The time is out of joint. O cursèd spite,
That ever I was born to set it right!
Hamlet, Act I, Scene 5, ll. 190-191
My high school English students in Upstate South Carolina throughout the 1980s and 1990s were mostly unmotivated by huge portions of the early American literature canon—notably Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.
The problem was reading those works, but many of the conversations that the assigned reading spawned were some of the best moments of my teaching career.
After plodding through Emerson and Thoreau, tackling the ideologies of American Romanticism and Transcendentalism, the darker vision of humanity offered by Hawthorne allowed me to pose a powerful and often unexamined question to students about the essential nature of humans: Are people basically good or evil?
These were 10th and 11th graders, most of whom attended fundamentalist Southern Baptist…
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Bravo and Bravo again! ❤️
Now I was eight and very small,
And he was no whit bigger,
And so I smiled, but he poked out
His tongue, and called me, “Nigger.”
“Incident,” Countee Cullen
Earlier in the summer of 2017 during the controversy over Bill Maher’s use of a racial slur, I wrote a poem  that confronts the slur but also ends with an image that haunts me in the wake of Charlottesville and Barcelona.
The tyranny of the threat of being run over rests now in my bones after having been run over with a group of cyclists just 8 months ago.
But I have no direct personal understanding of what James Baldwin confronts about race in the U.S.: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time. ” 
Along with the pervasive threat of physical violence and death…
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Fantastic response to hard relationship question!
“Hopefully I’ll have that again someday.” my son Evan said wistfully over the phone.
“You will!” I encouraged him. “Just give it a while.”
“Best that it’s over but there were still some fun times.” he went on.
“You’ll have that with someone new.” I said. “You’re only nineteen. Plenty of time.”
“Yeah.” he said solemnly. “Just not sure it will happen again or be as good.”
“It will only be better!” I said confidently.
“But how do you know it will be better?” he asked.
Oh no. He wanted an answer.
I’m absolutely no relationship expert. I’ve been in several and calculate I’d have done things differently in every case. I’m just no fountain of good advice. Still, my son’s lamenting after his unpleasant breakup triggered memories and I searched for words of wisdom to help him through this momentary setback.
That strong parental desire to offer profound guidance washed…
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Well said; love this guy!
With many things of pop culture, what becomes popular, recognizable and echoed, is something slightly or even significantly different than the original.
Hollywood has finally caught up with iconic superhero comic books—and is poised to ruin if not destroy its version of the medium as the comic book industry did to itself in the 1990s.
In 1962, Marvel introduced Spider-Man in issue 15 of Amazing Fantasy, and birthed as well a truism that has avoided being cliche since it continues to resonate. While repeated as “With great power comes great responsibility,” the original is a bit longer:
AND A LEAN, SILENT FIGURE SLOWLY FADES INTO THE GATHERING DARKNESS, AWARE AT LAST THAT IN THIS WORLD, WITH GREAT POWER THERE MUST ALSO COME — GREAT RESPONSIBILITY!
Two aspects of the original are worth highlighting. First, the sentiment itself is powerful and True, but, second, the subtle distinction of the original…
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Thought provoking indeed!
Minorities Who ‘Whiten’ Résumés More Likely to Get Interview, Michael Harriot
“Whitening” is an all-encompassing term for when prospective employees scrub their résumés of anything that might indicate their race. Applicants with cultural names will sometimes use their initials. Community or professional work with African-American fraternities, sororities or other organizations are deleted. One student omitted a prestigious scholarship he was awarded because he feared it might reveal his race.
Although the practice sounds demeaning and reductive in the year 2017, apparently it works. In one study, researchers sent out whitened résumés and nonwhitened résumés to 1,600 employers. Twenty-five percent of black applicants received callbacks when their résumés were whitened, compared with 10 percent of the job seekers who left their ethnic details on…
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