating spots in the Bronx. I have "field tested" all of them and can give assurance for their quality.

1.  Johnson BBQ.  790 E 163rd St, Bronx, NY 10456 between Union and Tinton Avenues. Been in the same spot for over 50 years. GREAT ribs, chicken, mac and cheese, candied yams, rice and peas. Take out only- no drinks sold. Closed Monday. Say "the professor sent you" and you will get larger portions

2.  Premium Sweets 2104 Starling Ave, Bronx, NY 10462  Excellent South Asian food in the Parkchester section of the Bronx, the site of the Bronx's largest Benjali community. It is actually a neighborhood where you can find a parking space

3.  Pio Pio 264 Cypress Ave, Bronx, NY 10454 Great Peruvian food in a classy atmosphere is a once dangerous, now fully redeveloped section of the South Bronx. The roast chicken, seviche, plantanos, and empanadas are amazing. Also a neighborhood where parking is possible.

4.  The Crab Shanty  361 City Island Ave, Bronx, NY 10464. The best lunch special on  City Island. Has its own parking lot. Excellent garlic bread served with every meal. Excellent broiled fish cooked in many styles and terrific King Crab legs. Friendly atmosphere and a real Bronx crowd

5 Com Tam Ninh Kieu 2641 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10468 Great Vietnamese food at affordable prices on Jerome Avenue near Kingsbridge Road. You know the food is good because most of the people eating there are either  Vietnamese Bronxites or doctors from the Veterans Hospital. I love their Pho!

6. Papeye  2300 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10458. A Ghanaian Restaurant at Grand Concourse and 183rd Street with great food for those who like their eating on the spicy side. II love their goat kabobs, but everything is tasty. Just make sure you have lots of water with you if you do take out

7.  3 Way  384 E188th StBronxNY 10458.  Great Dominican food within walking distance of Fordham. My favorites are the roaster chicken with rice and beans, maduros, tostones, bacala ( codfish) pernil ( roast pork) and mafungo. 

8. Venice Restaurant 772 E 149th St, Bronx, NY 10455. A South Bronx fixture for 50 years which is half the price of Arthur Avenue. Huge portions, friendly service. They do an excellent job with shrimp and calamari.  And also have some great hot hero sandwiches

9. Randazzo's Seafood.2327 Arthur Ave, Bronx NY 10458 -  If you love clams on the half shell, this is the place to get them. Strictly take out, but incredibly delicious!

10.  Estrellita Publana III   2328 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY 10458. It may seem odd to recommend a Mexican restaurant in Arthur Avenue, but this place is a slam dunk. Excellent food, big portions, reasonable prices. Passed over by most of the tourists, but not by eaters in the know!

11. Bronx Beer Hall   2344 Arthur Ave, Bronx, NY 10458  in the Arthur Avenue Market. Surprising good food, as well as excellent beer because they order from the legendary Mike's Deli. An excellent place to hold a party, a seminar or a discussion group!

12..The G Bar   150th Street just West of the Grand Concourse.   Live Jazz, terrific happy hour, big drinks and excellent Italian food. This is where Bronx professionals gather after work. A fun spot which also has a great Sunday Brunch

13  Liebman's Kosher Delicatessan  552 W 235th St, Bronx, NY 10463. The best old fashioned Jewish delicatessen in the Bronx.  Hug stuffed sandwiches, matzo ball soup, chopped liver. i grew up on this stuff! Maybe that's why I am still teaching at age 71!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thoughts on Harvey Weinstein and Male Socialization


