Photo credit Max Wakefield

In almost every conversation I have these days, especially with white friends and family, I hear some version of the same question. Sometimes it’s earnest curiosity. More often it’s rhetorical.

The question is Why? Why do they still support him? Why don’t they see how stupid/venal/clownish/evil he is? Why doesn’t anything he says or does, no matter how incompetent or clownish, seem to affect his popularity. Why don’t the brilliant memes we post on social media, exposing his hypocrisy and stupidity, wake people up?

These questions didn’t begin with the pandemic, of course, or the impeachment, or the Russia probe…

Why White Conservatives Don’t Get Black Lives Matter and How to Shift the Conversation

I was about to post this article on the day that Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of all charges in the killing of Philando Castille. That felt like the absolutely wrong moment to share a piece about how to talk across the ideological divide that separates Black Lives Matter from its detractors. It was a moment for the unrestrained expression of grief and rage. …

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” — Maya Angelou

The first #MuslimBan was an act of terrorism and so is its replacement. The words “terror” and “terrorism” are highly politicized, of course. Official definitions, which function as part of a legal framework, naturally exempt state actors, since they are proffered by governments concerned with how to deal with non-state actors. Some dictionaries follow this practice, uncritically. However, limiting the definition of terrorism to “unlawful” acts by non-state actors is arbitrary. Like murder or theft, terrorism is a social act, and its meaning cannot depend on who the perpetrator is. State-sanctioned terrorism has the same motivations and the same consequences…

How the Myth of Post-Racial America Enabled White Supremacy to Make a Comeback

“We have made progress in everything, yet nothing has changed” — Derrick Bell

Only eight short years ago, the United States elected its first Black president, and lo, the end of racism was heralded across the land. Commentators of all political stripes breathlessly reported the redemptive significance of Obama’s ascendance; the US had finally, once and for all, transcended its ugly racist past. Eight years later, that apple has certainly lost its luster. The deep and broad racial divisions revealed by the Obama presidency have thoroughly spoiled our post-racial happy ending. Thanks a lot Tea Party!

It is easy to…

As we endure this excruciating election cycle, in which the most vile and regressive impulses in our culture have found a champion, it is harder than ever to imagine constructive dialogue across partisan and ideological lines. Naturally, those of us who long for such dialogue are always on the lookout for insights and practical tools. But we need to be vigilant. It is far too easy, especially on social media, to be seduced by the comforting notion that our ideological opponents are simply irrational or ignorant.

I rarely take those online personality tests where you answer a bunch of odd…

Gregory Mengel

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store