White blindness

Books and blogs to learn more about our racial divide

Philando Castile’s death two weeks ago forced me to see how little I knew.

I was blind. White blind. I was ignorant about the racial divides, the racism, where I live. I thought the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Samuel Dubose, and Alton Sterling were tragedies that happened somewhere else. Not here.

Now I know. We are Ferguson and Cleveland and Baltimore and Baton Rouge. We are a place where a cop can fatally shoot a black man because he is black. I don’t want another Philando Castile to die because people like me are white blind.

So here’s what I’m reading and following, to see what I should have known years ago:

A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, Sun Yung Shin, ed.

Showing Up for Racial Justice Minnesota

Continue reading “White blindness”

Too much violence

We’ve seen too much violence.

We’ve seen violence against cops— twenty officers hurt during Saturday’s Interstate 94 protest; twelve officers shot in Dallas on Friday, including five killed.

We’ve seen violence by cops—Philando Castile killed on Wednesday in Falcon Heights, and Alton Sterling killed last Tuesday in Baton Rouge.

We’ve seen violence against gays—forty-nine people killed and 53 injured in Orlando in June.

We’ve seen too much violence. Too much hate. Too much fear. Too many guns.

Not enough peace.

Some have compared this bloody year with 1968, when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were killed. Continue reading “Too much violence”

From Saint Paul to Istanbul

Saint Paul is 4,607 miles from Istanbul, but this week’s terrorism seemed a heartbeat away.

My 22-year-old son landed at Ataturk Airport on Monday, a day before the carnage. Three terrorists. 41 dead. More than 200 injured. The news stories seemed painfully real. I ache for the families of the victims, who were just people going places, people on trips, going to work, just living. Until Tuesday.

I’m grateful my son was miles away from the airport when the bullets and bombs exploded. Still, I’m rattled. When bad things happen close to the people we love, we see how small the world is, no matter how many miles separate us.

Part of me wishes my son had stayed here, in not-so-dramatic Saint Paul. Another part is proud he is far away, exploring the world.The more we travel, seeing different places, people, and ways of living, the better our chances of understanding the world.

So I say, go travel, see the world, go, in peace.



Goodbye old green

I gave away my car this morning. The old green machine, which I’d never bothered to name, still ran, but its 23-year-old motor was wearing out. Mechanics warned me the car was dying.

That’ll happen after 214,176 miles. Leo jokes that my mileage almost equals the distance to the moon. The 1993 Honda Accord never did any epic to-the-moon, or even to-the-coast voyages, but it traveled to plenty of Minnesota parks and hauled garage sale treasures and endless trunk loads of mulch.

I donated it Minnesota Public Radio through the Car Talk Vehicle Donation Services. I guess it’ll be recycled for scrap metal.  I’m glad the car can do one last good deed—helping my favorite station. Continue reading “Goodbye old green”

Paying my respects to the general

I finished up my run along Riverside Park in Manhattan as I had many previous runs. I went to pay my respects to the general.

No visit to the city seems complete without seeing Grant’s Tomb. Officially known as General Grant National Memorial, it’s the largest mausoleum in North America. The massive marble dome is dazzling, but I don’t go for the architecture.

grant tomb dome

I just want to be near Grant. To me, Ulysses Grant is as real as anyone else I know. He’s in my head, someone I’ve spent enough time thinking about to have earned a permanent place in my heart. Continue reading “Paying my respects to the general”