Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Brief Notes about Jim & Andy

I don't think Jim & Andy is a great film. I wouldn't call it must see. I do want to mention a few things that stood out to me. In talking about the early days of his career, Jim Carrey says he woke up one night with this thought: "People want to be free of concern." And when that came to him, that drove his choices about how he would act and entertain. I think that's an interesting statement and observation about people wanting to be free of concern.

Another thought: at times, Carrey rambles on with philosophical thoughts, and some of them are intriguing. A lot of what he says reminds me of the social construction of reality. He seems fascinated by the ability to blur reality. Much of the film is about how reality became confused when he "became" Andy Kaufman for the film Man on the Moon. He also reminds me of a provocateur who likes to mess with people.

It seems like a lifetime ago when he was part of In Living Color. It's interesting to see the flashback. It also seems like a lifetime ago when he appeared on The Arsenio Hall show. They show a clip when an apparently drunken Carrey takes a feeble swipe in Arsenio Hall's direction, and calls him a "black bastard." It's disturbing. Arsenio handled the moment professionally, apologizing to the audience and quickly deciding to go to break. As said in this Consequence of Sound review, "some of this stuff makes him look mean, or like a failure of performative acting." That's understating the matter. Again, a provocateur comes to mind, an arrogant one, a selfish one, who will say or do anything to get a reaction. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

With Black Friday Over, Get Ready for Merry Christmas

I didn't see the usual local news stories featuring people bowling over each other in a race for flat screens and other sexy items. Nor did I read any thinkpieces proclaiming the end of humanity and sermonizing about how life is not about the accumulation of material goods. I'm sure I've done some version of this in my life, or at least inner dialogued about it. "Hey man you'll never see me elbowing out folks at 5:45 a.m. at Target," making myself feel good for a moment.

Why would we judge each other for being good consumers? We're doing what we've been trained to do. BUY. BUY NOW. And who doesn't want a good deal? No matter where you are on the income spectrum -- who wants to pay The Man more for his goods than you have to? As an upper middle class person, I have a lot of choices as to when and where I want to consume. People with fewer resources than me do not have the same amount of choices. It's misguided and cruel if I look down on folks for trying to save dollars. And people who make good money also want to save when they can. I got student loans, a mortgage, retirement to think about, maybe the kids will go to college. Fuck it, I'll take an iPad on discount.

Black Friday has become normal and now it's just another part of the calendar. It's a Consumption Holiday, followed by another Consumption Holiday. "Cyber Monday," how stupid is that, no one uses "Cyber" anymore. At least change that shit to Digital Monday.

Now that leftovers have been devoured and our Consumption Holidays nearly complete, get ready for President Trump to say MERRY CHRISTMAS and remind us over and over that we can say MERRY CHRISTMAS again. As if Bill O'Reilly's War on Christmas was actually real when in fact it's better described as Fake News. There was never a War on Christmas. It was, and remains, good manners to say Happy Holidays knowing that not everybody in the world (or your workplace, or in your peer group) is a Christian or observes Christmas. Obviously it was never either/or -- either you had to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. People said both, they'll continue to say both, it's selective observation to claim that people stopped saying Merry Christmas. It's dishonest. But honest doesn't pay the bills.

Monday, November 20, 2017

What's Left for Bills Fans Except Beer, Snark, and GIFs?

We are Deadspin famous for tailgate shenanigans.

We have a cool nickname (Bills Mafia) that the national media and NFL players will shout out on occasion.

We take pride in our toughness in cold and snow.

We are known for our chicken wings.

How the hell did we manage to lose 4 Super Bowls in a row?

Wide right, immortalized in the movie Buffalo '66. 

Each time a new coach or quarterback takes the stage, we have a glimmer of hope.

We even have billionaire owners who have invested in downtown Buffalo.

But with each glimpse of hope we are treated to a Homer Simpson like football in the groin.

We will continue to break tables and light ourselves on fire at tailgates.

We will continue to snark on social media.

We will continue to be clever with GIFs.

To quit on these Bills--ever--is not going to happen.

Drink, snark, and GIF is what we will continue to do.

Video of the Day - "Los Ageless" by St. Vincent

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Making of a Teenage Service Class (Excerpts)

I'm considering assigning The Making of a Teenage Service Class, an ethnography by Ranita Ray, for my Social Stratification class next semester. Good impression so far. Some excerpts:

"The immediate allure of low-wage work":

Thoughts on the Economy

Thursday, November 16, 2017

What Happens to All the Food on Food Network Shows (Rant)

Why do they have to make so much food on Food Network shows? Is it necessary to have full entrees in Chopped? What happens to all the food that the judges don't eat? Is it thrown away? Do employees on set eat it? There's talk on Food Network shows about respecting ingredients -- wasting food is obviously not respectful. They do support charities -- No Kid Hungry is mentioned a lot -- but how much food is wasted in all of these shows that put food at the center of contests?

Guys Grocery Games -- all the produce, all the meat, all the dairy -- I once read somewhere that some of the food from the grocery store (a set, I think, not a real grocery store, but I don't know for sure) gets donated. But again, huge plates are made in three rounds -- how much food is thrown out and never used?

I am a devoted Food Network viewer -- I like watching people cook food, I like learning a thing or two from watching the shows, I like getting ideas about what to make -- but I'm getting obsessed with food waste especially when we consider tens of millions of people in poverty in the U.S. alone who have trouble putting food on the table.

Can Food Network do Foodtainment in a way that focuses on food conservation? Or at least is honest about where the food comes from and how much of it gets tossed away in the process of making television? Can less of the shows be about games and contests, please? Or ask contestants to make small plates, damn it.

Tweet of the Day

And Durkheim screams ANOMIE from the grave.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lunch Break (Radish Endorsement Dream Edition)

If I could endorse one product, it would be radishes. Some people dream of a lucrative sneaker endorsement. Me, I want to spread love the radish way. If you know anyone in the business of advertising radishes, let them know I'm ready, willing, and able to enthusiastically do an endorsement.

Social Capital and Cultural Capital

This week in Introduction to Sociology I'm covering social class. Yesterday in class, I focused on income distribution and class identity. Tomorrow, I'll spend some time covering social capital (networking and social contacts) and cultural capital (knowledge, resources, practices). On the syllabus I have a reading from my friend Peter Kaufman in which he discusses these concepts in the context of succeeding in college. In a related reading that I'll share with my students, Karen Steinheimer talks about the significance of networking. One of my examples of cultural capital will be borrowed from Shamus Khan's Privilege, here where he talks about NASCAR to make the point that knowing a thing or two about NASCAR is not the same thing as actually fitting in at a NASCAR race. Cultural capital isn't only about knowledge, it's also about practice and "interactive capacity":

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Presentation of Soup in Everyday Life

I'm calling this Chicken Sweet Potato Corn Chowder but it's probably not thick enough to constitute a true chowder. I would have been Chopped in the first round. But even though it's not Instagram perfect it's pretty good and I'll improve it next time. The family liked it for dinner. Let's begin with some players in our lineup.