Any man who has not been shook up by the Harvey Weinstein revelations or think his actions have nothing to do with you is engaging in a certain amount of self-deception or wishful thinking. Virtually every man in this society- and for all I know in most other societies- has been socialized to judge his masculinity on his ability to attract and exert power over women. To be sure, not every man acts on those pressures by engaging in acts of violence toward or overt harassment of women, but every man felt them growing up, and quite likely feels them now.
As a teenager, my major goals, other than keeping my parents at bay, were gaining the respect of other men and attracting female attention and the latter two were often hopelessly confused. 
I fretted endlessly over my appearance, thinking that wearing glasses was a fatal flaw in my attractiveness to the opposite sex, but that only added to my fanaticism in trying to excel as an athlete, thinking that charisma on the ball field, or tennis court, would compensate for my lack of it off it. It also made me work hard on my dance moves, and even my singing, hoping that those skills would gain me the female attention i craved
But what did I want this attention for?. I was hopelessly confused about that. There was sex, such as it was in the 1950's, there was love, which I longed for, but didn't really expect to find. And there was prestige, which was probably the only clear motivation. In short, i was a confused mess, pulled in many different directions, with women as objects of my attention without their subjectivity having much impact. And in that state, it is easy to turn mean.
I didn't. Thank God. And to this day I can't figure out why. Maybe it was that, when it came to sex, i needed love more than power-since I had ample access to power through sports, and even academics. Maybe it was that I was so scared that women would reject me that i couldn't be aggressive. Maybe it was that somewhere along the line, i had morals. Or really craved women to talk to since I couldn't really talk to men
So I kind of stumbled through my teenage and college years with lots of dates, most of which didn't turn out all that well, until two things happened- not exactly at the same time- I fell head over heels in love and was exposed to the Women's Liberation movement. The former taught me that being loved was the best thing ever; the latter gave me a moral and political commitment to women's empowerment that i could use to fight off more destructive elements of my male socialization, launching a lifelong battle between how I was brought up, and what I knew was right.
But early socialization never goes away. Through my entire life, I have never been immune to how other men judged me based on my relations with women. And that can be a pretty destructive impulse.
From a woman's point of view, the situation has to suck. Knowing that even the most respectful, sensitive men-- not that i would put myself in that category- are fighting off pressure to make women extensions of their own quest for power, prestige and recognition.
I have no solutions to offer. Being a decent person requires constant struggle, and a firm moral compass, because what is inside us, emotionally, is anything but firm and trustworthy

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Partnership Between the Bronx and the City of Cape Coast in Ghana

For Immediate Release: The Emerging Partnership Between The Bronx and the City of Cape Coast in Ghana
Yesterday, the Bronx African American History Project and my Bronx class were host to a distinguished group of public officials from the Central Region of Ghana including the Regional Administrator, the Mayor of Cape Coast, and the Paramount Chief of the Cape Coast Region. As a result of this meeting, a Partnership Agreement was signed linking the City of Cape Coast to the Bronx for tourism, cultural exchange and educational collaboration. The first fruits of this Agreement will be the arrival of a Ghanaian Dance Troupe at Fordham in February 23, 2018, where they will perform for my Rock and Roll to Hip Hop Class at an event open to the University and the Community, We will also be opening up internship opportunities for Fordham students in the City of Cape Coast and planning for a big Ghanaian Festival at Fordham for Black History Month 2019
It is hard to put in words how thrilled I was to meet such a distinguished group of public officials with such a powerful message. I want to thank Kojo Ampah Sahara for setting up the visit, and my graduate assistant Lisa Bettyfor working on the details of their arrival at Fordham. I also want to thank the students in my Bronx class and my colleague Dr Jane Edward for being such great hosts, my students Siobhan Loughran and Julia D'Ambrosio for taking the group on a tour of the Fordham campus, and principal Jamaal Bowman of CASA Middle School for sending a representative to sign the Partnership Agreement
So many great things can come out of this emerging relationship between the Bronx and one of African's great cities Cape Coast is a city on the move, with exciting development projects and arts festivals, as well as some of the most important historic sites in West Africa.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How I Have Dealt With An Increasingly Common Condition- Rage At Trump! ( R.A.T.)

 
Anger is one of those things that can motivate you to heights of accomplishment. It can also destroy you and poison your personal relationships.
Ever since Donald Trump was elected, I have been in a perpetual state of rage, not only at Mr Trump himself, who gets more outrageous every day, but at those who supported him, and those who look the other way in the face of the racially divisive rhetoric that is his trademark
Given how explosive my emotions are, I made a few decisions: First, I would make sure that this anger never spilled over into my teaching, and my relations with students and Second, I would not let it spill over into my face to face relationships. I am very proud that I have never, since the election, lost my temper with a Trump supporter in face to face conversations, of which I have had many.
But at the same time, I realized that I couldn't suppress the level of anger I had without putting myself under intolerable levels of stress so I decided to direct the anger in two ways
First, by posting my opinions about the Trump Presidency on social media on a daily basis, and welcoming interviews about the subject on broadcast or print media. I have used whatever forum available to me to say what I think, using scholarship and experience to support my arguments, but letting the rage come through
Secondly, I have used the anger to motivate me to launch a diet and conditioning program more radical than any I have attempted in the last 40 years, and to actually succeed in sticking to it!
All in all, I feel very positive about how I have handled the challenge of Trump Rage. I have lost some friends on social media and gotten a lot of hate mail, but have not lost a single friend that I have made through face to face encounters.
Plus I am leaner and in better shape than I have been in many years. And the best is yet to come!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Why I Will NEVER Stop Challenging the Trump Presidency

