Photo credit: Element5 Digital

Rosa Parks never condemned the violence of riots and rebellions.

We remember Parks as the mother of the movement known for “turning the other cheek.” But we may not know she refused to denounce the people who broke glass and set buildings on fire in Detroit in 1967, though white journalists repeatedly tried to get her to do so. Parks mourned the reality that those fires harmed Black neighborhoods more than they succeeded in reigning in white violence. But she remained steadfast in her belief that if white supremacy’s chokehold was so tight fires were all a community had, then…


The issue isn’t whether this local mini-celebrity should be canceled. It’s that white Iowans refuse to treat racism as an actual problem.

Credit: Matthew Holst/Getty Images

When I was in eighth grade, a friend of mine dared me to walk into a Walgreens and steal something. My friend said she did it all the time. Now it was my turn. After strolling the aisles, I slipped a container of honey-roasted peanuts under my sweatshirt and walked out the door. It was stupid, I know.

I didn’t get caught and for the longest time I didn’t tell anyone about it — except my friend, of course. In fact, my family is only learning about this incident now as they read this. (Sorry, Mom.) So yes, I’ll take…


Once again our nation grieves mass shootings perpetrated by young white men. In our horror we desperately try to understand. Yes, it’s because of too many guns. Yes, it’s because of the violence the president emboldens with his racist rhetoric. Yes, it’s because of a culture of toxic masculinity. But these are not the only reasons.

It’s also because of what’s happening in the homes of white families. More accurately, it’s what’s not happening in our homes.

Most white American parents want to believe that white youth who spew and act on racist hate are the product of a few…


It’s so easy to point fingers.

And in this case, despite what many media outlets are trying to tell us a week out from that Lincoln Memorial encounter, we should be pointing. It’s right to publicly repudiate that smirking, sneering white face peeking out from under a red cap, planted inches from wisdom being manifest by and through Mr. Nathan Phillips. It’s right to denounce the mocking mimicry of Native dance being performed by white bodies surrounding Phillips and Nick Sandmann; the sarcastic comments you can hear on any of the videos — “dude, what’s going on???”’ …


On the way out the door to school, the day before yesterday, my almost 8-year-old asked me the question. “Mama, is Christmas Light real?”

Christmas Light is our family’s elf.

Now before you start judging, let me nuance this a little bit. Christmas Light is not an Elf on the Shelf.

First of all, she looks nothing like the Elf. Christmas Light is stuffed, soft and has a floppy body. She looks more like Doc McStuffins wearing a cozy Santa suit than an impish, stiff-backed white guy with big eyes that follow you around a room while he smirks.

Second…


In December of 2015, my beloved dog — a 75-pound rescue husky mix, Huck — died unexpectedly and tragically. He wasn’t even three years old. It was the week before Christmas.

To appreciate how shattering this was you need to know we’re a dog family. Our dogs are the center around which family life orbits. My partner and I actually met in a dog park (best lesbian cliché love story ever). Long walks with happy canines bounding across the landscape have defined our 15-years since. We train our dogs. Play with them. We even let them sleep on our bed…


It’s not going to be easy, but we don’t have a choice

Photo: Luis Diaz Devesa/Moment Open/Getty Images

Amidst the many perils of this political moment, it’s the racial divide between women of color and white women that keeps me up at night. A math analogy comes to mind.

Let’s imagine women of color are experts in calculus. They do calculus every single day. They’re brilliant at it because they’ve been mastering it forever. They’ve always made sure to teach calculus to the next generation, too. It’s not that women of color love calculus itself. They’ve learned it—and taught it—because they love themselves and their communities, and their lives literally depend on knowing calculus inside out.

White women…


Photo credit Siarhei Plashchynski

My young nephew, who is Black**, was playing with a group of children a couple years ago when one of the white kids in the group pointed at him and said, “Your skin’s the same color as poop!” Another kid stepped in. “Hey! That’s racist!” this second white kid responded to the first. And again, “Hey! That’s racist!”

When I share stories like this, I’m increasingly noticing white people express concern that this is “white savior” behavior. “Should that second white kid have stepped in like that?” they ask. “Shouldn’t he have waited for your nephew to respond first?” …


White nationalism is on the loose. Those us who are white have to do more than merely watch in horror if we want history to remember us among those who stood up, showed up, and spoke and acted out.

But so much about our political crisis has exposed how little we’ve understood about so many things. However all this turn outs, it couldn’t be more clear that we must deepen our collective white understanding not only about race and white supremacy, but about white identity and white socialization

Actually, it should be said. Whether or not we choose to deepen…

Jennifer Harvey

Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America author. Educator & activist committed to our collective anti-racist practice. @drjenharvey

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