First thing I did was peel and dice the sweet potatoes, toss them in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin, and then roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile I did what I had to do with store bought rotisserie chicken. I seriously just spelled rotisserie right the first time.

Next, I threw diced onions and garlic in my soup pan and let them dance in a little bit of chicken stock. Then I added more chicken stock and threw in frozen corn. Then it was time for the sweet potatoes and chicken to join the party.

You could add hot sauce to taste and stop there if you like. That's a nice soup for ya. But here's where I slowly added evaporated milk and ended up with this:

I didn't use flour or cornstarch to thicken. I think I lost my mind when the Buffalo Bills were getting a beatdown by the New Orleans Saints.

Despite the flaws, it was tasty. I served with some small dinner rolls. I'm already looking forward to the leftover soup/almost chowder for our dinner tomorrow. When I warm it up I'll thicken it and hot sauce it up.

The American Middle Class and Class Identity

I'm prepping for my SOC 101 course tomorrow, looking at a Pew resource about the middle class in America.

In terms of who is middle income, it's determined by household income and size of household, depicted here:

The Pew report states: "The hollowing of the American middle class has proceeded steadily for more than four decades. Since 1971, each decade has ended with a smaller share of adults living in middle-income households than at the beginning of the decade, and no single decade stands out as having triggered or hastened the decline in the middle."

As Philip Cohen has observed on his Family Inequality Blog, there's been a rise in the percentage of people describing themselves as "lower class." Here he applies data from the General Social Survey, focusing on the question which asks: "If you were asked to use one of four names for your social class, which would you say you belong in: the lower class, the working class, the middle class, or the upper class?"

You can go to his post to see how he shows the decline in percentage of people describing themselves as middle-class.

He makes a good point in saying that the 2016 election heightened awareness of the "working class," a phrase often used as shorthand for "white working class." Here's my related observation: think of all the times you've heard the phrase "white working class" in the past few years. I hear it constantly. How often, if ever, have you heard the phrase "black working class" used by media in the past few years? Or "working class people of color," or something like that?

I've got a lot of prep ahead of me for class, but just wanted a share a few things I'll be using to talk with my students about income distribution and trends in how people identify their social class.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Now Reading: The Making of a Teenage Service Class

Excited about this book by Ranita Ray, a sociologist at UNLV. Just arrived in the mail today from University of California Press. I'm reviewing for possible use in my Social Stratification course next semester. I will report back.

Sociological Film Recommendation: Get Out

Have you seen Get Out, the film written and directed by Jordan Peele? Kinda blew my mind. He seemed to be playing with The Stepford Wives, felt like a Stanley Kubrick movie at times, reminded me of They Live, while all through the movie dealing with race and racism. It also had me thinking of the late Derrick Bell's work. Let me know what you think.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Immersed in Suburbia Fieldnotes (Sylvan Esso edition)

Only have a few minutes before an 8:15 a.m. meeting. Stopped at my favorite coffee shop this morning on way to work. Worker greeted me enthusiastically and with a smile. After completing the transaction, she said something like "There you go sweetie." The word "sweetie" was definitely used. That was fine with me. It was delivered so nicely. She just seemed like a genuinely positive person. I left the parking lot thinking about how some people don't like it when they are called "honey" or "sweetie" by workers. But then Sylvan Esso came on the radio and I got distracted. Sylvan Esso duo is coming to Buffalo for a show in March '18 and I think I should go. I got to hoping my wife will want to go. Here's the song. And now it's time to go to my meeting.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thinking Sociologically about Bathrooms

In my Social Psychology course this week, we spent a class session talking about bathrooms. I decided to devote a full session to it after the topic came up a few times the last time I taught the course. I remember a student making an observation about women going to the bathroom together, and one of his classmates explained that, in some cases, it's a matter of safety. There is a comfort level and enhanced feeling of safety being with friends. 

This semester, I used an article from sociologist Harvey Molotch. I love the writing. Here he is, channeling Erving Goffman:
"Our lives are ordinarily carried out through careful – indeed, exquisite – impression management. We adhere to a delicate etiquette of gesture, sound and scent, all so we can display ourselves as dignified, civilized human beings.
Enter: the toilet, which blunders in with sounds, smells and strangers. Hovering above it all is the deepest of pollutants, human waste – often in places where it’s not supposed to be."
And here he focuses on the design of so-called restrooms:
"The design of American public bathrooms can complicate the struggle for a modicum of privacy. In the US, stall enclosures typically have large bottom (and top) openings, along with peek-a-boo gaps at panel seams. The US is a distinctly open society; in virtually every country which has them, toilets have more solid enclosures, with stalls going closer to the ground and ceiling,
The US features probably arose from authorities’ concern, way back when, over what people might do if they had more privacy – specifically, drugs or sex (especially homosexual male sex). 
Either way, it’s now expected that when we sit on a public toilet, we expose our feet to the occupant next door. Among other effects, this allows those who know us to make positive and precise identifications based on shoes: another blow to anonymity. Who hasn’t experienced the dread of a boss or colleague plopping down in an adjacent stall?"
Later, he says that "gender segregation continues to deliver injustice" and asks: "Why not open it up and let all genders share the same zone?"

He says:
"It would yield a huge increase in space efficiency, while alleviating the long lines at the women’s rooms, which often occur as stalls remain empty in the men’s room. Integration might also enhance safety: more people would be on hand to act in case of emergency. Hanging a “women” sign over a door only keeps out men with good intentions. (After all, those with bad intentions won’t be impeded by a sign.)"
As you can see, the article gave us a lot to talk about. And students were interested. We had a good discussion.

I also showed them an article that imagines some possible bathroom signs of the future. The article mentions North Carolina's bathroom bill. A more recent article provides an update -- the state repealed portions of the HB2 bill, "including the requirement that trans people use the bathroom that matches their birth certificate."

All in all, I believe we had a productive class session, and plan to include this topic again the next time we teach the course.

The day after class, my family and I ate at a newly opened diner in Buffalo that has two bathrooms. Both bathrooms have the same sign. I took this picture and e-mailed it to my class to share with them an image that related to our class session. How would you analyze this sign?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Presentation of Lunch in Everyday Life (Salad Edition)

Anthropologists and sociologists find it interesting that people eat lunches from mason jars. You won't catch me eating lunch from a mason jar. My wife, on the other hand, likes the salad in a mason jar situation.

I made these salads for our lunches to start the week. Two for her, one for me. I'll be carb-loading by Tuesday so I won't need a salad by then. What we have here is a modified Greek salad: romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, turkey, and an olive oil vinaigrette.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Compliment From a Stranger

An hour ago I received a compliment at the grocery store from the person scanning my groceries. He liked my jacket. I thanked him and noted the jacket is old, around 10 years old. He asked if I get a lot of compliments on it. I said no. The person behind me (a woman) jumped in to say "Nice jacket!" As we laughed, the person behind her (a man) joined the fun and also said "Nice jacket!" It felt nice to get an unexpected compliment. A nice, simple, appropriate compliment (although, I would say, appropriate compliments are in the eye of the beholder) from a stranger is an unusual social interaction that I generally welcome.

