Embrace the Gift of Disagreement

Yesterday, CNN posted an article called the “War on Campus: The Escalating Battle over College Free Speech.” It highlights a number of recent occasions from Auburn University to  Middlebury College where protests against conservative speakers have turned violent.

One of my favorite quotes, and one I’ve especially had to remind myself of often during the last few months, is from Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often attributed to Voltaire): “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

There is a reason freedom of speech is our very first amendment in the United States. There is no progress without collective learning or the sharing of ideas and thoughts. Continue reading “Embrace the Gift of Disagreement”

Heartbreaking Trans Outing on Survivor an Opportunity for Dialogue

The show Survivor is one of my guilty pleasures. From the psychology to the lush landscapes, I simply love it. In this 34th season, the cast is made up of “game changers” who have played on previous seasons and made huge impacts.

I’ve always enjoyed watching people of various backgrounds come together on the show and gain a new appreciation for others. With a few notable exceptions (such as Will’s verbal attacks on Shirin), the castaways generally seem to figure out ways through their differences.

Wednesday night’s episode, however, was different: a castmember, Zeke, was not only outed as being transgender, but was also accused of being deceptive because of it. Continue reading “Heartbreaking Trans Outing on Survivor an Opportunity for Dialogue”

At Work, Why It Matters that You Matter

Since I was a little kid, I was obsessed with reading. I hoarded books and would get in trouble for reading my library selections in class. As I went through college and came to the realization that I would likely never be Stephen King, I thought about what work I could do that would keep me connected to books.

The answer was clear: publishing. I dreamed of joining a big publishing house such as Scholastic or Pearson. Continue reading “At Work, Why It Matters that You Matter”

Definition Disconnect: What Is “Racism”

As shown in this Google Trends report, the term “racism” has seen an uptick of interest from those in the United States in the past 7 years, coming to a head this past November.

The term has become, for many, one of daily use. It comes to us in songs, in movies, in news articles, and in late-night TV. In the U.S., the word is inescapable. It is in common use within our language.

The challenge, and beauty, of language is that it is always in flux. What language does is allow us to communicate our thoughts to another person. We’ve often witnessed or experienced challenges associated with speaking with someone whose language is different than ours—but the same challenges can exist even within our own language, and are infinitely more dangerous. When both parties know a word but have different definitions, it causes a disconnect where each think that they understand the other, and often don’t pause to test their assumption. This then leads to misunderstanding, frustration, and anger.

This definition disconnect is hardly more evident than with the word “racism”. Continue reading “Definition Disconnect: What Is “Racism””

Disney and the Missing “Gay Moment”

I’d been looking forward to the remake of “Beauty and the Beast” for a while. Belle was always my favorite Disney “princess”—I, too, was a tomboyish bookworm in a small town. And what can I say about Emma Watson? She’s a few years younger than me and I still look up to her as a role model.

“Beauty and the Beast” is all about people’s inner character, to not judge based on the superficial or shallow. So what better film to really touch on the importance of inclusivity? Continue reading “Disney and the Missing “Gay Moment””

Why Liberals Need Trump Supporters

“I don’t have to feel bad for them. I don’t have to be ‘understanding’ of their situation. They aren’t at all understanding of others’ situations—look at the chaos they are causing in real people’s lives!”

This is the general response I hear from my left-leaning friends and colleagues when I appeal for a more, shall we say, cordial approach to politics. Articles like this one have become immensely popular on my feeds and it breaks my heart. Not only are those who have this response shutting themselves off from very important conversations, they’re also harming their own cause. Continue reading “Why Liberals Need Trump Supporters”

Want to See Change? It’s up to You

“A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion unless it is acted upon by an external force.” – Newton’s First Law of Motion

Why is social change so hard? Why are we, thousands of years after Plato dwelled on the ineffectiveness of both too much wealth and too much poverty, still fighting against economic inequality? Why are people still suffering for their beliefs and their lifestyles? Continue reading “Want to See Change? It’s up to You”

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