They just don’t want students to engage with the concept of racism

I was probably never more militant than I was in the years when Afrocentricity was the new hotness. The early 1990s were a great time to come into one’s Black intellectualism. I’ve written about this period of time before, so I won’t belabor the point here, but it’s illustrative to present my interpretation of the philosophy from a previous essay:

[Afrocentricity] was not a religion or a political party or a nutritional regimen. It was a way to reevaluate history and the world… Afrocentricity was like learning a martial art, teaching its adherents how to redirect the colonizing flow of…


America made the end of slavery a federal holiday and all I got was this lousy T-shirt

Photo: Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images

In the midst of worldwide protests last year, Juneteenth had its great coming-out party. As much of White America scrambled to not be the bad guy, the holiday commemorating the last vestiges of legalized slavery came right on time. At the height of protest season, here was an opportunity that seemed primed to absolve America of a piece of its slavery-addled past by embracing the true and final date of full emancipation. News stories gave remedial history lessons in advance of the June 19 celebration, and makeshift festivals sprung up despite having to make numerous pandemic concessions. …


The controversy surrounding ‘Kim’s Convenience’ highlights a sad truth about diversity

Photo: CBC

When the Canadian television series Kim’s Convenience arrived on Netflix in the summer of 2018, I was instantly smitten. It wasn’t the funniest show I’d ever seen, or slickly produced in any way, but it had loads of charm. The largely self-inflicted pratfalls of the titular Kim family marked the first time I could recall seeing a Korean family starring in a sitcom, which also went a long way for me.

The whole affair seemed progressive, even though some of the humor did not. What can I say, I grew up in the 1970s with Fred Sanford and Archie Bunker…


The new Netflix series ‘High On The Hog’ gives soul food its proper praise and exploration

Photo: Nappy.co

Several years ago, my mother crafted handmade family cookbooks for each of her sons as Christmas presents. The base of the gift was a red Campbell’s recipe book built like a photo album. She gutted its stock recipes and replaced them with typed and clean pages of her own gastronomic roadmaps.

More importantly (at least to the son who writes more than he cooks), the book leads with a compendium of photos, family history notes, and recollections from family dinners of the past. The origins of key traditions that had been taken for granted for years were explained, and anecdotes…


There’s a difference between being practical and killing dreams

Photo: Getty Images

My father gave me two pieces of advice when I was very young. First, never dig a pile of dirt from the middle. (Shovel at the bottom, so the dirt falls into the blade.) And second, always live in a ranch-style home. (So you can still get around all of it when you’re old).

I was not raised by my father. My parents divorced when I was an infant, leaving my mother to raise four sons by herself. That’s why his advice didn’t involve anything time-consuming or with multiple steps, like how to shave or barbecue ribs. What I gleaned…


It’s becoming increasingly difficult to validate your existence

Photo Illustration: Save As / Medium. Source: Getty Images.

Dear So-Called Good Cop,

I write this to you in the spirit of a shrug. Not a dismissive, Kanye-West-snatching-Taylor-Swift’s-moment shrug, but a shrug of resignation. It is an if-we-must shrug. You are, of course, under no obligation to read this missive, but I can no longer labor under the banner of productive activism if I do not write it. Your name gets brought up a lot though; I think we can both agree it’s not as much as it used to.

I want to make clear at the outset that this is not an olive branch. I’m not here on…


Photo: Lawrence Sumulong via Getty Images

One year after Floyd’s murder, we’re still awaiting actual justice and reform

As we near the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death and the worldwide social actions that occurred in response to it, reflections have begun to appear and others are sure to follow. Articles like these seek to measure how much has changed. The majority of them will have to admit that almost nothing has. To acknowledge that sad reality is the honest response, and it dishonors such a profound death to pretend otherwise.

What has changed in a year?

Both the size and the global proliferation of protests following Floyd’s death prove that awareness of the Black struggle has changed…


Four words: Acceptable rate of loss

Photo: Getty Images

With more states removing mask mandates and other Covid-19 restrictions in coming weeks, I’ve suddenly found myself in a number of discussions about next steps: How swiftly should schools open? For small business, is this good news or a death sentence? Will live music return with the numbers it needs to staunch the bleeding of closing venues? How can we ever know who in the room is actually vaccinated?

But none of that is what I want to talk about. …


This is not a vacation day. This is sick time.

When the police killing of a Black person makes the news, I call off work the next day.

It’s not anything I announce or work out with my boss. I don’t go on social media and put my foot down. I simply commit to watching as much verifiable news about the story as I can stomach, go to bed, and when my alarm goes off the next morning, I call or email to say I won’t be working. That’s the rule.

It doesn’t matter where the Black person was killed. It doesn’t matter if the officer’s body cam was working…


An underwear shot revealing a little bit of a gut isn’t exactly the bravery we’re looking for

Source: Will Smith / Instagram

Let’s get one thing clear right away: Will Smith isn’t fat.

Smith recently posted a couple of pics of himself on social media with no shirt on, exposing his lack of six-pack abs. It’s probably the first time he hasn’t had visible abs since the mid-90s when he made his sex symbol debut as the trigger-happy cop Mike Lowrey in Bad Boys. It appears that Smith, like millions of other people the world over, added on a few pounds during the pandemic, and I’m almost spot-on with the amount. But by the time you read this, he will have likely…

Scott Woods

Writer and poet holding down Columbus, Ohio

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