It's interesting that the first song I heard on the ride to work this morning was "You've Got a Friend," the Carole King version. First of all, her voice is so lovely in the song. I wonder if you prefer her version or the one by James Taylor. Did you know that Carole King wrote it? I didn't recall that until googling it just now. It's from her Tapestry album in 1971. Here's Carole being awesome:

Anyhow, while driving to work the song put me in a reflective mood about friendship and I was thinking about trying to be a better friend to my friends and then the song took the turn that always catches me by surprise. You see, I don't hear the song a lot so when I do I tend to have forgotten that the song takes a cynical turn. As a Hall of Fame cynic, I like her cynical observation:

"...When people can be so cold
They'll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them, oh but don't you let them"

Damn it's true that people will take your soul if you let them. All the more reason that it helps to have a friend, as Carole suggests. And sometimes it even helps to get a compliment from a stranger.

Finally, here's the jacket:

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cardi B Should Cover This Song

I can't control the thoughts that take over my brain when I'm grading exams.

Robbie Dupree's Steal Away showed up in my brain a moment ago, so I had to listen to it on a grading break. This song beautifully masquerades as a Michael McDonald song. It's perfect pop.

It needs to be dressed up to fit into 2017. Only one popular artist can do it properly; it has to be Cardi B.

Are Chopped Episodes Filmed 8 Months Ago?

Makers of television, get at me. I figured Food Network episodes are filmed a few months in advance. I wouldn't have guessed 8 months. Check out the date on the milk carton: February 23, 2017. It's from a recent episode of Chopped ("Alton's Challenge, Part 4"). I was watching this from my DVD recordings early this morning before the fam got up. My DVD only records new episodes. Check out the green thingy that says NEW. I need the 411 on this. TV insiders, let me know!

Song of the Day - Continental Breakfast by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile

This is a nice song about friendship. "Not much very big on enemies" -- put that on my tombstone.

A good line about personal insecurity too: "I'm feelin' inferior on the interior don't ya see"

I'm a huge Courtney Barnett fan, and I dig Kurt Vile. They tour together and are playing a few places not too far from me in Buffalo. But not close enough that I can go. If you know Courtney and Kurt, can you ask them to extend the tour and play in Buffalo?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Song of the Day - "As" by Stevie Wonder

On days like this, I'm thankful for love songs. No one does it better than Stevie. "Use your heart to love somebody," he advises in the middle of this live version. A life of speaking up for love and speaking out against injustice is a life well lived. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Illiteracy in America

As part of the BBC's America First? series, there is a three minute video about illiteracy in the U.S.

Here's the link to the video (or just click here): http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-41754308/the-americans-who-can-t-read

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Racist Gesture. Racial Gesture. Racially Offensive Gesture. Racially Charged Gesture. Inappropriate Gesture. Insensitive Gesture.

In the news is Houston Astros player Yuli Gurriel for mocking Yu Darvish, a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers. You can see what he did here:

I'm interested in the terminology various media outlets have used in reporting it so far.

Deadspin is calling it a racist gesture.

A headline in the Los Angeles Times refers to it as an offensive gesture. The first sentence describes it as a racially charged gesture.

The New York Daily News used racist gesture.

Huffpost refers to Racist ‘Slant-Eye’ Gesture in a headline. A sentence in the article reads: "Cameras caught Gurriel stretching the corners of his eyes with his fingers, a racist gesture against people of Asian descent."

USA Today reports that Gurriel will serve a 5 game suspension next season for "slurring" Darvish. The first sentence calls it an inappropriate gesture.

The Associated Press headline is: "Gurriel banned 5 games in 2018 for racist gesture at Darvish"

The AP story tells it this way: "The Cuban-born Gurriel pulled on the corners of his eyes after homering off Darvish during Houston’s 5-3 win Friday night. He also used a derogatory Spanish term in reference to Darvish, who was born in Japan. “I made an offensive gesture that was indefensible,” Gurriel said in a statement released by the Astros. “I sincerely apologize to everyone that I offended with my actions. I deeply regret it. I would particularly like to apologize to Yu Darvish, a pitcher that I admire and respect. I would also like to apologize to the Dodgers organization, the Astros, Major League Baseball and to all fans across the game,” he said."

The first sentence of a New York Times story calls it a racist gesture.

Complex calls it racist gesture in a headline.

ESPN went with insensitive gesture in this report.

Newsday called it a racist gesture.

A Yahoo headline calls it a racial gesture while the first sentence calls it a racist gesture. (Writers don't always pick their own headlines.)

NESN uses racist gesture in the headline and uses "racially offensive gesture" in the story.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Gallup Poll: 64% of Americans Say Marijuana Should Be Legal

This is the question respondents were asked:
"Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?"

Options for answering were "Yes, legal," "No, illegal," and "No Opinion"
(2% answered no opinion).

They were telephone interviews.
Click here for source.

Click here to see states where marijuana is already legal in some form.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review of The Trump Show, Season 1

I haven't watched every episode of The Trump Show. One of the episodes is already a rerun, the one where Trump takes on NFL athletes and demands they stand for the anthem. Trump issuing Patriot Tests is hard to watch. Him barking at athletes (black athletes engaged in silent protest) is not something I find entertaining.

In another episode called "Chuck and Nancy," Trump is hailed as someone ready to cross party lines and do whatever he can to make a deal. This fits perfectly with the long-running narrative about Trump and the so-called art of the deal. Art of the deal me out of this storyline.

The episode called "My Generals" focuses on Trump's belief that generals belong to him and highlights the role of his chief of staff John Kelly. The episode featured Kelly's views of Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.

Indeed, many of the episodes are about feuds with the White House. The episode "Liddle' Bob Corker" examines Trump's schoolyard bullying behavior and notes the obvious irony of FLOTUS Melania Trump heading an cyberbullying initiative.

There are also episodes about Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her engagement with the media. They show this clip which is a useful illustration of how the administration lies to the public. Her dad Mike Huckabee makes a cameo and makes really bad jokes, something he is known for.

There's the inevitable "Bromance" episode centering on the relationship between Sean Hannity and Trump. Mike Pence makes a cameo and Pence and Hannity talk awkwardly about Trump's broad shouldered leadership.

A few episodes are merely footage of his rallies where Trump belittles people and yells about The Wall. It's kinda like a lot of the election coverage we suffered through.

In an episode called “Trump Voters,” they talk mostly to white older men who voted for Trump and why they tend to like Trump, no matter what. 17 out of 20 people who were interviewed said Trump should stop tweeting. I wish they had included white older men who didn’t vote for Trump because they exist too.

There's an episode called "Moderating Influences" and thankfully one of my kids deleted it from our DVR recordings before I could watch it. It's probably about Jared and Ivanka and I doubt it was worth watching anyway.

I'll check in on future episodes but it's definitely not appointment TV.

