The On Being Project

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Jerry is twenty years younger than me, but I call him my big brother because he’s forever saying things so wise they really tick me off. As I read that line about getting hooked on anger and fear, I thought, “Damn! He’s seen into my soul again and got me dead to rights.” In my religious tradition, there’s only one way forward when you’ve seen your own failings: Confess, ask forgiveness, forgive yourself, and try to get it right next time.\

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My confession is simple. Daily, I get hooked on my anger about our arrogant and unprincipled president, the poisonous aquifer of white nationalism into which he has consciously tapped, and his endless assaults on almost everything I hold to be good, true, and beautiful. \I also get hooked on my fear\, but it’s not about “those people” our president wants us to fear. I fear this president and the harm he’s done to my brothers and sisters in the U.S. and abroad, to American democracy, to world peace, and to the earth itself.\

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Jerry doesn’t say that there’s anything wrong with anger, and I’m glad for that. If I weren’t angry about what’s going down in Washington, D.C., I’d feel like I’d become dumb and numb — and I refuse to go there. Being dumb (and I include myself here) is what got us into this disgusting and dangerous mess, and \going numb will keep us in the mess\ while it gets worse and worse.\

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Anger isn’t the problem. The problem is getting \hooked\ on anger — addicted to an emotion that gives you a fleeting high but leaves you feeling worse, all the while robbing you of well-being and creating an insatiable desire for the next hit. Being hooked saps me of energy and harms my health. Worse still, it diverts me from \taking personal responsibility\ for what’s going on right now. Here, too, Jerry’s mettā meditation spoke to my condition:\

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\“Grant me the wisdom to see my own \unconscious biases\ that continue to unintentionally and inadvertently make me complicit in this staggering rise of hate and callousness. May I never forget that hate and callousness have been as much part of this American experiment as joy, hope, and love. That while this experience may be new to my consciousness it has been a part of the lives of my fellow Americans who have lacked the access to money and power that come with privilege.”\\

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Some will say that Jerry is calling for a fruitless exercise in self-flagellation. I beg to differ. He’s calling us to self-examination, to self-awareness. It’s a call that goes back at least as far as Socrates:\

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\“The unexamined life is not worth living.”\\

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To which I’d add, the unexamined life is a threat to others.\

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So, for the umpteenth time, I’m trying to come to terms with my own complicity in white privilege and the injustice and inhumanity that flow from it. When white people like me ignore or deny all that, it’s just another way of aiding and abetting it.\

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Isn’t the evidence clear-cut? A lot of things that are easy and safe for white folks are \difficult or dangerous for people of color\ — from being pulled over for a broken taillight to trying to rent or buy a home in certain communities. Being president while black is obviously more perilous than it is while white. If Barack Obama had said \any\ of the most egregious things our current president has said, or had had any similar business- or family-related “irregularities,” his political career would have gone down in flames. White privilege is a no-brainer.\

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But my confession needs to go deeper than owning up to white privilege. Like many people of my race, I carry unconscious elements of white supremacy. If I want to help stem that bloody tide, I must become conscious of that fact.\

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No, I don’t belonged to or support the KKK and its kin, whose beliefs and actions are evil to the core. But it’s a cop-out to equate white supremacy with its most toxic forms. Doing so takes the onus off people like me to come to terms with reality — our country’s and our own. How could a nation built in part on the enslavement of human beings not have a cultural substrate of white supremacy? How could white people rooted in that ground not be tainted by that toxicity?\

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If I look at myself closely and honestly, I find a form of white supremacy that’s subtle but pernicious. For a long time I held an unacknowledged assumption that “white is normal,” that white ways are the “normal” ways.  All other ways are “exotic” at best, often “strange” and even “off-putting,” and sometimes “scary.”\

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I suppose all subcultures believe their ways are normal. But in a nation grounded in the enslavement of black people, only we white people get support for that illusion. We don’t need a “white history month” to celebrate our contributions to civilization, we don’t need to encourage each other to believe that “white is beautiful,” and we don’t need to proclaim “white lives matter.” In America, where white people have ruled supreme from day one, all of that comes to us free of charge.\

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In a world where white people are a minority group, the arrogance of “white is normal” is breathtaking — and like all arrogance, it distorts one’s view of self and world. For example, for 50 years, I’ve written and spoken about the dangers of the American tendency to “other” those who are not white, straight, Christian, etc..\

