I heard you interviewed with Hamish Mackenzie on The Active Voice. I was so intrigued, and a little intimidated. I've just started my own Substack which is much lighter than yours ... I'm not a member of an academic elite think tank nor can I be considered an expert on anything. I am, however, a white woman, a writer a teacher, a wife and a mom. That's the extent of my credentials.

When my son was in 7th grade playing travel baseball, he had a teammate named Jarcques. Jarcques was 13 at the time. We quickly pieced together that there were days - weeks over the summer - that he was at home alone with only his younger brother. They fed themselves, looked out for each other, survived together. Their mom was gone for days on end. Dad in prison. Sister already a victim of the streets. By the summer's end, I collected him from a street corner with a bag of things and brought him home to live with us. My son and husband were in Canada at that time and I had no way to reach them. When they crossed the border, they had a text from me that simply said, "Jarcques is now living with us. Safe travels home."

The sacrifices we asked of our children were immense and always silently born as they were/are the "lucky" ones in this scenario. The white children with beds and a kitchen full of food.

The school system that turned a blind eye and allowed him into school, onto teams, into academic programs was instrumental in helping us, help him. Jarcques lived with us from 8th grade through high school and then a couple of years beyond. He was a two sport varsity athlete. We took him to as many places as we could without a passport. He was loved. He was well cared for. He was a part of our family. Upon graduation he was offered a football scholarship to a small NAIA school. He lasted one semester. He decided to trade in his cleats and focus on his studies and girlfriend - at a different university. But he was still moving forward. He came home to us in the summer and for holidays.

And then. Bit by bit. He drifted away. He began to spiral. Covid came. His dad was released from prison and down down down he fell. An "uncle" was murdered in a gang related activity. Jarcques was called to action. And we never saw him again. Any of us. He, at times, will reach out to my daughter with whom he has always held a protective bond, but he separated entirely from my son, his best friend, and me and my husband.

He had a baby girl. And she prompted him to finally free himself of his family's pull. He did for a bit. But then got a DUI. House Arrest. And then, this fall, he was arrested on weapons charges and intent to sell drugs alongside the gang members he had once tried to break away from.

We lived in Tennessee at the time (he still does). Our children accepted him into our home without question. They shared their friends, their bathroom, their parents, their Playstation - everything with him. But there were people in our town who would not allow their daughter to spend the night because Jarcques was down the hall.

At graduation, his mom looked at me and said, "thanks." Thanks. As if I'd driven a carpool rather than raise her child.

All told, he was in our lives for 7.5 years. I feel like he is my son. In my heart I feel that way. But, of course, I'm not. I know - and always knew - that I couldn't replace his own mother. I didn't intend to - but I also didn't think it would be so easy for him to turn his back on all that he knew of life in our family and return to the shattered family that bore him. As I write this, Jarcques is out on bail awaiting trial. His dad is awaiting trial for 2 murders - gang related. His baby girl is living with her mom in Kentucky.

I would love to talk about this with you. I try to write about it. But it is incredibly difficult to articulate everything that I feel and know. Primarily, because there is so much I cannot possibly understand. What is the pull of his dad? A person who is a murderer and active gang member.

What is the pull of his mom? A person who handed him to me for 7.5 years.

Why is the cycle of poverty so pervasive? How can it be broken?

(I don't assume that you fully know just because you're black, any more than I understand the Jan. 6 mob, just because I'm white. I'd just simply like to talk.)

How do I, as a white person, begin to understand it? Because I want to. I need to. I lay my head down at night and pray that he is safe. Just like I do for my own.

While there are brilliant minds debating race and equity and power and social justice or the lack thereof...there are people like me, regular every day people, just Big Ten educated people who are trying to come to terms with race today. It's so incredibly layered and complex and real.

What we did, I'd do again. But it was really fucking hard.

I'd like to say I'm not hurt but I'm human. I'm very hurt. And I'm a little mad. I have so many questions...but at the end of the day, when I'm being most honest, I just want to know why he turned his back on us and returned to the streets. And I just want to understand it better.

I firmly believe that humans are humans first and foremost and that as humans we have innumerably more things in common than those we do not. But.

It's always about the but.


I'd love to talk about the But.

Did I face antirascist fervor because of what we did? Yes. But as good southerners, they didn't say it to my face. However, there's no way to bring a black boy from the ghetto into a white middle class neighborhood without shit. From everyone. White, black, and everyone else.

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“Shit” , I imagine them saying, “where are the jolly rules now?”

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I can understand the hysterical anger of people of colour. It must be like being locked up with people out of their minds on some officially prescribed drug.

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I am watching Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner on the TV. The lack of any socio -political context, then in the context of the Freedom Democrats and the BPP, now in the context of televised police murders and the horrifying scenes of deindustrialisation, servile impoverishment, tent cities, unobtainable medical treatment, endless war and war shortages and NO ( unlike then) conscious resistance in either the black or white communities, so illustrates the American genius for the writing of the rhetoric of parallel universes that I am staggered endlessly as in a recurring nightmare. America is a nightmare, it sits on a dung heap/opium dream scratching itself with notions of “race”.

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We have the opposite problem. Our leaders are literally dictated to over the phone by the US state department. We had our day in the sun, our social democracy, under Whitlam; there was very little resistance to the widespread social reforms, including the reforms to immigration and indigenous affairs, precisely because the reforms were so wide ranging. Racism is a narrow, resentful thing, a squabbling over crumbs. The answer to the oppression of a minority is the freedom of everyone. We understand that even fifty years later, which is why we resent you, the US elites...for your bizarre imperial reaction.