Song of the Day - Don't Wake Daddy by The Tragically Hip

Sled dogs after dinner
Close their eyes on the howlin' wastes
Kurt Cobain, reincarnated, sighs and licks his face...

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Not Knowing What Our Students Don't Know

I was sitting in my office yesterday morning during office hours when I found out that Gord Downie died. Gord was lead singer of The Tragically Hip, a band that I love and is important to me, and that's something that is true for a lot of other people who live in Buffalo. I was sad, still am sad, still bummed, and I've been playing a lot of Hip songs in the last 24 hours.

Back to yesterday -- I was listening to the Hip in my office, sad, waiting for a student to arrive for an appointment. I knew she was coming to talk about career paths. She's a student in one of my Sociology classes. She doesn't major in Sociology but wanted my help in exploring careers.

During our meeting, I asked if she had an internship yet, and I talked with her about the process of pursuing an internship, and how she could earn three credits for completing one. This was new information to her, a junior student. It surprised me in the moment that she didn't already know what I told her. I guess I assumed that what I told her was the kind of well-known information that students possess these days. But, still thinking about our conversation, I don't know why I was surprised. I didn't know anything about internships when I was a college student. I never had an internship. I went to class, did my work, went to the library, partied, played rugby, rinse and repeat. It wasn't until my junior year when a professor asked me if I wanted to be a research assistant that I realized there was something more than my normal college routine. It was from there that I began to look beyond my day-to-day college life and began to think seriously about career possibilities. I'm not saying my conversation with my student was anywhere near that significant or important. I'm saying I'm glad I was reminded that the things we might think are common knowledge aren't necessarily so.

I've been in university communities for so long that my conception of common knowledge has changed. I have to remember what it's like to be a busy young person who might not have access to valuable information. I need to be more mindful about sharing this kind of information. As one of the first people in my extended family to go to college, I know what it feels like to navigate the unfamiliar world of higher education.

Song of the Day - Courage (For Hugh MacLennan) by the Tragically Hip

Thank you, Gord Downie, for your creativity, your songwriting, your humanity.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Gord Downie, Rest in Peace

The talented and charismatic Gord Downie has passed away after a battle with brain cancer.

Another time I'll write about how Gord ushered me through my angst-ridden twenties.

For now, I'll leave with you with the beautiful Bobcaygeon from The Tragically Hip.

Could have been the Willie Nelson, could have been the wine.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Thoughts of the Day from Morrissey

Here, Morrissey dispenses some good advice, especially the part about staying in bed.

But "Spent the Day in Bed" is not only about staying in bed.

There's a Marx sounding line about worker exploitation:

"I spent the day in bed as the workers stay enslaved"

There's media criticism too:

"Stop watching the news
Because the news contrives to frighten you
To make you feel small and alone
To make you feel that your mind isn't your own"

And some good old fashioned existentialism "Life ends in death" that transitions to encouraging self-care:

"So, there's nothing wrong with
Being good to yourself
Be good to yourself for once"

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tossing Paper Towels Like a Giveaway at a Minor League Baseball Game

When I'm at Buffalo Bisons baseball games during the summer, it's fun when the workers throw objects into the crowd. You hope to get a t-shirt or some other freebie. This is Donald Trump, president of the United States, shooting paper towels into a crowd during his visit to Puerto Rico. I find this a bizarre way to interact with people during a humanitarian crisis. I am at a loss for more words.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Pain and Suffering

Seriously and sincerely
we need a day to grieve
the pain and suffering

It seems unrelenting
No relief
No let up

Fear and anxiety it will happen again and again
How do we cope?
How do we go on?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Inhumane. Indecent. Indefensible.

During a humanitarian crisis, Donald Trump attacks the mayor of San Juan.

Last week he used the phrase "son of a bitch" to refer to NFL players who engage in silent protest.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Budget Friendly 15 Minute Dinner

This one comes in under ten dollars. I got your back, millennials. Go budget friendly most of the time and you can still enjoy your avocado toast. Don't you love generational stereotypes? Let me type this up fast so I can get back to listening to Nirvana (Generation X, represent).

These are items you might already have in stock. Saute onions in olive oil, throw in a diced pepper and potatoes, let it roll for a bit, then drain a can of blackeye peas and let them join the party. Add diced ham toward the end. You should be spicing things up as you go. Finish off with an egg.
Tip: microwave your diced potatoes drizzled with olive oil for about 4 minutes to save cooking time.

Monday, September 18, 2017


monday is a day you slowly caffeinate

i'm still working through my drive thru coffee

cold and bitter but it will do

there were two drive thru lanes and one was wide open

i'm like it's my lucky day

except i hit a cone that was blocking one of the lanes

how did i not see that damn cone

i hope someone saw me and laughed

three hours later i've pulled myself together

with 50 minutes to spare before class begins

all in all i'm happy with this day so far.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Society Sucks Until It Doesn't

It's interesting when people vent to me in public. When people who didn't go to college (or those who did but can't remember their sociology course) ask me "What's sociology?" I give them a short answer ("If it happens in society, we study it") before I attempt to go into a longer answer. I usually don't get to the longer answer because people tend to stop me when they hear the word society. "Society sucks," a person once said to me during one of these conversations. This week my barber and I were shooting the breeze and when he asked me about sociology and I said the word society he proceeded to offer critical observations about society.

This morning a car pulled in front of me in traffic after they had left a drive thru and I was behind the car at a red light. When the light turned green the car didn't move, so I lightly tapped the horn. The person gave me the finger. Me tapping the horn at volume 1 in no way shape or form warranted the middle finger but people will do what they do, and, like the critics say, society sucks.

Our destination was soccer practice and while 9-year-old played soccer our 6-year-old was bored. So was the sibling of someone else playing soccer, and she was saying to her mom that she wanted to go to the nearby playground. Her mom was chatting with my wife. We all know each other. I offered to take her to the playground with my son and it was win-win all around. When it was time to head back to the practice, my son and his friend ran back from the playground. Something that cracks me up is when a kid is running and suddenly busts into a cartwheel, which is exactly what his friend did. That kind of thing makes me very happy. See, when I run I'm just trying to get from A to B in one piece. When a kid goes from running to cartwheel I'm reminded that kids are great and that they haven't been stained by society yet. I'm also thankful to kids for reminding me that society sucks until it doesn't.

When we got back to practice a big beautiful dog was standing near us with his huge tongue hanging out, dripping saliva. Dogs rule and dogs are way better than people, we all know that already. I motioned to the dog to come see me because I love dogs and love to love them up. He was skeptical but slowly sidled up to me and started licking me and splashing me with saliva. Another win-win and another reminder that dogs are a vital part of society and a major reason that society doesn't suck 100% of the time.

After practice there was a variety of adulting taking place. My wife ran into a store to buy a birthday gift, then she ran into Lowe's to return something, then when we got home I mowed the lawn while she did assorted yard work. The highlight of my day (other than the cartwheeling kid and the slobbering dog) was that I put a half cup of vinegar in a bowl in our dishwasher and ran it through a hot cycle and that seemed to clean up our dishwasher nicely. We still need to vacuum and do all the kids' laundry but that's adulting that can probably wait until tomorrow.

