Politics, Moderate



Don't avert your eyes from what's happening at our border

CHICAGO -- The beauty of being human is that you can hold two seemingly opposite positions in your heart at the same time.

Our fragmented, partisan society -- in the era of cable news and social media -- isn't good at portraying this reality, especially when it comes to religious or political issues.

But people who pursue a spiritual practice ...Read more

Ivory tower needs to make a true commitment to diversity hiring

CHICAGO -- In May 2018, 26 female professors signed an open letter to the media asking that coverage of a celebrated Latino author's #MeToo scandal be treated with restraint and fairness. They did so not because they doubted the veracity of the allegations, but because his characterization as a sexual predator would add to the degrading and ...Read more

First-generation college students face steeper climb to graduation

CHICAGO -- There are a few key milestones in the first semester of a college freshman's life: the first few days away, especially if they're on a far-off campus; the first big paper to write; the first big exam. Teary calls home or anguished texts may come in the night, along with family and friends' reassurances that all will be well.

Then ...Read more

Trump administration showed cruel carelessness toward migrants

CHICAGO -- Words alone can't convey the disgust and outrage I feel over the Trump administration's cruel and careless treatment of migrants and refugees at the border.

In the spring of 2018, President Trump asked his top immigration and homeland security officials to end the so-called "catch and release" practice. He did this even though the ...Read more

How to bring more meaning to giving thanks

CHICAGO -- We are surrounded by grief, fear and strife, yet for about a week or so each year, we're scolded for not being thankful enough. Sadly, gratitude has become yet another corporatized platitude designed to tug the heartstrings and open the wallet.

The command to show appreciation can be purchased on pillows, mugs, mouse pads and candle ...Read more

Talk is cheap. Organizations need to invest money to help get out the Latino vote.

CHICAGO -- The mainstream media has two settings when it comes to Latino voters: "The Sleeping Giant will determine the next president!" and "A confounding mystery endures: Latino voters don't turn out to vote, but why?!"

A primer: There is no such thing as a "Latino community." Latino voters are diverse -- from many different countries and ...Read more

'Border Wars' highlights Trump's harsh treatment of immigrants

CHICAGO -- Steel yourself -- the book "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration" is infuriating, heart-wrenching reading.

New York Times reporters Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear set up their book's narrative by cataloging the administration's disjointed efforts to fulfill contradictory campaign promises. President Trump ...Read more

If you want to raise a bookworm, make it more about play than work

CHICAGO -- Parents are constantly told that reading to their children will instill vital communication skills and that modeling engaged reading will set their kids on a course to becoming bookworms.

Not always.

It doesn't matter how much you adore books, how many hours you spend enjoying the 998th read-aloud of "Go, Dog. Go!" or how many tomes...Read more

Why many of us see Trump's red hat as a red flag

CHICAGO -- A recent column in which I asked readers to do some introspection about their own racial beliefs spurred many infuriated emails.

Some people took offense at my implication that a white person who feels strongly that his or her race is being discriminated against might be likelier, among other things, to wear a MAGA hat.

Why is it so...Read more

Immigrants give us their gifts every day

CHICAGO -- Though some people proudly think of America as a nation of immigrants, many forget that the pilgrims on the Mayflower were immigrants, too. And, of course, waves of immigrants have been arriving on the shores of the United States for so long that social science has more than a century of hard, statistical data about them.

The factoid...Read more

It's high time we all learned to be anti-racists

CHICAGO -- A recent Pew Research Center survey on perceived discrimination in America seems to confirm what some already believe is gospel: There is a disturbing and gaping divide between Republicans and Democrats on race.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents agreed that there is "a lot/some" ...Read more

White people need to realize that there is plenty of America's apple pie to go around

CHICAGO -- Take enough undergraduate psychology courses and you'll internalize a simple precept: Your perception is your reality.

For instance, if you go around terrified that people with skin slightly browner than yours are coming into the U.S. to rob your land of its apple pie and baseball, you're going to worry about whether America speaks ...Read more

Help your children learn to love math before it's too late

CHICAGO -- "I hate math!"

As a fourth-grade math teacher, I hear this at least once daily. It's like a dagger to the heart every single time.

I have been hearing this even more since math instruction has moved away from first instilling the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (to some detriment, I believe) toward "...Read more

Don't look away -- the horrors at the border are still happening

CHICAGO -- Lest we forget, inhumanity and injustice continue unabated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The topic of these horrors seems to have been left for dead because of the focus on a potential presidential impeachment, the 2020 election and, well, life.

It is human nature to attempt to go on even in the face of widespread suffering. All over ...Read more

We have to learn to talk about racism if we want to stop it

CHICAGO -- A few weeks ago, I got into what became a heated argument with one of my young students, who was indignant that her teacher flat-out refused to share an important cultural, political and social fact.

The topic was a term that will never pass my lips: the N-word.

"But what does it mean?" pleaded the student, the lone white ...Read more

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


Social Connections


John Branch Mike Luckovich Signe Wilkinson Ed Gamble Mike Lester Steve Benson