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Politica: Unfair disadvantage vs. unearned privilege

Docking of the Aquarius in Valencia Spain, migrants welcomed by children of the conquistadores As a member of the privileged white (on its way to becoming minority) citizenry of the USA, and male besides, even in my sense of social activism, I am uncomfortable with the accusation of "white privilege". Am I really the "little rich kid" somehow living off the fat of imputed ancestral exploitation of others. No one likes hearing accusations about one's heritage or one's self. Hearing it raises the temptation of debating it with stories of bias toward my own kind, with "fleeing from European oppression"...

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Politica: This is the USA... What does your national story say about migrants?

My 1st, 2nd, & 3rd generation USA immigrant family 1936 – Polacks, Krauts, Wops, Micks, Kikes, Bohunks, Spics, etc.   There is a lot we would like to forget, not own up to in the fabrication of our national and patriotic identity story. But memories and memoirs are rife with hurts that house historians would like to deny, though the attitudes that created them and our reactions to them still lurk in the national DNA and surface in unconscious and conscious bias on a daily basis. Owning up to our sad side is a first step in creating the determination...

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Using Social Media to Rebrand Culture

This is the sixth in a series. (#1, #2, #3, #4 and #5 are here.) Stories can be made to say what we want them to say. I went shopping this evening and, at the checkout, the cashier, seeing the bandage on my nose, asked what happened to me. To her horror, I explained it this way: “A couple days ago, I had an encounter with a young man, who had me held down and cut me with the blade that he had in his hand.” Her reaction naturally changed to one of amusement and empathy, the moment I mentioned that the young man in question was my...

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If the medium is the message, what is the cultural message of a new medium?

This is the fifth in a series (#1, #2, #3, #4 are here.)                 If, as we have been discussing, the new media, and in particularly social networks, have been delivering such an enormous quantity of conversations into our mailboxes and our minds each day, it is important for us to look at the process of shaping the culture that is involved here. There are, I believe, two dimensions to look at. The first is what these media, as media, manifest about the cultures that create them, as well as what their own cultural message may be....

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Culture’s Flow (#4 in a series)

In the first three posts ( (#1 in the series, #2 in the series, #3 in the series), I have been hinting at a metaphor for culture that I will explicitly discuss in this post. Let me introduce it with a poem, Culture’s Flow. Old conversations and newSometimes I ask my trainees or students to close their eyes and imagine culture as this river. Its source, high on a mountaintop, starts with the melting ice that flows from the glacial peaks where the old wisdom of our people and our history has been stored from time beyond memory. In our primeval stream of culture...

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