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But not until the last decade or two did I understand that \I\ am “the other” to many — I reserved that category for people who don’t fit my delusional “norm.” I didn’t hate or fear “the other,” but seeing “otherness” in everyone but me and “my people” is the road to a sense of superiority and even uglier destinations.\

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Does all of this make me guilty of something sinister simply because I was born white? Of course not. No one is born guilty of anything. The guilt comes when I deny that being white gives me social advantages and crimps my capacity to see the world clearly and engage it honestly. Denial keeps me from owning my own arrogance, putting on corrective lenses, and fully joining the fight against the pestilence of white supremacy.\

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Is there any hope for white illusionists like me? As far as I’m concerned, this entire column is about hope — because hope opens up as soon as we gain self-awareness, confess our role in creating injustice, and reach deep for ways to release the better angels of our nature.\

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Another friend and mentor, \Valarie Kaur\ — a Sikh interfaith leader and civil rights activist whose family has suffered xenophobic violence — is helping me understand what hope in action looks like through her \Revolutionary Love project\. In a recent newsletter, \Valarie wrote\,\

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\“White supremacy is as old as America. But so are acts of Revolutionary Love — and every act of love inspires another.”\\

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Then she spoke to the skeptics:\

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\“If you cringe when people say love is the answer, I do too — I’m a lawyer. In America, we only talk about love as a feeling that happens to us if we’re lucky. If love is just a good feeling, then of course it is too fickle, too sentimental, too fleeting to be a force in the face of injustice.”\\

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Through a feminist, woman-of-color lens — inspired by the Sikh concept of the warrior-saint — I believe that Valarie is redefining and reviving the great tradition of nonviolent action in terms that speak to \“the fierce urgency of now.”\ Revolutionary Love is not romantic, but embodied, courageous, and demanding.\

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To describe it, Valarie draws on the experience of becoming a mother — from the labor pains that can feel like dying to a lifetime of being gentle and fierce in nurturing and protecting the child you love:\

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\“Mothering, a capacity that exists within each of us, helps us redefine love, not just as emotion but as a form of sweet labor. It calls us to wonder about others, listen to their stories, respond to their needs. We employ many emotions in that labor: Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the price of love. Anger is the force that protects it.\\

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\When we practice love beyond the threshold of the home, it has the potential to transform the world around us and within us. But love must be poured in all three directions to be revolutionary. Revolutionary Love is the choice to enter into labor — for others, for our opponents, for ourselves. I believe Revolutionary Love is the call of our times.”\\

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When I find myself once again “biting the hook of anger and fear,” and have the guts to ask myself why, I come up with only one honest answer: being hooked drains me of morale, energy, and courage, thus \sparing me the challenge of committing acts of revolutionary love.\\

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So — awakened by Jerry Colonna and inspired by Valarie Kaur — I’m practicing a daily two-part gut-check:\

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\1. Where am I today with my “white is normal” delusion?\\

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\2. Today am I willing to risk that warrior-saint love that, as Valarie says, “has the power to transform our interior life, our relationships, and social conditions”?\\

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When confession opens the door to hope, and you step through, the next step is action. If you wonder what Revolutionary Love in action looks like, I urge you to \view “Divided We Fall,”\ Valarie Kaur’s documentary. If you want to join the movement, you can \sign the Declaration of Revolutionary Love\.\

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The world needs this revolution. America needs it. People of color need it. And white people like me need it, perhaps most of all — if we want to live our lives in service of the twined causes of love, truth, and justice.\

\n","excerpt":"\

Our columnist turns a critical eye to his own convictions about race and white privilege. He finds there’s always room to face our hubris — and in that humbling experience, we find hope to do better the next time around.\

\n","terms":[2,452,7,37,10,5654],"metadata":{"additionalAuthors":[{"id":4,"slug":"parker-j-palmer","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. His column appears every Wednesday.\

\n\

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the \Center for Courage & Renewal\. His books include \\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\, and \\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\. His book \\On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old\\ will be published in June.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is founder and senior partner of the \\Center for Courage & Renewal\\. His books include \\\Healing the Heart of Democracy\\\, \\\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\\, and \\\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\\.\\

