Wednesday, October 25, 2017

How I Have Dealt With An Increasingly Common Condition- Rage At Trump! ( R.A.T.)

Anger is one of those things that can motivate you to heights of accomplishment. It can also destroy you and poison your personal relationships.
Ever since Donald Trump was elected, I have been in a perpetual state of rage, not only at Mr Trump himself, who gets more outrageous every day, but at those who supported him, and those who look the other way in the face of the racially divisive rhetoric that is his trademark
Given how explosive my emotions are, I made a few decisions: First, I would make sure that this anger never spilled over into my teaching, and my relations with students and Second, I would not let it spill over into my face to face relationships. I am very proud that I have never, since the election, lost my temper with a Trump supporter in face to face conversations, of which I have had many.
But at the same time, I realized that I couldn't suppress the level of anger I had without putting myself under intolerable levels of stress so I decided to direct the anger in two ways
First, by posting my opinions about the Trump Presidency on social media on a daily basis, and welcoming interviews about the subject on broadcast or print media. I have used whatever forum available to me to say what I think, using scholarship and experience to support my arguments, but letting the rage come through
Secondly, I have used the anger to motivate me to launch a diet and conditioning program more radical than any I have attempted in the last 40 years, and to actually succeed in sticking to it!
All in all, I feel very positive about how I have handled the challenge of Trump Rage. I have lost some friends on social media and gotten a lot of hate mail, but have not lost a single friend that I have made through face to face encounters.
Plus I am leaner and in better shape than I have been in many years. And the best is yet to come!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Why I Will NEVER Stop Challenging the Trump Presidency

Donald Trump's drive to the Presidency began with a demagogic appropriation of the most paranoid symbol of White Resentment of Barack Obama- the Birther Movement- and marched to success, first in the Republican primaries and then in the general election by stoking fears of conservative whites that they were losing "their" country. As a result, whenever Donald Trump feels embattled or under attack, he tries to rekindle the racialized resentments of the whites who supported him by flamboyantly attacking Black or Latino public figures or highlighting policies which target Latino or Muslim immigrants. The damage this is doing to our social fabric is lasting and profound. The targets of Trump's demagoguery are taking it to heart and looking at their white neighbors, co workers and fellow students with suspicion, disappointment and in some instances rage. In this political tinderbox, it is critically important that some whites take a stand against Trump's demagoguery so fiercely that they become targets of his followers wrath. That is the role that I will be playing. I will not let my Black Latinx or Muslim family members, friends, colleagues, students and community partners stand alone. That is what Friendship and Solidarity means.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Trump's Culture War on Black America

Trump’s Culture War on Black AmericaIn the last month, The Trump White House has launched a culture war against Black NFL players, a Black ESPN commentator and now a Black Congressperson who have dared to speak out on issues of the day in ways it finds offensive. This is hardly coincidental. It’s Trump’s version of base building and political hardball. It also puts Mr Trump in the company of some of the worst demagogues in US History and some of the worst dictators the world has seen. Attacking members of the most stigmatized group in a society has always been an invitation to violence, be it by state action or the hands of private citizens. People who have signed off on this bear a fearful level of responsibility for the consequences. The whole world is watching. And historians of the future-some of whom are my students- are taking notes.

Friday, October 20, 2017

An Inspiring Bronx Immigration Story

Just had an amazing experience in my office. The delivery man who brought me my lunch from the Webster Cafe looked around my office and said " Man, you have a lot of books." He then want on to say " I only had four years of education in my country, but I love to read." I looked at him with admiration, gave him a big tip and then said "Here, I have a present for you." And I gave him a copy of a great book I helped write called "The Rat That Got Away: A Bronx Memoir."
Oh yes, one other thing he said. "Some people who graduate from college, they have trouble finding jobs. And some people who don't have an education can find a way to make money, maybe create their own business."
I wished him luck with a big smile on my face. This is why I love the Bronx!

And why I abhor those who think deporting undocumented immigrants will "Make America Great"

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Face of America to the World

When Donald Trump's face is contorted by hate and rage- which is often- that is the official face of the United States of America to the world. It is also, whether people want to admit it or not, the face of everyone who elected him and still supports him. No President in our recent history, no matter what they did with their power, has ever allowed themselves to look like that in public- not Jimmy Carter, not Ronald Reagan, not Bill Clinton, not either George Bush, not Barack Obama. In our last Presidential election, voters selected someone whose facial expressions resemble Hitler and Mussolini, or a Southern demagogue from the Jim Crow era, more than any American President. And that face will be forever be preserved in our history books as symbols of a time when America lost its bearings and embraced some of the worst impulses in its history.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Toast to the Bridge Builders Among Us

It's been a brutal week, a time when many people have lost faith in the decency of the nation they live in, or at least those leading it. It has led to disillusionment, despair and rage among many who have spent their lives working for justice.
In this difficult and challenging time, I want to raise a glass- of Jack Daniels to be specific- to everyone who has spent this week crossing barriers, building bridges, disregarding gates and creating ties of community with people who differ from them in race, religion, nationality or economic status. In particular, I want to toast my students at Fordham, who were incredible hosts to two student groups from the Bronx, one from PS 140, one from CASA Middle School, as well as the teachers and principals who arranged for their visit. You showed Fordham, the Bronx and the nation what real unity is about and set an example that all of us need to follow.
To A Better Future!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What Many Trump Supporters Are Thnking and Not Always Saying

What Many Trump Supporters Are Thinking And Not Always Saying
"Get real liberals! As long as you keep attacking Columbus Day and tearing down Confederate statues; desecrating the flag and the anthem; attacking our police and ruining The NFL, and denouncing everyone who disagrees with you as “racists,” we are going to keep electing assholes tough enough to keep you in your place- which is down, out and on the defensive. This is war and Trump is our warrior. If he wasn’t cruel ruthless and crazy, we wouldn’t have elected him. And yes, liberals, we are making war on you!"
This is so realistic that some of you are worried that I am a secret Trump supporter, right? Don’t worry, this is me summarizing the arguments in the hate mail I get as well as what I overhear in random conversations
When Trump goes there will be others to take his place. Trump MARKETED white rage, he didn’t invent it.
This war for the soul of our country -and yes, it is war- won’t be ending any time soon

Monday, October 9, 2017

The President and Race

The President is someone born to a wealthy family, privileged even by white standards, the recipient of the kind of “ affirmative action for the rich” at top colleges that dwarfs admissions advantages given to Blacks or Latinos. It is utterly astonishing to watch him try to intimidate Black players in the NFL who not only have both the lived experience and historic memory of multiple forms of discrimination, but who for the most part grew up in far harsher circumstances than the President did. That he is doing this for temporary political gain makes it all the more reprehensible. His actions will be seared into the memory of this generation of African Americans and of all people who care about Racial Justice. Mr Trump will not be treated kindly by historians of the future; his racially provocative actions assure that result. We are living through a shameful period in US History.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Wake Up Call

The way I see it, Donald Trump is boxing a lot of good people into a corner where they find themselves defending things in their heart of hearts they know is wrong. It is very sad to see this. Because it not only divides friends and family members, it leads the nation down a moral precipice where unacceptable behavior becomes normalized.
I have tried to convince people that they had to stop this juggernaut of racialized nationalism before it swallowed them up and took them to places they really didn't want to go, but few listened
I just don't have time for those conversations any more. I am just going to say what I have to say and do what I have to do and let others figure things out for themselves.