Sometimes you have to leave home to find out where you’re from

For most of my life I never fully understood what it meant to be from New York. I knew New York City was special but not from personal experience. It had a mythical quality born from the stories I would overhear supplemented by endless TV and Hollywood narratives. But growing up 90 minutes north of the city in Poughkeepsie I also knew that New York State was much more than just ‘the City’. For me it was the Mohonk Mountain House and FDR Mansion, the Dutchess County Fair…


An Analogy for Racial Inequality in America

The various forms of disadvantages faced by the African-American community today are the direct consequence of America’s past and present struggle with racism. When I was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I was given a simple analogy to explain these inequalities: African-Americans were not allowed to run ‘the race’ until after it had already started. This explanation was given to me in a variety of forms from my black mother to sympathetic White friends and teachers. It was typically accompanied by the somber conclusion from both sides that, “Unfortunately, Blacks just…


Reflections on the death throes of Trumpism

What exactly did we all see yesterday? Why did thousands of Trump supporters engage in a violent attack on the most sacred symbol of American democracy? Was their sacking of the US Capitol Building an expression of righteous indignation, patriotism, and duty to the Constitution? Was it a coup attempt seeking to quickly seize overall control of the US government through the use of force? Was it an act of domestic terrorism with the singular focus of violently threatening American civilians for political purposes? …


For a moment we were all Americans

It was my second week as a Ph.D. student. I had gotten over the initial jitters of being a new teaching assistant, meeting my professors, and engaging an entirely new level of work. Overcoming some significant struggles and hurdles, I was settling into a new restaurant job and apartment in Albany, New York with my wife and two-year-old daughter. …


There is a difference between an awakening and a reckoning

Race relations in America have once again taken center stage in our social and political discussions. The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have become the foundation of national calls for an end to racism, especially as it relates to police brutality. Unfortunately, the shouts for social and legal justice for African Americans have also served as a rallying cry for racists. They have increasingly pushed back against protesters and Black Lives Matter with “heroes” such as Kyle Rittenhouse representing their willingness to use violence and murder to maintain systems of oppression in this country.

A central narrative in…


Part 1: How America learned to learn online

Born at the tail end of Generation X, mine was the last to fully understand education as a face-to-face experience. By the time I started my undergraduate work in the mid-1990s (five years after the official start of the Internet) the concept of ‘distance-learning’ was already advancing exponentially in terms of technology and application. Utilized initially at the high school and vocational level, it used closed-circuit broadcasting to enable individuals to observe traditional classroom environments without having to be there. Its’ value lay in the ability to increase the size of a…


Why Things will get worse before they get better

I am on record admitting that I was one of those who got it very wrong in 2016. But given the stakes, I’m also on record stating that Donald Trump will lose for sure in 2020. The conviction stems from the belief that he has done enormous damage to American political systems, our standing around the world, and the very foundations of our nation’s culture. But the closer we get to a new president, the more I become convinced that things will get worse in America before they get better. Donald…


Because he's worked harder to lose in 2020 than democrats did to win in 2016

I was one of those who was sure Donald Trump would lose in November 2016. For me, the idea of anyone voting for him after the infamous ‘bus video’ seemed so remote that it was obvious he was not going to win. But that was the big mistake I and tens of millions of Americans made in the run-up to the election. We were only considering why he should lose, not how he could win. …


A Juneteenth reminder that “Knowledge is Power”

This is both a somber and exciting moment in Black history as we mark the 155th anniversary of the end of slavery in the United States. It is a somber moment as we remember the generations of African-Americans who suffered for 200 years under the brutality and oppression of slavery. It is a somber moment as we consider Jim Crow and the century of systemic racism that deprived the immediate descendants of slaves the equality, justice, and opportunity promised in the Emancipation Proclamation. …


Sometimes sorry isn’t enough….

So, one of my many shortcomings is a tendency to hold a grudge. Having grown up mostly on my own I came to see the few friends I had as the most important things in my life. Conversely, I tend never to forget individuals who played a direct role in making the tough times in my life even harder. I have always struggled with the idea of “forgive and forget” precisely because I rarely had the power to advance solely through my own means. Forgiving is one thing, but forgetting has always been quite another, especially…

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