Yesterday I met a deadline by submitting work. It's something that was on my plate for several months. It was a relief to meet the deadline and my priority for the rest of the day is to celebrate.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017


I'd been meaning to take a picture of this sign, having noticed it recently during my commute. It caught my attention as a good sign to show my students when I teach the sociology of emotions in my Social Psychology class later this semester.

I looked at the sign yesterday as I drove home from work yesterday. The sign reminds me of how it's important to me to keep cool and stay composed. I rarely lose my temper, and I almost never get angry in public. Those occasions are so rare that I clearly remember them, even though the episodes are many years apart and one of them may as well have been a lifetime ago.

Just after passing the sign, a driver in a small car drove erratically and cut off the driver in front of me. It was terrible driving, a rude act, no doubt about it. It called for some gesture of "my bad" but instead the offending driver stuck his head out of the car to yell at the man he cut off. The driver in front of me was not having it. They started jawing and suddenly it was two men shouting at each other. This all happened fast--the time it takes to sit at a red light and move slowly through busy city traffic. The man in the small car suddenly turned his car around to park on the other side of the street, and ran toward the car in front of me. He was wearing sweats and slides. He gestured wildly at the man, spreading his arms wide in a threatening manner. He had a crazed look in his eyes. He looked more than ready for a fight. The guy in front of me never got of his car. They yelled at each other but the man in his car prevented physical violence by staying in his car. I thought the angrier man might punch through the open window but it didn't happen. There was a little more yelling, and then it surprised me when the angry man ended up walking back to his car. He found one last second to shoot me a look, as if to say "You want some of this?" but I gave him nothing to react to. Traffic began to flow and so ended the confrontation.

This morning I drove back through the area where this all happened, half expecting to see the angry man going about his business, but it was an uneventful trip to finally take the picture of the sign. The only interaction that stood out to me was a couple that hugged at a bus stop. It was nice to see an affectionate public display in nearly the same spot where I witnessed the uglier side of human behavior.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Tenured Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, just awarded tenure, has scores to settle. You did her wrong so you're on her list. The old Taylor Swift is gone, and tenured Taylor is spoiling for a fight. Look what you made me do, she hollers, before heading to a committee meeting to spark controversy. Don't you dare ask her to participate in another weekend admissions event. She ain't got time for brown bags no more. She doesn't trust the power brokers in admin nor her colleagues who seek to usurp her. Be aware of tenured Taylor, she will haunt you in your dreams, in department meetings, and in contract negotiations.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


if you are in one of my classes this semester, know that i care, know that i try.

my mind is open, i believe.

i search for facts and patterns.

i'm perplexed, amazed, disappointed, and inspired all at once by human behavior.

i seek to understand.

i aim to listen, really listen.

being human i am flawed.

sometimes i am nothing more than 13-year-old me, listening to classic rock, except now i'm 45, and i can watch my favorite songs on YouTube, like the one below.

and i might even be late to class one day because i crawled into a YouTube hole and how you could blame me? i mean, look at this video. look at the late Keith Moon's t-shirt. look at the passion that Keith exuded as he played the drums.

one more thing....

i really wanna know, tell me, who are you?

Songs of the Day - "In Undertow" and "Won't Get Fooled Again"

"In Undertow" by Alvvays is in heavy rotation these days on Sirius XMU, and for good reason. Amazing lyrics and beautiful singing.

It seemed like a lock for song of the day, especially when it was in my head while talking a walk at my local park this morning.

But after a quick grocery store run, one of the best songs of all time came on my car radio. And, so, for the primal scream and the hope that somehow, some way, some day, we won't be fooled again, here are The Who with our other song of the day. Go directly to 4:28 mark if you want to hear Roger Daltrey scream, and then to 7:45 for the mother of all screams.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Monday, August 7, 2017

Eat Sweet Potato Tacos

Humans don't deserve tacos.

But being blessed with tacos, we are in the fortunate position of deciding all the different ways to enjoy them. 

I usually eat tacos with beef, chicken, chorizo, or fish.

But I'm steering away from meat and fish lately and working in more vegetarian options. 

Tonight's dinner was sweet potato tacos--a delicious and budget-friendly meal.

If you already love sweet potatoes you surely don't need a recipe, but in case you need one check out this. I used mozzarella cheese because that's what I had in the fridge. I left out black beans for no particular reason. For the avocado sauce I substituted sour cream for yogurt because, once again, it was in the fridge. 

Life is hard and humans will disappoint but tacos help us press on. 

So make tacos not war and use sweet potatoes in your tacos. 

The end.

It Was the Summer of '17

All the not Trump takes you need to know...

David Brooks went to lunch with a friend from high school. She froze at the sight of obscure sandwiches. I would have had the ethnic advantage in the situation (being approximately 75% Italian-American) and would have ordered something with capicollo.

Someone believes there is a link between avocado toast and inability to buy homes. I've never purchased avocado toast but I like avocados and love toast so it's on my bucket list. I'm lucky to be a home owner but then again I belong to Generation X so to be honest I can't lend valuable insight to this story.

A guy finds his wife physically attractive first it was okay to say it then not. I'm not sure what the lesson is but it potentially serves as a reminder that THE INTERNET THRIVES ON HUMILIATION (a take from 2016 that I actually like a lot).

Participation trophies are horrible and, like delis that serve unusual cured meats, are ruining society. That's a take from 2010 until forever and I disagree because first of all not everybody gets participation trophies, second of all they are not ruining society, and third of all my 6-year-old got one for playing baseball this year and it's really not a big deal. My 9-year-old did not receive one at the end of his soccer season but no one bothers to report on all the youth athletes who don't get trophies so you can thank me for being on the vanguard of RESPONSIBLE TAKE BLOGGING (TM).

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Back to School Checklist for Professors

We're running out of time, fellow professors. Only one month left of summer. Once the semester begins, many of our research agendas will come to a crashing halt. Less time to research and write, and less time to do everything else. Some things to do while you can....

1. Clean your coffee maker. They say mold grows in that thing. If you have vinegar you can clean it. Just use your favorite search engine to see how to do it. This is listed first because obviously if there is no coffee there is no productivity. If you don't need coffee to be productive, you are a superhero.

2. Clean out your closet. In the last two days my clothes donation pile has grown into a heap of shirts that I stopped wearing or can no longer fit into. I cleared out a bunch of clothes yesterday and just did more of the same today. Now I can more easily find the stuff I actually wear and figure out a few new things to buy before the semester begins. Yes, I still do a little back to school shopping.

3. Are there any bills that you can reduce? Bills, bills, bills, a stubborn fact of life. Can you shave a few bucks from your mobile device bill? If you haven't cut the cord, can you get your cable provider to cut you some slack? How about your insurance? Call around and see if you can find a nice customer service rep to help you out. Or maybe it's time to change services? Or at least figure out a way to spend less on groceries and eating out? Do what you can to save some $$$$$.