\n","name":"Parker J. Palmer","avatar":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/•Parker-J.-Palmer-Photo—Sept.-2017.jpg","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Palmer","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/parker-j-palmer/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@ParkerJPalmer","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":36032,"slug":"trent-gilliss-theres-useful-tension-in-our-life-together","title":"There's Useful Tension in Our Life Together","date":"2017-10-17 09:00:03","path":"/blog/trent-gilliss-theres-useful-tension-in-our-life-together/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-theres-useful-tension-in-our-life-together/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/34684044915_65a9045997_o.jpg","author":{"id":2,"slug":"trent-gilliss","description":"\

was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

\n","guestDescription":"","name":"Trent T. Gilliss","avatar":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bio-trentgilliss_0.jpg","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/trent-gilliss/","positionTitle":"founding executive editor of On Being Studios","hometown":"Minneapolis","postalZipCode":"55405","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@TrentGilliss","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":36050,"slug":"omid-safi-the-problem-with-asking-where-are-you-from","title":"The Problem with Asking \"Where Are You From?\"","date":"2017-10-18 16:22:40","path":"/blog/omid-safi-the-problem-with-asking-where-are-you-from/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-the-problem-with-asking-where-are-you-from/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/eunice-lituanas-242757.jpg","author":{"id":65,"slug":"omid-safi","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. His column appears every \Thursday\.\

\n\

He leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

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Lori Lakin Hutchinson sheds frank and essential light on the reality of racism in America.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]},{"id":9495,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/grieving-the-space-between-us-video/","urlMeta":{"origin":36001,"position":2},"title":"Grieving the Space Between Us (video)","date":"January 21, 2014","format":false,"excerpt":"What happens when we choose anger and hatred over vulnerability and love? 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He finds there’s always room to face our hubris — and in that humbling experience, we find hope to do better the next time around."},{"property":"og:description","content":"Our columnist turns a critical eye to his own convictions about race and white privilege. He finds there’s always room to face our hubris — and in that humbling experience, we find hope to do better the next time around."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"Our columnist turns a critical eye to his own convictions about race and white privilege. He finds there’s always room to face our hubris — and in that humbling experience, we find hope to do better the next time around."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/945209480.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/945209480.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"Owning Up to My Toxic Biases | On Being","searchExclude":false}},"36368":{"id":36368,"date":"2017-11-01T16:31:25","modified":"2017-11-07T23:03:48","slug":"trent-gilliss-how-might-we-face-our-own-hubris-better","author":2,"title":"How Might We Face Our Own Hubris Better?","content":"\

Inquiry before advocacy. We are a project that values this approach to \living an examined life\. When we enter into any space with inquiry-based curiosity, we begin to understand ourselves and the issues we’re troubled by.\

\n\

We live in an era where anger is abundant — and understandably so. Gone unchecked, it can form a thick callus of certainty and self-righteousness. Columns by \Parker\, \Courtney\, and \Omid\ demonstrate how we might face our own hubris with courage, humility, and gratitude for our anger and gifts.\

\n\
\\\"\"\\
\\\\ (\Mari Lezhava\ / Unsplash / Public Domain Dedication (CC0)) \\\
\
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\Parker Palmer | \\\Owning Up to My Toxic Biases\\\
\nIf there’s one thing I know about Parker, it’s that he’s lived a life of self-introspection and self-criticism. And I think that’s what so many readers found appealing about his column this week: his willingness to challenge his own assumptions and privilege… even in his 78th year:\

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\“Anger isn’t the problem. The problem is getting hooked on anger — addicted to an emotion that gives you a fleeting high but leaves you feeling worse, all the while robbing you of well-being and creating an insatiable desire for the next hit. Being hooked saps me of energy and harms my health. Worse still, it diverts me from taking personal responsibility for what’s going on right now.”\\

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\\\"\"\\
\\\\ (Jefferson County Public Schools / Flickr ) \\\
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\Courtney Martin | \\\Three Tensions at the Heart of Fighting Racism as a White Person\\\
\nMaking change with renewed self-reflection and authenticity requires work. Dealing with the discomfort and the messiness of working for racial justice is where the lessons lie:\

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\

\“Look for signs of how we are affecting those around us. If you’re trying to make friends from a transactional, objectifying place, folks aren’t going to respond with warmth. Read the room.”\\

