Archive | Social Change

Hyper-Individualism and Higher Education

    I talked in my last blog about the degeneration of civic education in our high schools and the consequent absence of any sense of obligation to the community in my college students. The primacy of hyper-individualism has affected—or infected—our higher education institutions as well. I lived most of my adult life either in […]

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heartland

Spreading the Word

    I’ve been writing about the political and social crisis in America for months, and the inevitable question becomes louder and louder in my head. And in yours too, I suspect. What do we do about it? My only answer has been—Write! My gratitude to those who have responded to my blogs, for language […]

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Sixties war protest

Progress and Progressives

Looking back through my lifetime (which is long), the Progressives of today are the age my grandchildren would be. And that’s using the traditional definition of “generation,” not social science’s current definition, which names a new generation every ten or twelve years. Indeed, the younger Progressives are the age of my “would-be” great-grandchildren. That tells […]

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heartland

Fear, the Achilles Heel of the Midwest

My oldest friend with whom I’ve shared a house for almost thirty years was born and raised in Nebraska and insists I’m an Easterner. I’m not. Despite being raised in the community around a university that nicknames itself “Harvard of the West,” I don’t want to be. My mother comes from the prairies of Iowa […]

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Chicago Poems

On Being American

I’ve just opened Wallace Stegner’s Marking the Sparrow’s Fall, a collection of essays published by Stegner’s son after the author’s death. It’s been on my bookshelf for a long time, but never picked up for unknown reasons. In the opening essay, “Child of the Far Frontier,” Stegner writes of the power of certain images, smells, […]

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community

Individual Versus Community

  If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, is that isolation is bad for the human soul. Maybe it has also shown us that our need for community, for others, is both vital and powerful—as much to our self-interest as to our individual aspirations. As an ageing woman with lousy hearing, I fight the […]

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Changing Racial Attitudes

  I ended the last blog by saying that the current race movement is carrying the country toward extremism and further and further from changing racial attitudes. Radical positions like condemning whole civilizations may sound noble, but it accomplishes nothing—except ridicule, perhaps. Consciousness-raising, making America aware that it has a race problem, has been going […]

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Racism and Fear

But allow the power of the internet to fall into the hands of those who deliberately heat fear into hatred, prejudice into racism, and we’ll move further and further from the kind of attitude change we seek.

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How to Start a New Year

  I don’t know how to start this new year that feels already old. The usual resolutions seem irrelevant, the questions bewildering, the answers out of reach. I don’t know how to fix the mess the country has gotten itself into, a mess that is heading toward another crisis on Election Day. I can only […]

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A Better Way to Talk Race

As I continued my browsing through old blogs, I also found this 2014 blog. It’s also worth reprinting (with some revision) if our goal  is understanding;   it gives a far better way to talk about race: Race in America—in Fiction   Earlier in this series of blogs I talked of the rewards of reading novels […]

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Ferguson

Race in America: Stuck in a Rut

Browsing through old blogs, I found this seven-year-old blog (Dec 5, 2014) that seems to sum up my feelings today pretty well. Here, with some revisions, it is:     I watch today’s protests and feel very old, very frustrated, and very discouraged. I watched the same explosions and protests in the 1950s, 1960s, and […]

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The Role of Race

    I’ve been hard on identity politics and its role in polarizing the nation, so I want to be clear. Race is a critical issue for the country, and one that needs to be addressed. I understood and supported Martin Luther King and the peaceful protests of the Sixties Civil Rights movement of the […]

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