I want Obama back.

I gave up social media – Twitter and Facebook – for Lent. So it was only through Washington Post email alerts that I heard about the shooting in Parkland, Florida. It didn’t really register to me what had happened until I got home, turned on CNN, and was flooded with footage.

Hysterical parents.

Teenagers running for their lives.

A suspect put into the back seat of a police car.

It shook me harder than other recent mass shootings. I’ve seen the cable news coverage of too many of these shootings to be truly shocked, but this one disturbed me greatly. Maybe it’s because school is supposed to be a safe place, but I know that it’s not. Maybe it’s because I have a cousin who is 14, a freshman in high school, and I cannot imagine losing her. Maybe it’s because those students are only a few years younger than the ones I teach. I think of the potential, the lives cut short and it cuts me to my core. I prayed. That’s all I could think to do.

And as I watched the coverage, I wondered, “Where is the President? What is he doing?” The answer is not providing any comfort to those who are mourning, and just as importantly, not providing any solutions to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. I’m glad that I’m not on social media right now, because I don’t want to know how little Trump cares. I don’t want to know what he’s doing instead of leading the country.

It’s moments like this that make me miss Obama. Was he perfect? Of course not. But I at least felt like he cared. Trump… does he care about anyone but himself? That’s not evident to me.

So for now, I revert back to Obama consoling us in our grief.


How do you teach a neo-Nazi?

Circulating around my corner of academic Twitter yesterday was a Southern Poverty Law Center guide for students on how to deal with the alt-right. It’s well done (shout out to SPLC – they are awesome and if they are hiring I’d drop everything to work for them!) and I’m glad it’s out there. But as someone who will be teaching full-time for the first time this fall, questions I never thought I would have to answer has been spinning around in my head for the past couple days:

What do you do with alt-right students in your classroom? How do you teach a neo-Nazi?

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On Saturday, while I was busy collecting my diploma, shit was going down in Charlottesville. When I met up with my partner after the ceremony, he asked me if I had seen any of the news alerts. Umm… no. I was graduating. Also, my phone died.

He told me someone had died.


I watched CNN that morning and they were talking about what might happen, but someone dying never crossed my mind. I guess violence never really crossed my mind. I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t expect violence because it was white people marching. I think violence around protest and I think of violence against black and brown bodies.

It wasn’t until Sunday that I really started to process what had happened. And while my thoughts on what happened are, I’m sure, not unique, I need to write them out.

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Trying to write in the age of Trump

I’m pretty bad at procrastinating. Well, I’m good at procrastinating, and bad at getting things done. There’s always a desk drawer to be organized or an email to read and respond to. But lately, my productivity has taken a dive, because I am constantly on high alert, ready for the next Trump tweet, or the next leak from the White House.

It’s nuts. It’s a huge waste of my time when I should be applying for jobs, or conducting research, or worrying about jobs and research.

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