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\\\"Demonstrators\\
\\(\Tercio Teixeira\ / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved) \\\
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\Omid Safi | \\\How Can We Live Beautifully in an Age of Vitriol?\\\
\nIt’s difficult not to meet anger with anger. But, Omid asks, can we be better people and step away from a confrontation in which no one wins?\

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\

\“How do we live beautifully when so much of dialogue is ‘marketized’ based on how many people we can arouse to one side, immediately capitalizing on division and bifurcations? When conversation seems based less on listening and nuance and more on scoring points and eviscerating the perceived virtual opposition? Where is not just the common ground but the higher ground?”\\

\
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\\"\"\
\\\\\
\
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\Musa Okwonga | \\\Harvey Weinstein, and the Crisis in Masculinity\\\
\nThis post isn’t so much about the Hollywood producer and more about men of all kinds. Musa tells the brutal story of a friend (Mark) that left the author struck dumb:\

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\

\“I don’t think I had the perfect response to Mark. Nowhere near, and I’m not proud of it. And that is what this article is about, in a sense. It’s about not waiting to be perfect, it’s about doing the best work we can right now. It’s about drawing a line, and acting – about trying to make sure that men like Mark feel that little bit less entitled, so women can go about their lives in a little less danger. Since then I have tried to be better. And I am not naturally confrontational, so if I can do it then I am sure a lot of other men can too.”\\

\
\n\

May the wind always be at your back,\
\n\Trent\\

\n","excerpt":"\

A Harvard dean lists his five essential questions of life. Our editor-in-chief shares his key readings on the question of being better men, the gift of facing one’s hubris, and the challenge of living in a vitriolic age.\

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was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

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is a columnist for \On Being\. His column appears every \Thursday\.\

\n\

He leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","name":"Omid Safi","avatar":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"http://www.onbeing.org/column/omid-safi","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/omid-safi/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":36417,"slug":"courtney-martin-a-couple-of-truths-about-adulthood-that-no-one-tells-you","title":"A Couple of Truths About Adulthood That No One Tells You","date":"2017-11-02 16:01:10","path":"/blog/courtney-martin-a-couple-of-truths-about-adulthood-that-no-one-tells-you/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-a-couple-of-truths-about-adulthood-that-no-one-tells-you/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/33303923510_ef19023868_o.jpg","author":{"id":3,"slug":"courtneymartin","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her column appears every Friday.\

\n\

Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

\n","name":"Courtney E. Martin","avatar":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CourtneyMartin.jpg","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/courtneymartin/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@courtwrites","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-11-01T21:31:25","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=36368"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-11-08T04:03:48","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-how-might-we-face-our-own-hubris-better/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/686059254.jpg?fit=594%2C396&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"WELCH, WV - MAY 20: Ronald Collins waits in line for free groceries at the Five Loaves and Two Fishes Food Bank outside of the struggling coal mining town of Welch on May 20, 2017 in Welch, West Virginia. The popular food bank has a monthly distribution which helps hundreds of local families, many working in the coal industry, make ends meet. West Virginia, a state where President Donald Trump won in a landslide by defeating Hillary Clinton 67.9 percent to 26.2 percent, is also one of the nations poorest states where nearly one in five West Virginians struggled to afford basic necessities in 2015. The state has continued to see a surge in male unemployment and an epidemic of opioid use among its population. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)","photographer":"","photographerUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/686059254","license":"","photoUrl":"","imageLicenses":""},"path":"/blog/trent-gilliss-how-might-we-face-our-own-hubris-better/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"http://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-how-might-we-face-our-own-hubris-better/","disqusIdentifier":"36368 http://onbeing.org/?p=36368","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"How Might We Face Our Own Hubris Better?"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":9162,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/yes-another-flash-mob-anger-as-an-animating-force-holding-contradiction-trees-and-worlds-to-help-you-see-how-do-you-self-soothe/","urlMeta":{"origin":36368,"position":0},"title":"Yes, Another Flash Mob; Anger as an Animating Force; Holding Contradiction; Trees and Worlds to Help You See; How Do You Self-Soothe?","date":"September 28, 2014","format":false,"excerpt":"Our executive editor rounds up things seen and unseen — from poetry and trees to anger and rhythm.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]},{"id":8235,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/seeing-anger/","urlMeta":{"origin":36368,"position":1},"title":"Seeing Anger","date":"December 8, 2015","format":false,"excerpt":"Becoming fixated on a problem at the office or an injustice to others can often lead to intense anger. But, how do we avoid the narrowness of this emotion and not let it consume us?","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]},{"id":36001,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/parker-palmer-owning-up-to-my-toxic-biases/","urlMeta":{"origin":36368,"position":2},"title":"Owning Up to My Toxic Biases","date":"October 17, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"Our columnist turns a critical eye to his own convictions about race and white privilege. He finds there’s always room to face our hubris — and in that humbling experience, we find hope to do better the next time around.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"How Might We Face Our Own Hubris Better?"},{"property":"og:title","content":"How Might We Face Our Own Hubris Better?"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-how-might-we-face-our-own-hubris-better/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"How Might We Face Our Own Hubris Better?"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"Trent Gilliss with his curated column: on the question of being better men, the gift of facing one's hubris, and the challenge of living in a vitriolic age."},{"property":"og:description","content":"Trent Gilliss with his curated column: on the question of being better men, the gift of facing one's hubris, and the challenge of living in a vitriolic age."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"Trent Gilliss with his curated column: on the question of being better men, the gift of facing one's hubris, and the challenge of living in a vitriolic age."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/686059254.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/686059254.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"How Might We Face Our Own Hubris Better? | On Being","searchExclude":false}},"43317":{"id":43317,"date":"2018-02-09T15:11:44","modified":"2018-02-14T05:56:55","slug":"courtney-martin-the-problem-with-seeking-the-best-for-your-kids","author":3,"title":"The Problem with Seeking the Best for Your Kids","content":"\