 
Donald Trump's drive to the Presidency began with a demagogic appropriation of the most paranoid symbol of White Resentment of Barack Obama- the Birther Movement- and marched to success, first in the Republican primaries and then in the general election by stoking fears of conservative whites that they were losing "their" country. As a result, whenever Donald Trump feels embattled or under attack, he tries to rekindle the racialized resentments of the whites who supported him by flamboyantly attacking Black or Latino public figures or highlighting policies which target Latino or Muslim immigrants. The damage this is doing to our social fabric is lasting and profound. The targets of Trump's demagoguery are taking it to heart and looking at their white neighbors, co workers and fellow students with suspicion, disappointment and in some instances rage. In this political tinderbox, it is critically important that some whites take a stand against Trump's demagoguery so fiercely that they become targets of his followers wrath. That is the role that I will be playing. I will not let my Black Latinx or Muslim family members, friends, colleagues, students and community partners stand alone. That is what Friendship and Solidarity means.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Trump's Culture War on Black America

Trump’s Culture War on Black AmericaIn the last month, The Trump White House has launched a culture war against Black NFL players, a Black ESPN commentator and now a Black Congressperson who have dared to speak out on issues of the day in ways it finds offensive. This is hardly coincidental. It’s Trump’s version of base building and political hardball. It also puts Mr Trump in the company of some of the worst demagogues in US History and some of the worst dictators the world has seen. Attacking members of the most stigmatized group in a society has always been an invitation to violence, be it by state action or the hands of private citizens. People who have signed off on this bear a fearful level of responsibility for the consequences. The whole world is watching. And historians of the future-some of whom are my students- are taking notes.

Friday, October 20, 2017

An Inspiring Bronx Immigration Story


Just had an amazing experience in my office. The delivery man who brought me my lunch from the Webster Cafe looked around my office and said " Man, you have a lot of books." He then want on to say " I only had four years of education in my country, but I love to read." I looked at him with admiration, gave him a big tip and then said "Here, I have a present for you." And I gave him a copy of a great book I helped write called "The Rat That Got Away: A Bronx Memoir."
Oh yes, one other thing he said. "Some people who graduate from college, they have trouble finding jobs. And some people who don't have an education can find a way to make money, maybe create their own business."
I wished him luck with a big smile on my face. This is why I love the Bronx!

And why I abhor those who think deporting undocumented immigrants will "Make America Great"

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Face of America to the World

When Donald Trump's face is contorted by hate and rage- which is often- that is the official face of the United States of America to the world. It is also, whether people want to admit it or not, the face of everyone who elected him and still supports him. No President in our recent history, no matter what they did with their power, has ever allowed themselves to look like that in public- not Jimmy Carter, not Ronald Reagan, not Bill Clinton, not either George Bush, not Barack Obama. In our last Presidential election, voters selected someone whose facial expressions resemble Hitler and Mussolini, or a Southern demagogue from the Jim Crow era, more than any American President. And that face will be forever be preserved in our history books as symbols of a time when America lost its bearings and embraced some of the worst impulses in its history.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Toast to the Bridge Builders Among Us

 
It's been a brutal week, a time when many people have lost faith in the decency of the nation they live in, or at least those leading it. It has led to disillusionment, despair and rage among many who have spent their lives working for justice.
In this difficult and challenging time, I want to raise a glass- of Jack Daniels to be specific- to everyone who has spent this week crossing barriers, building bridges, disregarding gates and creating ties of community with people who differ from them in race, religion, nationality or economic status. In particular, I want to toast my students at Fordham, who were incredible hosts to two student groups from the Bronx, one from PS 140, one from CASA Middle School, as well as the teachers and principals who arranged for their visit. You showed Fordham, the Bronx and the nation what real unity is about and set an example that all of us need to follow.
Salud!
Peace!!
To A Better Future!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What Many Trump Supporters Are Thnking and Not Always Saying