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The white and black sections of the US working class grasp the historical realities of the ideological category race. What they need to grasp is the material basis of social justice, which has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone’s “desserts” and a lot to do with the terrorisation of any genuine labor activists trying to bring together white and black workers. With the smashing up of the US labor movement this hasn’t changed-it merely takes on this ridiculous middle class form that we see debated here. Genuine black activists get this. Idiots will never get it.

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The one kind of segregation that the US establishment will honour to the end of days is the political segregation of US workers. Stop falling for it.

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“White fragility” is just a variation on that well known Right Wing trope “resilience”. Its intention is the same whether you are white or black, to shut down dialogue and to shut you up.

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Perhaps the question is: How can you tell someone they’re not a victim? (Credit to Ashe Short, nee Schow for being the first to phrase person I read asking this explicitly, in the context of Title IX issues). It is now socially normative that any sort of claim of victimhood ends the conversation. That is unworkable. So what new norm can there be? How can a culture that is respectful and does acknowledge genuine hardship establish some norms around how to shut down the disingenuous whiners??

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When the subjective becomes the objective and my truth becomes the truth, when reality is fully unhinged from language, words and sentences we struggle with to touch what is really real, our world becomes a fantasy where cruelty is kindness and kindness cruelty. DiAngelo's truth is not true; it is cruelty in the finest silk of the naked Emperor. DiAngelo's work is naked and ugly and we must never stop saying so, never. Make lying wrong again.

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The thing is, the young actors breaking down and sobbing over how traumatizing it was to be in a room with white people surely knew at one level that they were perfectly safe. People who may actually be in danger can't afford that kind of meltdown; they have to maintain their dignity, their privacy and their vigilance. White people who mean well doubtless have their own irritating habits and unexpected volatilities, but they're not out to cheat and humiliate and endanger black people as a matter of cultural policy (think the Jim Crow South, where that kind of thing was practically a sport).

No doubt social media exacerbates the tendency toward hypersensitivity and emotional manipulation (for young persons regardless of race), but the phenomenon predates social media - the little girls in 17th-century Salem knew all about it. It's the same kind of contagious and escalating hysteria, and the same kind of . . . not being quite at the point of knowing other people are real. (Some activists, even as adults, never quite get to that point with people they think of as the enemy.) As I remember from my own excursions into radical feminist activism, you don't quite even know your own side is real - not one by one in the fully individuated sense - you're just trying to appear adequately enlightened in the eyes of the group, and you do things you wouldn't do if you were alone.

Maybe what everybody in the situation needed to do was to admit they were nervous about each other, and go on working together until they weren't.

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Anti racism is nothing more than a temper tantrum among leftists who feel guilty about their success and want to make everyone feel as miserable and worthless as they are. The left is a cultural cancer that needs to be extirpated from the body politic.

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The desire for connection with one’s [even undeserving] kin (sometimes expressed in horribly disordered ways) is one of the things that makes us human. And even though the pull isn’t there for everyone, it’s strong for many of us, and maybe most.… I love this!!! And I get it. Truly. I’m so sorry for what you experienced. Thank you. I appreciate you.

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Thank you very much for bringing Jim on. I feel like my suspicions about wokeness in the theater have been confirmed by the overwhelming high number of "woke" theater and movies here in Chicago (which has the 2nd largest production of theater next to NY). 80% of the Goodman theater productions are about wokeness and/or white oppression. Steppenwolf about 50%. The smaller venues have either gone under or have gone super-woke as well. I enjoy going to the theater because it used to be an escape from reality not an enhancement of it.

On a positive note, I did see Good Night, Oscar with Sean Hayes. It was amazing and will do well in New York!

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Here are the courses available for employees of the City of Los Angeles:

Diversity Made Simple - Government Version

Diversity Made Simple for Managers

Understanding and Tackling Gender Bias at Work

Tackling Race Bias at Work: Managers' Guide

Respect Gender & Sexual Differences & Assert Yourself

Additional Options:

Equality & Diversity

Diversity Made Simple for Managers

Understanding gender bias: micro-course

Understanding Race Bias: Micro-course

Diversity in the Workplace... for Employees

Diversity in the Workplace... for Managers and Supervisors

Diversity Made Simple

Bystander Intervention

Navigate & Respect Age, Ethnic & Racial Differences

Navigate Diversity

Blind Spots in Business: Diversity and Ethics

Introduction to Equality Impact Assessments

EEO Made Simple

Working with the Equality Act: micro-course

Getting Real About Workplace Violence

Age Harassment and Discrimination in the Workplace

Tackling banter at work: micro-course

Awkward at the Office - California Law (AB 1825) - Employee Edition & MORE!

We also have a new Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department with discrimination enforcement services to investigate claims of discrimination within the private sector.

"Any person who willfully resists, obstructs, or interferes with the enforcement authority of this Department, or the Hearing Officer in the performance of any duty under this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 and by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than six months."

I just don't know where this is all headed.

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Seamus Heaney's THE CURE AT TROY: A VERSION OF SOPHOCLES' PHILOCTETES (1990) is a play for our times too. Written to address one of the legacies of the Irish Troubles, 'a sense that the pride in the wound is greater than the desire for the cure', it contains these devastating bits:


People so deep into

Their own self-pity, self-pity buoys them up.

People so staunch and true, they're fixated,

Shining with self-regard like polished stones.

And their whole life spent admiring themselves

For their own long-suffering.

Licking their wounds

And flashing them around like decorations.

I hate it, I always hated it, and I am

A part of it myself.


Your wound is what you feed on, Philoctetes.


Stop just licking your wounds. Start seeing things.

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