Everyone wants the best for their kids. It’s an idea that almost no one — black, brown, or white, rich, poor, or something in between — would take issue with. In fact, most people think this is the bedrock of good parenting: pursuing the best for your own children at all costs.\

\n\

And yet, how often do we actually reckon with the real nature of those costs? When it’s all said and done, who pays the bill? Is the price right?\

\n\

The first time this tapeworm of a worry showed up I was sitting on a picnic table meant for toddlers, feeling very ill-prepared. I looked up at the owner of a private preschool in the \Rockridge\ neighborhood of Oakland and listened as she talked about the school’s commitment to “social justice.” It amounted to an annual fundraiser for poor families and \a rotating library of books with diverse protagonists\. She looked like someone who might be in my mom’s journaling group — white, in her 60s, unfussy, shoulder-length hair with plenty of unashamed gray.\

\n\

The two dozen parents scattered around her listened intently. You could almost see the wheels of strategy turning in their heads: \Is this school “the one,” and if so, how do I get my child in?\ They were all white, with a couple of Asian parents in the mix. When the owner asked if there were any questions, many of them asked about the pedagogical approach: How does the school handle introverts? How much unstructured time is there? Which foreign languages will the children be exposed to? They sounded very well-informed, but also painstakingly friendly. They wanted to be likable and memorable. They seemed to already know the unwritten rules of how to get opportunities in conditions of scarcity.\

\n\

Almost every preschool my partner and I contacted explained that they have very few spots open, that we were welcome to come on the tour but only with the understanding that the chance of being offered admission was very slim. It created a sort of city-wide preschool panic among the upper middle class. Frantic and still fairly new parents hypothesized as to what might actually endear a school to a particular family. Being likable, at the very least, seemed wise.\

\n\

Which is perhaps part of why I didn’t ask my questions, which were: How much does this place cost? Where are the black and brown parents? And if they’re not here, what does that mean?\

\n\

Later, I did some research on my own. That particular school cost $2,200 a month — $26,400 a year. Head Start, which is free, serves about 2,000 kids a year in Oakland, most of them kids of color (the city is 28 percent black and 25.4 percent Latinx). Some of the private schools I toured do have financial aid programs designed to diversify their student body. Which is great, of course. And not enough. One wonders how much these programs actually shift the racial and class dynamics at play in early education, as opposed to soothing the consciences of the mostly progressive, white parents who send their kids to schools that are unaffordable for most of the city’s families.\