What Many Trump Supporters Are Thinking And Not Always Saying
"Get real liberals! As long as you keep attacking Columbus Day and tearing down Confederate statues; desecrating the flag and the anthem; attacking our police and ruining The NFL, and denouncing everyone who disagrees with you as “racists,” we are going to keep electing assholes tough enough to keep you in your place- which is down, out and on the defensive. This is war and Trump is our warrior. If he wasn’t cruel ruthless and crazy, we wouldn’t have elected him. And yes, liberals, we are making war on you!"
This is so realistic that some of you are worried that I am a secret Trump supporter, right? Don’t worry, this is me summarizing the arguments in the hate mail I get as well as what I overhear in random conversations
When Trump goes there will be others to take his place. Trump MARKETED white rage, he didn’t invent it.
This war for the soul of our country -and yes, it is war- won’t be ending any time soon

Monday, October 9, 2017

The President and Race


The President is someone born to a wealthy family, privileged even by white standards, the recipient of the kind of “ affirmative action for the rich” at top colleges that dwarfs admissions advantages given to Blacks or Latinos. It is utterly astonishing to watch him try to intimidate Black players in the NFL who not only have both the lived experience and historic memory of multiple forms of discrimination, but who for the most part grew up in far harsher circumstances than the President did. That he is doing this for temporary political gain makes it all the more reprehensible. His actions will be seared into the memory of this generation of African Americans and of all people who care about Racial Justice. Mr Trump will not be treated kindly by historians of the future; his racially provocative actions assure that result. We are living through a shameful period in US History.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Wake Up Call


The way I see it, Donald Trump is boxing a lot of good people into a corner where they find themselves defending things in their heart of hearts they know is wrong. It is very sad to see this. Because it not only divides friends and family members, it leads the nation down a moral precipice where unacceptable behavior becomes normalized.
I have tried to convince people that they had to stop this juggernaut of racialized nationalism before it swallowed them up and took them to places they really didn't want to go, but few listened
I just don't have time for those conversations any more. I am just going to say what I have to say and do what I have to do and let others figure things out for themselves.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Children Are Listening: Boy Culture in the Era of a Boy President by CarolynJohnson Ed.D.


 

This analysis is more anecdotal than scientific, but as an educator and mother of teens, I am concerned about the deteriorating boy culture I see in the New York/New Jersey suburbs. The Don Draper “Mad Men” vision of manhood my teen students, daughters and neighbors have shared with me is no longer a passing phase, but has taken root and is flourishing in our current climate. It is no longer entertaining.

 

In​ the two-year election campaign cycle, and in the wake of the election, many middle and high school aged girls who dared sport Hillary pins or SWAG, or voice divergent opinions in class or online, were publicly ridiculed by loud individuals or mobs of pro-Trump boys.

 

This taunting and teasing has been relentless and exhausting: it sucks the life, enthusiasm and creativity from hearers. ​I know a self-possessed young woman who gave up a beloved extra-curricular activity in her last year of high school because of the harassing taunts of a few boys about her support of Hillary and feminist issues. Even at her progressive private high school, the Sanders and Trump supporters bullied Hillary supporters loudly, and used misogynist, foul language, e.g. “choke on a (male body part).” It is pervasive: in the classroom, lunchroom, gym, hallways, buses, social media, forced small workgroups, football games, and Main Street, boys can be seen chanting with an in-your-face loudness that diminishes anyone who disagrees and threatens their voices at a critical developmental age. These young boys march in the town parades in their “Make America Great Again” hats and sweatshirts, and are seen stealing dozens of opposing lawn signs from neighbors after school. They are emboldened daily by their role model world leader. He bullies immigrants, people of color, and women; they follow like toddlers in parallel play.

On November 9, boys chanted at Hispanic students in their school during lunch, "Trump won. You are getting deported, you are going back to Mexico." These matters are taken seriously in many well-run high schools filled with mostly well-meaning people. Yet, how do we learn to be respectful humans, citizens, friends, and partners?

