I am myself.

Jennifer Boylan is an author, an activist, and an educator. Her writing is about her life and experiences. At its core her work is about her identity. Jennifer is transgender, but her identity is more complex than just her gender identity. Jennifer was born James and began her transition in the early 2000s with the […]

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Black Man

What does it mean to be a black man in America?  Is there one right answer?   Today someone asked me what it meant to be an American.  I looked at them with a blank face, and immediately got to thinking about identity and identity politics. The question of what it means to be an […]

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What is political?

Last week in class, we talked extensively about the motivations of the Blues singers we had read about. Did they intend their songs to be political statements, or were they just singing about the way they saw their lives? Does one of those preclude the others? And does the original intent matter if those processing […]

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Freedom Highway

Since Iris Morales visited us last week, I have been thinking about the particular power of art to promote change and social justice.  Ms. Morales clearly believes that art is a key part of any social movement.  It is not ancillary, but rather has its own unique and necessary role to play.  I think that […]

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Tolerance vs. Acceptance

In class this week we discussed the effectiveness of organizing and advocacy versus simply coming out in the struggle for gay rights.  Clearly, both of these things were essential to achieving the progress that GLBTQ people have realized in the past decades. I want to explain what I think the particular effect of each of […]

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Who Owns History?

Thinking more about our discussion on Tuesday, and having read this New York Times article and the reactions to it, I want to explore the topic of “ownership” of the Holocaust a little more.  I am increasingly frustrated with the point of view that any one group should “own” history. It is critical that we […]

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A Call for Empathy

The Huffington Post is a favorite blog of mine, so when in the course of my surfing I ran across Jeffrey Kaye’s February 25th article, “Short Memories: Jews and Immigration,” I thought it was a really timely post given last week’s discussion. Kaye’s thesis is simple but hardly without controversy, “that the Jewish immigration experience […]

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