4. What's your lunch plan for the upcoming school year? Eat on the fly? Skip meals? PB & J? Packaged salads? I can't go without lunch because I'll crash in the classroom. I usually go with leftovers from dinner or a turkey wrap or hummus wrap. or PB & J in a pinch. But I'm thinking of getting off PB & J because I read something about peanut butter a few years ago that disgusted me and I can't believe I'm still eating PB & J if it's true but in any case I think it's time to quit peanut butter. I also am close to dropping cold cuts and just going with veggie wraps and hummus wraps. I love the fall, it's my favorite season, I think the back to school vibe is part of the reason, and fall means soup season so I'll mix in some soups too. Shout out to Buzzfeed Tasty for meal ideas.

5. Are you happy (or content) with your routine? I mean, the entire morning to night semester routine. Do a quick inventory and reflect. Maybe you need to start or adjust your exercise routine. Maybe you need to change up what you do in the classroom. Maybe you need to avoid negative colleagues and spend more time with positive ones. Maybe YOU can be a better colleague (that includes me and I try and will try harder). Think through your routine (the routine is so comfortable, being that many of us are creatures of habit) but the routine can always be tweaked.

6. Plan. I'm not the best planner. I'd hesitate to even call myself a good planner. It's one of those "areas of growth," I guess you could say. But plan ahead if you can. Or check in with colleagues who are good planners, that's what I do. I'm lucky to have more experienced colleagues who always have their eye on the next step. I try to soak up their skills. I have 16 years in the game but there is still so, so much I don't know. Lifelong learning, as they say.

7. In the last point I typed the word 'eye' and 'know' so now I have De La Soul's "Eye Know" on the brain so listen to the song because it's lovely and has a reference to Lottos. So wipe your Lottos on the mat and get ready for the upcoming semester!

Thank You, YouTube

I should never take YouTube for granted. The ability to pull up almost any song I've ever liked and then listen to it 40 times in a row. That's something that makes me happy. So when a Commodores song pops into my head and I can't locate the mix CD I made 10 years ago that has it, I can immediately find it on YouTube.

Having been with the same person for 17 years, I haven't needed a breakup song in a long time. But I can still deeply appreciate a tremendous breakup song. Here we have it with Sail On. "I gave you my heart and I tried to make you happy, and you gave me nothin' in return." Ouch. But the best line is "I've thrown away the blues, I'm tired of bein' used." The public pronouncement of "I want everyone to know I'm lookin' for a good time" is also fantastic. The last minute of the song is triumphant.

1979, baby, sailing on to postmodernism.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Norm Violation: A Simple Example

I pulled into the grocery store parking lot yesterday. It was 7:00ish on a Sunday morning. No shortage of parking spaces, as you can see. I'm guessing the owner of this fabulous Dodge Challenger didn't want to take a chance on someone denting or scratching their car. We are taught to park between the lines, but some of our fellow drivers bend the social rules now and again. There is no punishment for this norm violation that I know of, unless silent judgement counts. Or being used as an example when I teach norms in Introduction to Sociology. A new semester begins soon. My file of examples is always growing.

Song of the Day - Moanin' by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers


Friday, July 28, 2017

Two Ways to Be Prepared to Teach First-Year College Students

The fall semester is coming soon. I'm feeling the pressure. More work now is less work later, I like to tell myself. So after I write this I'm working on my syllabi. I'm thinking of new 18-year-olds in my classroom. Should I read the latest research on millennials so I know how to teach them? I suppose I could, but more likely I'll draw on two key things to remember:

1. Don't overgeneralize.

If I read a list of all the things that happened before the incoming first-year students were born, it serves as a useful reminder that students are young and professors like me are not. I was born in 1972. If I make an obscure reference to a baseball player that I loved when I was a kid (Oscar Gamble) there is no way in hell they will catch the reference. But that doesn't mean all 18-year-olds are the same. It's a mistake to paint all 18-year-olds with a broad brush and, for example, assume they're technology whiz kids. I find in conversations with students (and in simple observations) that youngsters are, in some ways, like oldsters. Some 18-year-olds have their phones in their faces while others don't. Amazing. People are different. Oldsters shouldn't assume all 18-year-olds can't function without iPhones and PowerPoint just as 18-year-olds shouldn't assume oldsters don't know anything that happened after 1986.

No, the students won't catch my Oscar Gamble reference, but some of them have watched The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Those specific movies come to mind because I can remember two of my students recently making references to them. So while I'll stay away from super obscure popular culture references, I won't avoid more obvious references. They know who Michael Jordan is and I can mention him if I talk about consumption and Nike or if I want to assert he's better than LeBron (although for the first time in my life I'm wavering on this point and close to shifting to LeBron being the better player. Stay tuned).

In conclusion, don't overgeneralize. People think and act differently. Don't broad brush. And if and when someone who is 18-years-old tells me Oscar Gamble was a clutch pinch hitter then you'll get a mea culpa from me for assuming he's too obscure a reference.

2. Treat students with respect.

The thing about 18-year-olds is that they're people and here's one thing I'm 100% confident about having lived on this warming planet for 44 years: people like to be treated with respect. You already know that, right? No one likes to be disrespected. It's true for 18-year-olds and 80-year-olds. If we do the best we can to treat students with respect, I think we'll usually find the student-professor relationship falls into place. Mistakes will be made, as they say, because we are human and thus imperfect, but we should aim to give respect to our students. They notice. They appreciate. [If you are thinking "Hey you said don't overgeneralize but you're overgeneralizing by saying all people like to be respected" then consider this an exception to my don't overgeneralize rule.]

So there you have it. Don't overgeneralize and be respectful. You're almost ready to crush it in the classroom when the new semester begins. So shape up your syllabi (sooner than later) and have fun when school is in session!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Song of the Day - "New York" by St. Vincent

This morning on Sirius XMU, Julia Cunningham described St. Vincent's "New York" as a beautiful song.

I agree.

The opening line is a good one: "New York isn't New York without you, love".

A song about a place that isn't as good without one person in it. A song about a lover, a friend, who makes a place what you need it to be.

A place where "you're the only motherfucker in the city who can stand me".

Do you have a person in your life who can deal with your shit and handle your weirdness? Or handle your strength? And maybe even forgive you once in a while? Millions of people in New York, billions of people in the world, but you're lucky if you can find just one.

It's a beautiful song about yearning. A special person in a special place fills the void.

Monday, July 17, 2017

What I Would Have Posted on Social Media Yesterday, Probably

I have no presence on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, the place where many of my friends and relatives reside, posting memes and pictures of daily activities. I take pictures almost every day but for the most part they sit on my phone, seen by no one. They are not liked, except by me. I don't have any high-minded reason for not being in those social media spaces. I used to be on Twitter and enjoyed it for a while. I think I'd join Instagram but who cares about the 24 ounce can of beer I drank at the Buffalo Bisons game yesterday? And that's probably what I would have posted. It was a hot one at the ballgame. I usually buy a $6 craft beer in the first inning, and then one more later in the game. Yesterday was one stop shopping, an $8.25 big can of Labatt Blue. I liked my big can of cold beer on a hot summer day. I probably would have shown it to my social world, and tried to add a clever caption. That's a good enough reason to be on social media, or not to be. Either you want to show people what you're up to, or you don't. You want to express something publicly, or not. That I write on this blog is evidence that I care to share in some way, or at least keep a public diary of sorts.

