From Page to Stage: Newark in Black and Blue in 2004

In the Fall of 2004, I was teaching a course at Rutgers University in Newark called “From Page to Stage” where the idea — as I was teaching the course — was to take original scripts written in class and present them in live performance to learn how the process of active creation worked.

The final project was a series of group presentations where students shared their lives as they were living it — and the alarming result of one racially diverse group was: “Newark in Black and Blue.”  That group’s bruising presentation was tough and blunt and dramatic and I decided we had to record that performance in audio so we could preserve the truth of the moment.

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LinkedIn and the Promise of Minority Equality in the Age of Internet Access

Yesterday, I posted an image Janna took over the weekend to my social media circles, and I was surprised to read this morning how concerned some were over what I thought was a joyous image of young Black females in the urban core being involved in a connected electronic Age.  The action was happening on LinkedIn, and here is that discussion — I don’t know if you can read it by default, or if you have to be linked to me first or not — and here is the image that started it all:

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Describing Skin Color in American Sign Language

Talking about Race in any situation — even in a university setting where teachers and students should feel safe to be blunt and congenial — can pack a certain, uncomfortable, stigma when bringing up the matter.

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Between Virtue and Mortality: Of This Shadow We Have Known

With age comes experiential wisdom and, we hope, a certain jading when it comes to living a right life. Where once we surprised, now we are prepared; where once we were astonished, now we are bemused.

“It goes on…” is likely the best takeaway motto the elders among us have vested in the current lifetime. Life is circular and repetitive and expectation grows dark and deep as uncertainty continually erupts to corrupt the circle.

We yearn to be virtuous against our impending and inevitable ending, and in that shadow between first bursting and the final shovel is the test of our lives.  Have we behaved ethically? Were we in this world just for ourselves? Did we, in some way, serve the others among us without an expectation of a return on our investment?

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The Biology of Alzheimer’s and Couch Potato Rat DNA

I am concerned with an ongoing effort in the scientific community to prove, once-and-for all, that some of us are genetically predestined to be lazy.  It seems there are those among us who are natural-born couch potatoes.  If laziness become a medical condition, then I’m sure we’ll soon see a category of disability that will then offer the lazier among us a Federally paid way of life for sitting around all day watching television.

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The Chain of Annihilation: How to Kill People

Yesterday, I watched a fantastic documentary on PBS called “The House I Live In” by Eugene Jarecki.  The film reveals the 40-year failure of America’s precious War On Drugs.  In the USA, we’ve spent over $1 trillion on arresting over 45 million people and we still have a major drug problem.  The War On Drugs is a failure when it comes to getting people straight, but wildly successful when you consider the increase in long-term incarceration, guaranteeing profits for private jails and communities that rely solely on prisoners to faith their economies.

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A Great Black Moment in White House History: May I Touch Your Hair?

A great bit of human drama unfolded in the White House last week and it was a simple and stunning moment that proved the humanity of our current president and the unfettered charm and inquisitiveness of an eager mind.  Barack Obama allowed a young boy to touch his hair.

Continue reading → A Great Black Moment in White House History: May I Touch Your Hair?