\n\

Our daughter \ended up at a home-based “school”\ run by a family. It costs a fraction of the school we toured and doesn’t offer Mandarin or Tai Chi, but Maya seems genuinely happy and known there. Now four years old, she qualifies for transition kindergarten next year, so the tours have started all over, and this time, the stakes seem even higher. If we get her into “the right” school, then her younger sister will also get to go to that school. Our neighborhood school is 52.5 percent black, 19.9 percent Latinx, and 12 percent white and is “bad” according to all the official weights and measures. Parenting listservs are filled with cloaked, but ultimately clear warnings against sending your kid there. (Your white kid.) The neighborhood, traditionally working class black, has been rapidly gentrifying in the last decade or two. We’re part of the wave, having moved here just five years ago.\

\n\

So where does a parent like me, someone at an ethical crossroads in a time of racial and class upheaval, look for guidance?\

\n\

I don’t read a lot of parenting books. When I finally get my girls to sleep, all I want to do is read about childless women on daring adventures. But in a fit of desperation following one of my older daughter’s tantrums, I did order a stack of them. Sometimes I’ll pull one off the shelf and search for some insight. Almost without an exception, they are completely devoid of any discussions of the ethics of parenting, beyond the virtues of raising an empathic, nonviolent child (which does poor kids, socially segregated from your peaceful, compassionate kid a whole hell of a lot of good, it seems to me.)\

\n\

There isn’t even a stack of books to order and fail to read when it comes to my aspiration to parent in a way that actually challenges structural inequality. There are books on anti-racist parenting, most of which are painful to read. They feature endless lists of questions for self-reflection — “What are all my reference-group identities (race, ethnicity, national or regional origin of family ancestors, religion, gender, political affiliations, economic class, sexual orientation, ableness)? What does each mean to me? Which ones have most affected me at different points in my life?”\

\n\

This barrage of broad and overwhelming questions appears to be a hallmark of books aimed at white people fumbling to think and talk about race. I understand the authors’ intent — of course we can’t challenge structural racism if we haven’t scraped the scales from our own eyes while looking at our own lives. But that scraping, it seems to me, is never going to be inspired or internalized by a bulleted list.\

\n\

There are books on broader economic shifts and how parenting fits into that, like \Robert Putnam’s \Our Kids\\. These are worth reading, to be sure, but they take the de facto position that middle class parents are doing the right things for their own kids, just not the right things for everybody else’s kids — as if the two things aren’t related. The books don’t call anyone a “welfare queen” or a “deadbeat dad,” but the subtext is that parents experiencing poverty are screwing up.\

\n\

I can’t help but wonder — maybe all these white parents going on all these school tours are actually part of the problem? Maybe it’s not that parents of color should be on the tours, but that school tours shouldn’t be a thing at all? Maybe it’s these hoarding, anxious parents that are wrong while everyone else is just trying to live a decent life?\

\n\

I discussed some of the questions that were rattling around in my brain to my elder neighbor Louise recently over lunch. She doesn’t have children, so I described the conditions of the neighborhood school. I wondered aloud if the answer was to collectivize with other families to pledge to send our kids there and try to make it better. She nodded in her quiet way as she took a slurp of soup and then said, “It’s always better to join with others, but of course you also don’t want to go in with a colonial mindset — as if you all know what’s best for other people’s kids.”\

\n\

Louise, a white woman with nearly six decades under her belt of wrestling with her own racial conditioning, always has a way of kindly reminding me that I have much more wrestling to do.\

\n\

When I bring this issue up in various forms with parents I know that have older kids, a sort of resigned malaise takes over their faces and they almost always sigh audibly. These parents of pimply, emotionally-manipulative teenagers appear to see me, the parent of ratty-haired, emotionally-raw toddlers, as well-intentioned but in need of humbling. Just keep your own kids off drugs, they seem to be saying with their eyes. That’s enough work for one parenting lifetime.\

\n\

So far, I’ve gained the most from author, professor, and mother Eula Biss. If you haven’t listened to her interview with Krista Tippett yet, I recommend \the unedited version\. In an essay for \The New York Times\ called \“White Debt,”\ she writes: “Being white is easy, in that nobody is expected to think about being white, but this is exactly what makes me uneasy about it. Without thinking, I would say that believing I am white doesn’t cost me anything, that it’s pure profit, but I suspect that isn’t true. I suspect whiteness is costing me, as Baldwin would say, my moral life.”\