Tell me, why are you in the social media spaces you prefer, and how do you operate?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Inspired by Springsteen's Storytelling Genius

For a long time, I've been writing sociological stories. I keep trying to merge my loves of creative writing and sociology. Stories and poetry are some of the vehicles I've used for conveying sociological ideas. I'm enamored by those who tell good stories. I'm also a classic rock fanatic. So it's no surprise that I'm a Bruce Springsteen fan. Put on "Born to Run" or "Rosalita" and I'll run through a brick wall. The early Springsteen is so amazing. You hear the hunger in his voice. He's had an tremendous career but I'm especially drawn to 1970s Bruce. This week I'm inspired by a lesser known Springsteen tune, "Meeting Across the River". Loan me some money, Eddie, stay cool Eddie, don't blow it, "word's been passed, this is our last chance". The piano, the horn, the story, all outstanding. Around the 2:05 mark, it feels like the song is fading out, but there's still a minute to go. He rhymes "hocked it" with "pocket". The caper will work out, he's determined to keep his word, he's going to throw money on the bed so Cherry knows he isn't a bullshitter. Enjoy...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Leftover Observations and Experiences

On Saturday, my 9-year-old went to a birthday party in our neighborhood. That left 6-year-old pissed that he couldn't go, so my wife and I took him to a carnival for fun. In a surprising act of kindness, a stranger insisted we not pay for a $20 wristband because he had a voucher for a kid's wristband. We were both hesitant because people are so often terrible and we both possess the minimum level of street smarts, but this guy seemed legit and turned out he was. We had a nice time and felt better about wasting $20 on games and fried dough we had saved on the wristband. My dad makes better fried dough in his kitchen than what you can find at any carnival or county fair, by the way.

The main detail in the above paragraph is that once in while you encounter a kind stranger. My wife tried to give him some money but he declined. I asserted that our built up karma had boomeranged to good effect, and suggested we pay it forward soon.

Saturday night we partied. I'm never the life of the party and I'd rather be at a public library than a party, and I'd rather read than party. But every once in a while I shed my boring self and join in the fun. My wife happens to be Director of Fun in our relationship so occasionally I step my game up so she doesn't dump me for someone taller and more fun. That's like 88% of the population so it wouldn't be a difficult task. Anyhow, we met a bunch a couples out and tore through downtown Buffalo as if we weren't in our late 30s and early 40s. Once in a while I could see a younger side-eyeing us for our conduct but I couldn't care less. One of the benefits of growing old is caring less.

Fast forward to today. My wife is at a training for work so it's just me and the boys. It rained hard this morning so I took them to Sky Zone which is a fun indoor trampoline place. I didn't see a single kid in the place get hurt or cry which is a welcome relief from the usual crying and injuries you see whenever you go outside and find yourself in proximity to children.

I'm always up for a trip to Sky Zone. I find myself very relaxed there and like to observe people. Observing public space for a sociologist is like water for normal human beings. Observations keep me running. I found myself looking at my phone a lot because you can only observe so much without losing attention and plus the phone has information and I'm an information junkie so I can't go very long without looking at my phone. Suddenly I realized that contrary to what Sherry Turkle says not everybody is on their phones all the time. People are totally capable of social interaction and all the kids and adults (except for me) seemed to me getting along in life just fine without their devices. Granted, we were only in Sky Zone for an hour and it's a small sample of people I observed, but I'm not kidding you I was the only one looking into a phone. And good for me, because information. And good for them, because they were content.

So there you have it faithful readers, my leftover observations and experiences. Publishers, get at me if you want me to assemble an accessible book for the public called Leftover Observations and Experiences that should be priced right at $4.99.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Song of the Day - "Road Head" by Japanese Breakfast

Here at Creative Sociology we like artists who push boundaries and breach norms. This song caught our attention during an early afternoon drive. It's a perfect 79 degree day, nothing but sun, traffic flowing on the highway, head in the clouds, eyes on the road, and, wait a second, is the opening line "You gave road head on a turnpike exit"? Yes it is.

For analysis, see Kevin Lozano's review in Pitchfork. Here's a glimpse: "On "Road Head," [Michelle] Zauner does a great job of sifting through mortal concerns—specifically desire, shitty romances, and hooking up in cars."

A subject that interests me--and one I've written about--is that we live in a social world in which people usually avoid references to sex. Maybe it's a taboo topic, or it could be a polite omission of information. Whatever the case, this song stands out for the way it acknowledges desire and sexual activity. Also, the video is....well, you can watch and describe it yourself.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

U2, Hailee Steinfeld, and Desire

Pumped up for the U2 concert in suburban Buffalo in September, I've been listening to The Joshua Tree quite a bit lately. The album has held up so well over the decades. I'd also say it's a great summer album. 70 degrees with a slight wind, chilling in the backyard, daydreaming, listening to "Trip Through Your Wires." Ooh, here's a steamy lyric: "I was thirsty, and you wet my lips." Granted, what I consider steamy is like PG 13 to the youngsters and in fact many oldsters, but I'm here to keep it honest. Well, this tremendous song doesn't leave much open to interpretation, it is fundamentally about desire, as we can see here: "You, I'm waiting for you...You, you set my desire, I trip through your wires." Here's the track in all it's seductiveness if you need it:

In listening to the song today, the maybe-steamy lyrics brought to mind the popular hit "Starving" by Hailee Steinfeld. This song has been on heavy rotation on Sirius Hits 1 for a long time. I'm more of a Sirius XMU guy, but the fam prefers Hits 1, so we listen to the station a lot in the car. I've taken a liking to this "Starving" tune. Anyhow, the lyric "I didn't know that I was starving till I tasted you" is rather close in effect to U2's "I was thirsty, and you wet my lips," if you ask me. Hailee (I dig that second E in her name, I must say) takes the desire up a notch in her song, though, especially with the lyric "you do things to my body." This is desire plus, I guess we could say.

One of the highlights of my recent semester teaching a Sexualities class for the first time was playing this song to see what students thought of it. I can't exactly remember the context. I like to mix popular culture into my courses. Maybe I was comparing then and now songs, and played Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" video and then Steinfeld's "Starving" video. They were like, "Yeah, professor, that's super mild, like 3 on a scale of 1-10" or something like that. Getting old works for me but stay young, everybody!!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Articles and Videos for Teaching Race and Ethnicity

Links are in the titles.