This boy culture appears to be fostering a greater divide between the sexes ... a phenomenon of less dating, romance, intimacy, and love in a country where campus rape is normalized, as is racism and sexism, and other biases. I know of a brown-skinned boy who reads Breitbart, shaved his black hair, and tries to blend in with the white skinned boys at school. Otherwise he'd likely be scapegoated, or alone, which is death to a high schooler. A girl of Palestinian descent was called a terrorist as she rode the bus to school. To counter this daily onslaught of toxicity, a group of girls asked a teacher to start a club to support each other. They're looking to create a safe space for themselves and their voices. 

Politics is dividing people by gender because many girls don’t feel comfortable being with boys who are so pro-Trump and its associated “grab her by the pussy” behavior. Many boys don't seem to know how to coexist with empowered women, so they end up diminishing girls to enhance themselves and hide their own insecurities. How do feminist and other boys navigate this terrain?
I asked a few large closed Facebook groups I belong to if they noticed this trend. A teacher responded:

“Absolutely. Last year, I heard an 8th-grade boy shout at an 8th-grade girl, ‘Feminism is a cancer.’ I'd never heard any boy in my school say anything like that before, and I've been there 13 years now. I was also told by a group of girls that when they made and wore shirts that read, ‘Girl Power,’ they were mocked by some boys and called (among other things) 'feminazis.' This is an affluent, left-leaning town. Please don't use my name.”

Other women who had shared similar stories declined to comment publicly. If adult women are forced into hiding in secret Facebook groups, imagine how hard it is to speak up if you are a teen.


The media is covering this President 24/7 because he is Commander in Chief yet his behavior befits more the Spoiled Boy in Chief. The ubiquitous coverage of his every tweet and rant has made him a role model for our youth whether we like it or not. Before we disregard his behavior as the fleeting attention-grabbing antics of an entertainer as president, perhaps we should pay mind to the words of Stephen Sondheim from “Into the Woods:”

“How do you say to your child in the night?

Nothing's all black, but then nothing's all white

How do you say it will all be all right?

When you know that it might not be true? What do you do?

Careful the things you say

Children will listen

Careful the things you do

Children will see and learn

Children may not obey, but children will listen

Children will look to you for which way to turn

To learn what to be

Careful before you say, "Listen to me"

Children will listen

Careful the wish you make

Wishes are children

Careful the path they take

Wishes come true, not free

Careful the spell you cast

Not just on children

Sometimes the spell may last

Past what you can see

And turn against you” Into the Woods soundtrack

 
Carolyn Johnson Ed.D. is a graduate of Fordham University and the Founder of Not So Common Application  https://notsocommonapplication.org/

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Why Attacking the NFL and its Black Players Was Vintage Donald Trump


I don't want to be too much of an amateur psychologist, but it looks to me like what floats Donald Trump's boat the most is attacking people. He is fairly ecumenical in his choice of targets. He goes after Republicans almost as much as Democrats. He goes after the press. He goes after Hollywood and people in the arts. But what gets his "base," most excited is when he goes after people who in liberal circles were defined as off limits- Blacks, Latinos, Muslims and immigrants. His overwhelmingly white supporters LOVE IT when he throws "political correctness" to the winds and risks accusation of racism to go after Black Lives Matter protesters, Mexican immigrants, Muslim refugees using language the most people could not risk airing on their jobs
Donald Trump knows this. It is one of the main reasons he was elected President. So it is no accident in the midst of a humiliating health care defeat, and rumors of the Russian influence investigating heating up he calls Black NFL players who took a knee to protest police violence "sons of bitches" and demands that NFL owners fire them. Trump doesn't only do this because he enjoys attacking people-- which he does-- he does it to get his base all excited that they finally have someone for who speaks for THEM as President, saying things they can only say among trusted friends.
Having a President who airs the subaltern racial resentments of America's white people so openly and crudely is new for the United States- Presidents, at least since the Civil Rights movement, normally appealed to white racial resentments in veiled language.
But so effective has  Mr Trump been in  using this for political gain that I expect he will have many imitators
And those of us who are the targets of this resentment are going to have a very bumpy ride for quite some time.

