Culture, Humanity, Literature, Philosophy, Politics, Race, Social Justice, Society

Pass the Mic

How do we empower the people we call the voiceless?  Pass the mic.
 – Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, editor-in-chief of, June 2016  panel at the White House’s United State of Women Summit

An editorial cultural-appropriationpiece by Lionel Shriver caught my eye in the Tampa Bay Times this morning.  Not familiar with Shriver’s work or immediately with the context of her situation as a keynote speaker at the Brisbane Writers Festival, the editorial puzzled me.

“Briefly, ” she wrote, “my address maintained that fiction writers should be allowed to write fiction — thus should not let concerns about “cultural appropriation” constrain our creation of characters from different backgrounds than our own. I defended fiction as a vital vehicle for empathy. If we have permission to write only about our own personal experience, there is no fiction, but only memoir. Honestly, my thesis seemed so self-evident that I’d worried the speech would be bland.”

As a writer and an avid reader, the topic interested me, and at first I couldn’t see what the issue was. Of course readers have to speak in other voices, and sometimes from the perspective of people different from themselves.  Without the ability to do that, we wouldn’t have Huckleberry Finn or To Kill a Mockingbird.   Right?

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Compassion, Culture, Kindness, Peace, Reason, Society

Coexisting With or Without the Bumper Sticker

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

165212878_7f8aa6cb2a_b I took my father to lunch this past weekend, and when I came out of the restaurant, and passed behind my car to get into the driver’s seat, I discovered someone had removed my Coexist bumper sticker.

It was a magnet actually, but had been on the back of my car for quite a while.    I was very fond of it.  I liked seeing it on other cars, and always knew when I saw it that we had a sort of camaraderie of hope as we drove along on our parallel ways to wherever it was we were going.  It was nice to park next to another Coexistance fan. I knew they probably wouldn’t ding my car, or be a parking space hog.

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