I was in India, travelling all over the country. We were digging wells, riding elephants, studying Buddhism. Inside the rickety old bus, with ripped leather seats, no air conditioning, and red and yellow cloth curtains, I sat with our Indian guide, Shantum.
I offered Shantum a piece of spearmint gum. He said thank you immediately, took it, carefully opening the silver wrapper like Charlie Bucket opening a Wonka bar. Then, he put the gum in his mouth and chewed slowly, savoring the flavor within.
We started speaking about many things — arranged marriage, the caste system, why Buddha is always incarnated as a man — when I noticed a slight grimace on his face. …
“Can I call you ‘sis’?” I asked.
My friend laughed, smiled. “Oh, hell no.”
A white woman calling a black woman “sis” is out of bounds.
I admit, I was hurt. Surely, she knows how much I love her? She knows how angry and disappointed I have been with white women playing it safe and staying silent because they can.
But she was telling me that, no matter how “woke” or evolved I may think I am, I walk this world as a white woman, which means I’ll never truly understand what it is to walk this world as a black woman. …
Dear Ms. Nicole Hockley,
I have read your open letter to me dated November 15, 2017 regarding gun violence. I wanted to respond sooner, and I tried to do so on December 14th, the 5 year anniversary of the death of your son, Dylan, at Sandy Hook Elementary, but found myself at a loss for words. So perhaps it is fitting that I write to you now, while you and your family are here in Washington, DC for “March for Our Lives,” in support of the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Please let me first offer my deepest sympathies for your loss. President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: “There is no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.” I agree with that sentiment. Life’s natural order is for children to bury their parents. Only in times of war should a mother ever bury her child first. Dylan was in first grade. He was not a soldier. But he was a casualty in a war on our own soil. …
Winner of Sport’s Illustrated’s Best of Journalism 2017
It starts somewhere. It starts in the home. I know what a mass shooter can look like.
First time I saw him, I was 13. The sun wasn’t even up yet and I was wearing my track uniform. I poured myself a bowl of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, turned and there he was, sitting at the round pale-blue Formica table reading the newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee.
He was a large man. Wavy hair and beard intertwined with strands of black and white. Blue-blue eyes. A department store Santa. He smiled at me. Introduced himself. I was late for practice. …
“Don’t worry, pretty lady. I’ll make sure to use a good, strong lock to keep the niggers out.”
He smiled. I blinked. Fifteen years ago, I was moving into my third-floor condo in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. I’d hired a neighborhood locksmith to re-key the locks. The place was the size of a postage stamp but it was all mine and it had an extraordinary view. Below me was a lush courtyard where weddings took place. …
In every interview, I’m asked: “What’s it like being a female screenwriter in Hollywood?” I always smile and laugh. Then I answer, “Gosh, it’s just great. See, I was a waitress from a small town who had big dreams and…”
I created the TV series “Army Wives” because I wanted to tell a different story — not one of the heroic soldiers and their extraordinary sacrifices on the battlefield. Those brave stories were already being told. I wanted to shine a light on the people standing just off-screen, the women and children left behind in the shadows.
In one episode, there was a moment when a young Army wife realized how much she had changed once she had become a mother. Her partying “all about me” single life was over. No longer was every decision she made about her and what she wanted — but it was about what was best for her son. …