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A Path Beyond Grievance

Tue, 11 Nov 2008 00:00:00 EST

It's been said that the ascendancy of Barack Obama signals the beginning of a "post-racial" America.

What I'll Do Next

Mon, 26 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

So, what's next?

Our Civil Disagreement

Mon, 19 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

I'll breeze right past the fact that the heaviest mail day of my career as a newspaper columnist came when I announced the end of that career. What I want to think about instead is something that is enormously flattering and still a little mysterious.

Where to Now?

Mon, 12 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

The beginning of the week usually finds me in Durham, N.C., preparing for the classes I teach at Duke University. But this was fall break, and I didn't have to make the trip.

Why You Need Me

Mon, 05 Dec 2005 00:00:00 EST

For the first time in a decade of teaching, I'm doing a seminar on column and opinion writing. And I find myself wondering if I'm training another generation of buggy-whip makers, skilled craftsmen with no demand for their work.

We're Past Politics With Iraq

Mon, 28 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

When it comes to Iraq, are the congressional Democrats chicken-hearted flip-floppers, merely clueless critics with no ideas of their own -- or are they Karl Rove cunning?

Making Ethics Rules Stick

Mon, 21 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Thirty years ago law enforcement came up with the approach documented in the film "Scared Straight" -- using tough-talking prison inmates to frighten juveniles out of their lawless behavior.

An Oily Favor

Mon, 14 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

Oil profits "go up and down," Exxon Mobil Chairman Lee Raymond told the Senate the other day, explaining why the oil giants' huge post-Katrina profits were not profiteering.

More Talking, Please

Mon, 07 Nov 2005 00:00:00 EST

OKOLONA, Miss. -- "Mr. Raspberry! Mr. Raspberry! I have something to tell you," the young woman called as she caught up to me during a break in the Baby Steps program a week ago. Then, grinning with delight, she told me.

A Treasure Waiting to Be Mined

Mon, 31 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EST

I talk to Sylvia Hewlett about her research on corporate underappreciation of black executives and my mind goes back to the 1934 film version of Fannie Hurst's "Imitation of Life."

Poor Marriages, Poor Health

Mon, 24 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Black women are sick of marriage.

The Price of Low Expectations

Mon, 17 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

In one recent year, just under half of all young black men in the District of Columbia were in prison, on parole or probation, awaiting trial or sentencing, or being sought on a warrant. In Baltimore, one in five black men aged 20 to 30 was in custody. Numbers like these no longer surprise.

A Better Cure Than Abortion

Mon, 10 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

You know by now what William Bennett said: "You could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."

The Kablooey Principle

Mon, 03 Oct 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Tom DeLay has been indicted for criminal conspiracy, and the former House majority leader's carefully constructed and fiercely defended redoubt of power seems about to go kablooey .

Poor Women's 'Magical Outlook'

Mon, 26 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas's new book, "Promises I Can Keep," explains -- in their subjects' own words -- why so many poor women opt for single motherhood.

Our Lost Community

Mon, 19 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Americans of a certain age like to remember when there was a thing called community. Not community as in such political blocs as the "gay community" or the "Hispanic community," but community as in neighbors who could count on each other in time of trouble.

Our Rules vs. The Poor

Mon, 12 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The Duke University class I teach on family and community had no trouble with the New Orleans "looters" who smashed store windows for food and clothing. They had done their reading, so they understood that an important element of what makes a community work is the willingness of people to abide by agreed-upon rules.

Two Storms, Ample Warning

Tue, 06 Sep 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Last week brought us one big story -- and one almost incomprehensibly huge one. The huge story, of course, is the still-unfolding devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The merely big one was a report out of the Census Bureau that the number of Americans falling into poverty has increased again, for the fourth straight year.

The Gambling Addict

Mon, 29 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

"Come on, George. Let's leave this casino and go to bed. It's obviously not your night."

Why Profiling Won't Work

Mon, 22 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The Transportation Security Administration, having rendered cockpit crews less vulnerable to hijackers by strengthening the cockpit doors, is now (1) reviewing its list of items passengers may not bring aboard, (2) proposing to minimize the number of passengers who have to be patted down at checkpoints and (3) taking another look at the rule that requires most passengers to remove their shoes.

A Bad Shift for the Court

Mon, 15 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

If you're concerned about the rightward drift of the U.S. Supreme Court, you may be hoping -- as I am -- for a smoking-gun revelation that would disqualify John G. Roberts Jr.

When an Embryo Isn't an Embryo

Sat, 06 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Well, they've nailed Bill Frist. The Senate majority leader let himself get caught proclaiming both the sanctity of human life and his opinion that maybe we ought to expand embryonic stem cell research.

Poverty and the Father Factor

Mon, 01 Aug 2005 00:00:00 EDT

I first heard the numbers from sociologist Andrew Billingsley:

Why Our Black Families Are Failing

Mon, 25 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

"There is a crisis of unprecedented magnitude in the black community, one that goes to the very heart of its survival. The black family is failing."

A Culture for Teaching

Mon, 18 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

One way I know I've heard a keen insight into a difficult problem is when I find myself thinking: I knew that all along .

Our Religious Culture

Mon, 11 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The trouble with the Kentucky display of the Ten Commandments, said the Supreme Court, while approving a similar display in Texas, is that the it was motivated by a "predominantly religious purpose."

No Clarity About Iraq

Mon, 04 Jul 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The poll numbers are alarming -- 77 percent approval in a Post survey a scant two years ago and 48 percent approval at the beginning of last week. So it isn't surprising that the president's speech last Tuesday at Fort Bragg was designed to reverse the disastrous trend.

New Approach, but the Same Private Accounts

Mon, 27 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

A math teacher might have an encouraging word for a student who keeps adding the numbers until he gets the answer right. But what would he make of the kid who starts with the answer and keeps changing the numbers to make that preordained answer "right"?

A 'Sorry' Excuse From Cochran

Mon, 20 Jun 2005 00:00:00 EDT

Anybody who claims to understand Mississippi has probably never spent much time there. I'm back in my home state fairly frequently these days, and every visit leaves me both hopeful and despairing.

Filling the Racial Gap in Academia

Tue, 31 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

One definition of insanity, someone once said, is to keep doing the same thing in the same way and expect different results. Here's another: Believing that a diagnosis and treatment that worked for a patient in one set of circumstances will work in all circumstances.

Outsourcing at Home

Mon, 23 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

First my Palm Pilot, then my Internet connection, went bad. And as a result, I spent a depressing number of hours on the telephone, talking to "technical assistance." The overwhelming portion of that time was with technical workers in places such as India, Pakistan and the Philippines, who (let it be said) were no better or worse than the tech-help people at the places that sold me the equipment in the first place.

Getting Beyond Racism

Mon, 16 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

The plight of have-not blacks in America's urban ghettos, says economist Thomas Sowell, can be laid at the feet of white people.

In the Plame Case, Losers All Around

Mon, 09 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

I want to get really exercised about what the government is doing to a pair of fellow journalists -- Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine. I do hope they can stay out of jail.

Society's Toxins, Caught on Tape

Mon, 02 May 2005 00:00:00 EDT

It's funny how the videotapes have divided us. Some of us saw the footage of the 5-year-old girl gone berserk in her St. Petersburg, Fla., classroom and decided we'd been too harsh in our judgment of the school officials for calling the police. Others saw the cops handcuffing the tiny child and decided it was the grown-ups who had gone nuts.

Fixing What Ails the Schools

Mon, 25 Apr 2005 00:00:00 EDT

A week ago the New York Times delivered a long and dismaying examination of New York's public schools, two years after the launch of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's widely ballyhooed plan to improve them.