Foreign Service

Recent Articles

The Good Wife Works – Pecking orders appear to be a universal human condition

An unidentified young Black male resident of Frogtown told photographer Wing Young Huie, “It’s not just Black people. I know some Asians, and they got the mentality to kill somebody. It’s like everybody got their own little ‘hood.”

Studying history or even modern world news portrays this ‘hood, my ‘hood, your ‘hood as the propensity of the universal man. Witness this: John Steinbeck wrote, “When [he] thought of Chinese beauty the iron predatory faces of the Manchus came to his mind, arrogant and unyielding faces of a people who had authority by unquestioned inheritance.”

Witness this: Writer Edward Hoagland knew New Yorkers who spoke of Palestinians as if they were not quite human, as are the Roma (gypsy.) “All men and all races are the children of God…one cannot exterminate Gypsies or Jews because one considered them of an inferior race.” (Source: Bob Shacochis.)

Witness this: A Cuban father’s daughter says his only jokes about Puerto Ricans were racist. A Lakota warns that, “Ojibway dreaded Anisinabe who drove the Sioux out.” (Source: Jim Harrison.)

Or an Istrian who said, “I dream about that day when nobody will hate me because of the food I prefer, my memory, or the language I speak.” (Source: Slavenka Drakulic.)

We are all the same? Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – Wilder “conversation” urges us to see the poverty around us

In September 2013, a Wilder Foundation conversation,” Community Matters,” was held at the Wilder Center in St. Paul, starting with a bevy of statistics compiled by Wilder Research on the state of poverty in St. Paul, where 67,000 people live in poverty; of that, 25,000 are children. This computes to 24 percent of St. Paul’s population as opposed to 12 percent for the Twin Cities, or even Minnesota statewide. Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – On having to prove one’s self-worth


Ossie Davis (1917-2005) remembered a Southern sheriff pouring syrup on his head as a child. Davis regarded this incident as pivotal, instilling what he called the “ni***r” effect in his mind: a form, function and reaction of cowardice as a self-protective device. “In the presence of [threat],” he wrote, “you do what you have to do in order to survive.”

In Davis’ judgment, this egregious lack of self-esteem instilled in Black men is the remnant of slavery and racism, damaging to the Black man’s image of himself. “The [African American community] shares the burden of racism,” John Edgar Wideman wrote, and “understands how it hurts, scars, and deforms.”

A young Black American man recently spoke of similarly systemic racism when he lived in an African country dominated by European imperialism. Only European history was in the books. Continue Reading →

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