Teaching White Students Showed Me The Difference Between Power and Privilege - Kiese Laymon

White ‘Power’ and the Fear of Replacement - Abigail Levin and Lisa Guenther

Old Questions But No New Answers in the Philando Castile Verdict - Jelani Cobb

The Fight for Decent Pay and Racial Justice - Jesse Jackson

Munira Ahmed on Being the Face of the Women's March: 'It's about inclusion' - Edward Helmore

The Deplorable Basket: Declaiming Who Is and Isn't Racist Is a Parlor Game We Don't Have Time For - Ezekiel Kweku

The five things no one will tell you about why colleges don’t hire more faculty of color - Marybeth Gasman

Black in Middle America - Roxane Gay

Insulting Colin Kaepernick Says More about Our Patriotism Than His - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Dear Fellow White People - Kevin Van Valkenburg

Why Is Colored Person Hurtful and Person of Color OK? A Theory of Racial Euphemisms. - John McWhorter

Racial Politics After Obama - Brandon M. Terry

The Fine Line Between Safe Space and Segregation - Emily Deruy

Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever? - Adia Harvey Wingfield

Tamir Rice and the Color of Fear - Brit Bennett

All Hollowed Out: The Lonely Poverty of America’s White Working Class - Victor Tan Chen

The Seduction of Safety, on Campus and Beyond - Roxane Gay

South Carolina Sheriff's Deputy on Leave after Dragging Student from Her Desk - The Guardian

Blame the Police (Sandra Bland's Arrest and Death are a National Scandal. The Police are Responsible.) - Jamelle Bouie

Dylann Roof And The Stubborn Myth Of The Colorblind Millennial - Gene Demby

Shooters of Color are Called ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Thugs.’ Why are White Shooters Called ‘Mentally Ill’? - Anthea Butler

Black Like Who? Rachel Dolezal’s Harmful Masquerade - Tamara Winfrey Harris

A Few Thoughts on Rachel Dolezal - Andrew Lindner

McKinney Pool Party Incident Has Everything to Do with Race - Dorothy Brown

Watch Texas Cop Point Gun at Unarmed Black Teens, Push 14-Year-Old to the Ground - Daniel Politi

In These Times of Racial Strife, A White Professor Explores The Prevalence of ‘White Fragility’ - Nick Chiles

Chapel Hill Shooting Victims Were 'Radiant,' Teacher Says - NPR

At Yale, the Police Detained My Son - Charles Blow

Why We Still Have to Say #BlackLivesMatter - Jenifer Bratter

Ferguson Must Force Us to Face Anti-Blackness - Michael P. Jeffries

Telling My Son About Ferguson - Michelle Alexander

Mike Brown's Shooting and Jim Crow Lynchings Have Too Much in Common. It's Time For America to Own Up - Isabel Wilkerson

Ferguson: The Fire This Time - Bob Herbert

The Death of Michael Brown and the Search for Justice in Black America - Mychal Denzel Smith

Chronicle of a Riot Foretold - Jelani Cobb

The Anger in Ferguson - Jelani Cobb

No, Your Ancestors Didn't Come Here Legally - Ben Railton

Why We Have So Many Terms for 'People of Color' - Gene Demby

The Real Problem When It Comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans - Jack Linshi

We Interviewed the Filmmaker Behind 'The Whiteness Project' - Jordan Sowunmi
(Click here for direct link to The Whiteness Project.)

Kamau Bell interviews Henry Louis Gates (13 minutes)

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva -- in a 10 minute interview on Book TV, Bonilla-Silva talks about this book Racism without Racists.

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva and Mark Anthony Neal: a thirty minute conversation.

Why Integrating America’s Neighborhoods and Cities is Harder Than We Think - Jamelle Bouie

Why I Am Optimistic About the Future of Race Relations in America - Jamelle Bouie

"Talking White" (Black people's disdain for "proper English" and academic achievement is a myth) - Jamelle Bouie

What Michael Sam's Kiss Means For The Most Invisible: Black AND Gay - Marcus Anthony Hunter

Whose Deviance Do We Notice? - Gwen Sharp

The Collateral Consequences of Mass Deportation - Tanya Golash-Boza

Scientific Racism Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again - Tanya Golash-Boza

The Problems with White Allies and White Privilege - Tanya Golash-Boza

Symbols of Control - Avi Goldberg

#DeChiefing Is the Anti-Racist Protest That Pro Sports Badly Needs - Zak Cheney-Rice

Donald Sterling: Slumlord Billionaire - Dave Zirin

Donald Sterling's Willing Enablers - Dave Zirin

Video: Ta-Nehisi Coates Talks White Supremacy and Reparations (Interview with Bill Moyers)

My President Was Black - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Color-Blind Policy, Color-Conscious Morality - Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Myth of Police Reform - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Other People's Pathologies - Ta-Nehisi Coates

In Defense of a Loaded Word - Ta-Nehisi Coates

The N-Word On The Fourth of July - Brittney Cooper

This three minute video can be shown to accompany the readings by Coates and Cooper.

The Politics of Being Friends with White People - Brittney Cooper

Who're You Going To Believe on Immigration? Mark Krikorian or Your Lying Eyes? - Ezra Klein

Fix The Census' Archaic Racial Categories - Kenneth Prewitt

Hopes Frustrated, Many Latinos Reject the Ballot Box Altogether - Jackie Calmes

Racism With No Racists: The President Trump Conundrum - Tressie McMillan Cottom

When Your (Brown) Body is a (White) Wonderland - Tressie McMillan Cottom

Whistling Vivaldi Won't Save You - Tressie McMillan Cottom

The Logic of Stupid Poor People - Tressie McMillan Cottom

The Truth about Asian Americans' Success (It's Not What You Think) - Jennifer Lee

From Unassimilable to Exceptional - Jennifer Lee

The "Asian F": Perils of a Model Minority - Jennifer Lee

The Real Problem When It Comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans - Jack Linshi

I Am Not a Model Minority - Bernadette Lim

Desegregation and the Public Schools - Michael Winerip

Will a 'Black' Name Brand My Son With Mug Shots Before He's Even Born? - Nikisia Drayton

Affirmative Inaction - various authors

Sonia Sotomayor Is a National Treasure - David Fontana

Alabama Counties: No Marriage Licenses for Undocumented Residents - Ashley Cleek

'Young Lakota': Reproductive Justice and Coming of Age on the Rez - Aura Bogado

In a Small Missouri Town, Immigrants Turn to Schools for Help - Abbie Fentress Swanson

Suey Park: Asian American Women are #NotYourAsianSidekick - Casey Capachi

Who's Afraid of Suey Park? - Julia Carrie Wong

Dear White People: Film Tackles Racial Stereotypes on Campus & Being a "Black Face in a White Space" - Video includes interview with film's director and one of the actors -- very interesting discussion.

Racism on College Campuses - Peter Kaufman

The Black Bruins (Spoken Word) - five minute video - a powerful speech by a UCLA student.

Why Whites Support Capital Punishment - Jamelle Bouie

America’s racial double standard: White celebs are excused, but black stars are “thugs” - Beanie Barnes

Stop Saying These Things To Asians (3 minute video)

Colorblind (3 minute video about the lack of Asian-Americans in media)