23 Quotes That Perfectly Explain Racism (To People Who Don’t “See Color”)

When I was in college, I got a job bussing tables. In a Thai restaurant. Several white American customers expressed their objections to my working at an “ethnic” restaurant. I was disrupting their experience of “otherness”. This struck me as incongruent with their expressed desire to “respect” the foreign culture they were “patronizing”. In theirContinue reading “23 Quotes That Perfectly Explain Racism (To People Who Don’t “See Color”)”

Why I Love Grad School, or Please Talk Career Options with Your Daughters

When I was 22, my undergraduate professors started to ask where I’d be going next. Everyone assumed it would be grad school. My art history professor, a supportive, wry-humored expert in Mexican art named Deborah Caplow, especially believed I would make a career for myself in art criticism and teaching. My future, cast in theirContinue reading “Why I Love Grad School, or Please Talk Career Options with Your Daughters”

Resilience: The Last of the Human Freedoms

The dandelion. A weed, everyone says, but it’s always been one of my favorite flowers. That lion’s mane of yellow petals. Ferocious. Shooting up anywhere. Everywhere. Between cracks in the sidewalk, among the rose beds, under front steps, in ditches along the roadside. Sprouting over lawns. I’ve yet to see a boundary the dandelion can’tContinue reading “Resilience: The Last of the Human Freedoms”

My First Bar Tab at 32

“Really?” My friend, A., asked. We’ve known each other 20 years, but she’d been away for the last ten. “Really.” I assured her. “Why would I? Do I seem like the type to hang out in bars?” “Okay. Fine.” “So how do I do this?” She smirked. “I think you just walk up and say,Continue reading “My First Bar Tab at 32”

Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery

When I was six years old, I made a choice that would shape the course of my life. I chose my career. I had decided that I would become an artist. Now I had never met an artist, but two years later, I got the chance. My parents enrolled me in the Preparatory Dance ProgramContinue reading “Toastmasters Speech #2: The Art of Mastery”

Why We Still Need Feminism

Over the past eight months, about a dozen female celebrities have leapt from the feminist bandwagon as if it were a burning building. I’m not a feminist; I’m a humanist has become the new catchphrase of Hollywood’s women. Insisting that we’re beyond all that gender stuff now anyway, they have further stigmatized a term that, really, should long ago have ceased toContinue reading “Why We Still Need Feminism”

Mormon Feminista

One week in Laurels, the Sunday School class for 16 to 17-year-old Mormon girls, my teacher passed out pairs of knitted white baby booties and Xeroxed excerpts from a 1950s women’s magazine. While the boys down the hall talked football, college, and career goals, we read about what sort of wives we would become. After you marry, you willContinue reading “Mormon Feminista”

The Wiffle Bat

“You remember the time I tried to kill you?” My brother asks, “Which one?” “The one in the backyard with the wiffle bat.” He doesn’t remember that particular attempt. He says, “We both did a lot of things we regret.” “Yeah.” But what is regret? The recognition that something could have been different—but wasn’t? HowContinue reading “The Wiffle Bat”

So a Random Guy Pulls up and Asks If I Want a Ride

So I’m walking down my street with a full grocery bag when a guy pulls up to me in his car. He pulls up with his window down and looks me over and asks, “Want a ride?” I’ve never seen this guy anywhere in my life. So I wait for him to realize his mistake—because he must haveContinue reading “So a Random Guy Pulls up and Asks If I Want a Ride”