Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2015

The good Samaritan

30 ...A certain Black woman went down from Jerusalem to Baltimore, and fell among the local police, who stripped her of her clothing, beat her, and departed, leaving her half dead. 31 Now the woman's family cried #BlackLivesMatter. By chance a certain Twitter egg came along that road. And when he saw her, he passed by on the other side saying #AllLivesMatter. 32 Likewise a Facebook "friend," when she arrived at the place, came and looked, and said #AllLivesMatter! 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed came by where she was. And when he saw her he had compassion saying, "The struggle is too real. It ain't right, it ain't fair, and I will stand by you, my sister, because #BlackLivesMatter!
#SayHerName

Countdown to the NBA Season: Steph Curry and Black Excellence

The Johnson household's favorite NBA player is Steph Curry. Second place is pretty far back there. To us, Curry is emblematic of the values of our family: excellence through dedicated practice, being polite in victory yet accepting your brilliance, being humble in evaluating areas of self-improvement. Oh, and of course #BlackExcellence.
Curry plays the point guard like few other players at that position, either in the past or present. Sure, he does what point guards should do: pass and protect the ball. He can pass the ball in ways that take you back to Magic and the Lakers of the late 80's, or Pistol Pete Marovich of another era. He can handle the ball as well or better than anyone I've ever seen play the game. The ball is an extension of his arm and hand, and it follows his commands like a yoyo on a string.


Activity Based Learning

Lectures are literally medieval. The format is also inherently unfair:
[A] growing body of evidence suggests that the lecture is not generic or neutral, but a specific cultural form that favors some people while discriminating against others, including women, minorities and low-income and first-generation college students. This is not a matter of instructor bias; it is the lecture format itself — when used on its own without other instructional supports — that offers unfair advantages to an already privileged population. We can do better. #ABLConnect at Harvard helps educators develop activity-based methods of teaching more effectively. It's not a fad. It's research-based, it's effective, and it's fun. It's also one of the many reasons I left Caltech to join the faculty at Harvard. It is truly refreshing to be at an institution that is serious about teaching innovation. Not just in words, but in resources and actions. Our students and our science depend on it. 
Ch…

On Trump: When you gotta take a clown seriously

My good friend Jorge Moreno​ recently said, "White privilege is being able to say, nonchalantly, that Trump has no chance of becoming president." It was a very consciousness-raising comment for me to hear, and definitely one that has stuck. If you "look" like you belong in this country, then Trump's racist, xenophobic vitriol sounds as nasty as it is, but it doesn't really sink home when there's no risk of his policies becoming reality, thereby threatening your livelihood and life. 
White privilege is being able to say, nonchalantly, that Trump has no chance of becoming president. #jorgeramos#nopersonisillegal — Jorge Moreno (@astroboy_moreno) August 26, 2015
Yes, Trump is a clown. But an uncomfortably large fraction of white Americans not only enjoy watching his clown show, but would be willing to have him lead our country (48% of white Americans view him favorably). This simple statistic should be screaming one obvious message to all of us, and it…

Sunday Music break

Guest post by Erin

Huge shout-out to NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts for bringing these into my life:





Oddisee's music and lyrics have been the soundtrack for life in Casa Juanson for the past few months. Leon Bridges (from TX!) joined him on my playlist last night and I foresee his timeless voice will be there the for a minute.


Guest post by Elisabeth Newton: The Impostor Cycle

Elisabeth Newtonis a sixth-year graduate student at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for astrophysics. Her research focus is on developing methods of measuring the physical properties of low-mass stars as a member of the MEarth team. 
The players:  Awesome Grad Student - a talented senior grad student who experiences imposter thoughts Superb Young Grad Student - another talented astronomer-in-training, perhaps in their second year,  who is struggling with imposter syndrome Nice Faculty Member - a respected person in their profession
The scene: The awkward moment after a talk when everyone is hanging around. Awesome Graduate Student has just delivered a great talk on their research.

And, action!Awesome Grad Student (AGS) expresses their relief to Superb Young Grad Student: “I’m so glad that’s over, I wasn’t prepared at all! I was finishing my slides up until the last minute!” **


“Don’t worry about it, that was an awesome talk, AGS!” Superb Young Grad Student says, trying to reassure AGS, but th…

Why is he so angry?

Guest post by Erin

This is the question family and friends ask me with regards to John: "Why is he so angry lately?" Real talk: I have been known to ask this question myself.  The truth of the matter is that he's not an angry person; like the rest of us he is sometimes unhappy, discouraged and or deeply saddened by current events in the world around him.  In his world, as a Black man, he is too often confronted with the systematic devaluing of Black lives, particularly by law enforcement and the underrepresentation of people of color in his field of study.  But what well-meaning white folks are sensing as anger is really something else.

To answer the question of "Why is John so angry?" I'm compelled to ask "Why do you assume he is angry?" A number of people have told me it has to do with his use of the term "white people" when addressing...white people. It's understandable that this rubs us white folks the wrong way for a few reasons…

Quote MLK fully or don't quote him at all

I keep running into white people who cherry pick quotes about non-violence from MLK or twist his words into admonishments to Black people. White people: please stop doing this. There are thousands of famous white Americans to quote if you'd like to talk down to Black people. If you feel the need to use an historical figure to bolster white supremacy, why not pick a quote or two from Jefferson, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson, or even Abe Lincoln. But MLK was a radical who had few words of kindness for white people of his time, particularly the white liberals and moderates. 

To give you a sense for what I'm getting at, allow me to quote the real MLK, from his book Where Do We Go From Here?On the need for white empathy [I]f the present chasm of hostility, fear and distrust is to be bridged, the white man must begin to walk in the pathways of his black brothers and feel some of the pain and hurt that throb without letup in their daily lives.  This is what we're getting at with…