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Politics

White fragility cripples America's ability to heal its racism

CHICAGO -- After a recent reading of Robin J. DiAngelo's urgently needed book "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism," I vowed to wait for a clear-cut example of white fragility before writing about it.

My wait lasted all of two weeks. That's when white students at Georgia Southern University burned the books ...Read more

Parent-teacher conferences reveal unfortunate patterns

CHICAGO -- It's parent-teacher conference time at schools across the land and I'm here to share the two unfortunate rules of thumb that teachers like myself understand about this exercise.

First, mostly it's the stronger students' parents who'll show up. They're a joy, but you really need to see the parents of the kids who are ...Read more

White people should all read 'My Time Among the Whites'

CHICAGO -- When you grow up surrounded by white people, you become, in many important ways, white.

Your neighbors next door, your teachers at school -- everyone from the person behind the counter at the bakery to the mail carrier. If they're white and they treat you with respect and affection, part of you becomes white, too.

This is my story, ...Read more

Use the ballot box to stop politicians who whip up fear of immigrants

CHICAGO -- In 2011, a Kansas state lawmaker suggested shooting unlawfully present immigrants from helicopters, the way the state controlled its feral hog population.

He was building on a long history of politicians and other officials who have dehumanized undocumented immigrants, especially those at the border. In fact, in 1911, the federal ...Read more

Gender-neutral dolls reflect true rainbow of people better than Barbie ever did

CHICAGO -- When I was a kid, I hated Barbie.

I mean I hated her.

But Christmas 1980, I found "Western Barbie" under my tree. This was long before I knew the terms "race," "ethnicity" or "identity," and long before learning about the groundbreaking research that Drs. Mamie and Kenneth Clark did in the 1940s, when they found that black ...Read more

How white privilege derails dual-language programs

CHICAGO -- Dual-language programs have recently become more common in public schools. In most of them, half the students are non-native Spanish speakers and the other half are non-native English speakers. They each get 50% of their instruction in English and the other in Spanish.

Initially I thought this method could be powerful in communities ...Read more

The 'normalization of hate' during the Trump era

CHICAGO -- In a 2016 blog post on the word "normalization," the Merriam-Webster dictionary website described how Donald Trump's candidacy made routine what used to be outlier behavior and language.

"The 'normalization of hate,' then, is not the removal of extreme and hateful rhetoric or views to fit the mode of modern discourse, but instead the...Read more

Why your children's school lunches matter

CHICAGO -- You'd be surprised how many books have been written about school lunches. I feel like I've read them all -- usually during my short teacher's lunchtime, cowering over a pastel-green plastic tray upon which some form of cold, semi-gelatinous institutional slop was assembled to look like food.

Last week I was primed for a conversation ...Read more

Backlash against Castro spotlights America's double standard for people of color

CHICAGO -- As I was chatting with the young man ringing up my purchases at a big-box store last week, he forgot to scan the microwave in my cart. I told him that although I would love his mega corporation to give me a free appliance, I'd be paying on this day. We shared a chuckle.

Moments later, the greeter stopped me at the exit and asked to ...Read more

Democrats need to start courting Latinos now -- before it's too late

CHICAGO -- It might seem obvious that the angst and fear President Trump has stirred up with his thinly veiled verbal assaults on people of color will translate into votes for a Democrat -- anyone but Trump -- but it's just not a slam dunk.

While 62% of U.S. Hispanics say they are certain to vote for a Democratic candidate, a still stunning 22%...Read more

College shouldn't be the only path to success

CHICAGO -- All of the books by best-selling author Paul Tough have been meaningful to me. I'm a teacher, and there's nothing an educator loves more than books that offer up a clear, concise answer to the question of how to best help children succeed.

But his latest book is personal. Tough was in the process of researching his now-released "The ...Read more

Along with school supplies, teachers bring to their classrooms plenty of hope and courage

CHICAGO -- Contact paper. Plastic boxes for crayons. Damage-free picture hangers ...

If you're a teacher, this list looks very familiar.

Poster frames. Dry-erase markers. Blank self-adhesive labels ...

These are the kinds of items that don't always make it onto the standard school-supply lists, but we buy them at the start of ...Read more

Detroit's 'renaissance' masks its pervasive poverty

CHICAGO -- Detroit, which was settled by French colonists back in 1701, is sometimes called the "Paris of the Midwest."

But while few would see many similarities between Paris and Detroit today, there is one that's consistently overlooked: Like Paris, Detroit has what some locals call an "island of opulence" at its center -- namely in the ...Read more

The crippling legacy of gender stereotypes

CHICAGO -- As a lifelong lover of the ballet -- and as a child of immigrant parents who could not afford to start me in classes when I was little -- there was no question that my own kids would be enrolled in dance training as soon as they hit preschool.

When my son was 4, the movie "Billy Elliot" had already come out, telling the story of an ...Read more

The heartless treatment of immigrant children in Trump's America

WASHINGTON -- Does Donald Trump hate immigrant children?

That's not hyperbole. Is there any other way to interpret his administration's efforts to wreck these children's lives starting at the moment of conception?

Let's begin with the newly enacted public charge rule, which -- if pending lawsuits don't prevail -- will penalize legal immigrants...Read more

America's racial injustice didn't start with Trump

CHICAGO -- There's a lot of fear in the Latino community right now of being targeted by someone with a grudge against immigrants.

But attributing the unease to the recent shootings in El Paso, which specifically targeted Mexicans, overlooks the relentless struggle of being nonwhite in America. And the tension ratcheted up after Donald Trump ...Read more

Immigrants don't need a handout -- but they do need a welcoming hand

CHICAGO -- The last time I saw Sil Ganzó, she was beaming as she gave a tour of her after-school care facility for newly arrived immigrant and refugee children.

Based on her enthusiasm, you'd have thought the tiny, two-room storefront for the elementary-school students had the grandeur of Google's headquarters. But, as I recall, it had few ...Read more

Trump administration's hatred toward Hispanics just makes us stronger

CHICAGO -- The massive immigration-reform marches of 2006 started as a response to, among many other things, pending legislation that would have made unlawfully present immigrants into felons.

The marches helped squash the legislation, which was known as the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. But the...Read more

What teens in today's America face

CHICAGO -- If you know a teen -- a relative, a family friend or even just the kid behind the counter at your local pizza joint -- give them a gift today: Look them straight in the eye and assure them that everything is going to be OK.

It's the time of year when tensions are especially high for older children. Recent high school graduates might ...Read more

Violent video games don't cause shootings, but they do have social costs

CHICAGO -- As I type, my 17-year-old son is online with his friends playing a game called "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege." It's your standard shoot-'em-up game with tough military types in black tactical gear with powerful guns. Quiet, hyper-realistic situations ratchet up the tension, my son tells me. I hear the occasional screams emanating ...Read more

 
 

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Tom Stiglich Chris Britt Andy Marlette Steve Benson Chip Bok John Deering