You Can't Run A Country Just with "Angry White People"


Angry White People were the core group that drove Donald Trump's march to the Presidency and remain his most loyal constituency. They are the people who hail his travel ban, who support his attacks on kneeling NFL players, who echo his disparaging remarks about Puerto Rico, who want him to "Build A Wall" to keep out Mexican and Central American immigrants,
Their anger was enough to elect Donald Trump and may keep him in the White House for 8 years
However, we live in a multiracial society becoming more multiracial everyday, There is no major institution I know of in this country that can run effectively using only the labor and skill of Angry White People and that includes
Our Military
Our Schools
Our Law Enforcement Agencies
Our Farms.
Our Hospitals and Nursing Homes
Our Factories
Our transportation system including our buses, trucks, subways and taxis
The people building and maintaining our infrastructure
The NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer
and Big Time College Sports..
If you got rid of all the people Angry White People are mad at- Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, Undocumented Immigrants, many of these institutions would grind to a halt
The only major institution I know of that would not skip a beat if everyone but Angry White People left would be NASCAR. And you don't have to worry about anyone "Taking a Knee" there
The rest of the country would be crippled by racial and political conflict if people spoke and acted like Donald at their workplace.
That's where we may be heading if this keeps up....

Monday, September 25, 2017

NFL Players The Nation's Least Pampered Millionaires

When people mock NFL protesters as pampered multi-millionaires, they forget that among the many multi-millionaires in this country, NFL players  are the only ones:
1. Who grew up in poor and working class families and got into the ranks of the wealthy through hard work and sacrifice, unlike the vast majority of multi millionaires- like Donald Trump- who grew up in wealthy families and benefited from class privilege and "affirmative action for the rich," the major form of affirmative action in the nation's top colleges
2. Who sacrifice years off their life, and their future health, by playing a dangerous game that crushes their bodies and damages their minds.
NFL players are acutely aware of where they came from and the fragility of their health and economic status, which makes their protests all the more risky and meaningful

Why This White Man Takes A Knee

 
Black people have been in this country since its creation. They have been enslaved, sold, whipped, beaten, raped, Jim Crowed, lynched, segregated, deprived of every civil liberty this country prizes, stripped of wealth and property when they acquired it, and finally when, through years of struggle, they achieved full civil and political rights, found themselves facing a criminal justice system that weighs on them far more heavily on them than it does on most other Americans. Given what Black people have gone through, and are still going through to get where they are now, it is astonishing to watch the President of the United States think he can intimidate Black men and women, in the NFL or anywhere else, who are standing up, or kneeling, for their rights
. This white man, who has studied US history  for fifty years, and who has grand children who are Black and Latino, will not let Black protesters stand alone. To quote my friend Timothy B. Tyson, another white scholar who has grappled with how racism and white supremacy have deformed the history of the United states, he will stand, or kneel with his Black sisters and brothers, as circumstances require

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review of John Gennari's "Flavor and Soul"

“With the publication of Flavor and Soul- Italian America at its African American Edge,"John Gennari has written an eloquent book about Italian Americans and race that carves out new space in our increasingly polarized national debate about whiteness and racial identity. Gennari, like me, is a white race scholar who is  frustrated by a reductionist  discourse on white privilege that erases class differences and history,  while being appalled by the re-emergence of racism and xenophobia as a force in national elections. His deeply personal, and evocative portrait of spaces where Black and Italian American culture and style intersect does two important things: it complicates the national discourse on whiteness, and gives Italian Americans a way of affirming their love for their culture in ways that link them to African Americans rather than separate them. It is a powerful work of healing and imaginative reconciliation that is even more important now than it was when it was first published, especially in the light of the orgy of ethnic stereotyping that followed the  appointment of Anthony Scaramucci to a position in the Trump White House. Gennari, writing about things that most of us hold dear, music, food, film, and sports, rescues Italian Americans from the box many Americans have placed them in (and some Italian Americans have placed themselves)  to point the way for people to cross racial boundaries in a spirit of joy and mutual discovery.”

Look for my review of Flavor and Soul in a forthcoming issue of the Italian American Review—here’s a link to the journal: http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/calandra/publications/publications
Excerpted by permission of the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, City University of New York.
The book is available now from all booksellers. Here’s a link to it at the publisher, the University of Chicago Press: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/F/bo25094688.html