\n\

I crave that elusive, \white moral life\. For myself, but even more, for my kids. I don’t want to pass down a heap of good intentions and glaring contradictions.\

\n\

I can’t do this thing, this most important of important things, and not wonder about the political implications of my decisions. I want my kids to be happy and healthy, but I also want them to grow up with a sense that their mother is an unrelenting badass who fights inequity, not just with bumper stickers and sentiment, but with real, sometimes uncomfortable action. Four years into my own journey, I’m starting to grasp just how much parenting is a place where our values are most powerfully demonstrated, despite the fact that we publicly pretend as if it should be apolitical.\

\n\

Every person has to come to terms with — even if just to themselves — the gap between what they believe and how they live their lives. If you happen to be a parent, though, the gap can feel particularly wide and meaningful, the explanation even more garbled and urgent. Ultimately, you’re not just answering to your own conscience, but to your children. They will want to know, they might already want to know, why you did what you did. Why send them to this school? Why make the sometimes Herculean effort to get them into clean clothes and in these particular pews on a Sunday morning? Why live in this neighborhood? Why befriend these people and not those? Why care so deeply about certain rules and let other things go? Kids ultimately care, not just about how you shape them, but how your shaping of them shapes the world.\

\n\

I suspect that parents — largely white, economically privileged, and well-intentioned — have shirked their moral responsibility to the common good for decades under the cover of “everybody wants the best for their kids.” In a time of eroding public institutions and \soaring economic inequality\, we have normalized \a culture of private solutions\ whereby our children won’t have to endure the worst of American problems — public education, healthcare, criminal justice. By doing so, \we’ve\ inadvertently become one of the country’s biggest problems — a bloc standing between our current state when, as economist James Heckman puts it, “the biggest market failure of all,” is picking the “wrong” parents, and a more equitable future.\

\n\

But \knowing this and acting on it\ are two very different things. How do I make decisions that honor my children \and\ other people’s children? How do I avoid turning my kids into a political experiment? In the face of such massive structural inequity, is it self-righteous and/or foolhardy to focus on \individual decisions\? And how do I explore all of this — out loud or in writing — without making other parents feel judged? Or is the fear of offending our peers exactly what keeps us stuck in complicity to a system we know is broken and unfair?\

\n\

This essay will unfold over the next few months as a genuine journey. I want to travel it in conversation with you — the readers and listeners of this forum where nuance is prized and the ethical, examined life our common goal. I would love to interview parents who have made radical decisions outside of social norms, like sending your children to low-performing neighborhood public schools rather than pursuing more privileged options, or refusing to use your own connections to get your kids internships, or investing money into public goods — like community centers and parks — rather than enrichment opportunities for your own children. Do you ultimately stand by your decisions? What did you learn? How have your kids, your neighborhoods, your social worlds been affected?\

\n\

You can reach out to me at \[email protected]\.\

\n\

Biss also wrote that “whiteness is costing me my community.” Perhaps the whitest, richest thing one could do is attempt to pursue the moral life alone, as if it were a suburban home in our hearts that could be perfected with just the right amount of pruning. So let’s not do that. Let’s pursue it together.\

\n","excerpt":"\

How do our duties as citizens map onto our duties as parents? Courtney Martin on the tensions between what is best for her children and what’s best for the world. The first in a reported series on ethical parenting.\

\n","terms":[2,5403,747,33,298,794,37,10],"metadata":{"additionalAuthors":[],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":43314,"slug":"kristin-lin-community-and-the-complexities-of-presence","title":"Community and the Complexities of Presence","date":"2018-02-08 15:47:40","path":"/blog/kristin-lin-community-and-the-complexities-of-presence/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/kristin-lin-community-and-the-complexities-of-presence/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/540154_orig.jpg","author":{"id":1100,"slug":"klin","description":"\

\Growing up in a Buddhist, Taiwanese household in Texas, Kristin was always fascinated by the power of conversation to connect the many contrasting microcosms around her. She carried her curiosity for human experience to Chicago, where she studied political science at the University of Chicago and edited the campus's long-form investigative journal. It was during her runs along Lake Michigan that she started tuning into podcasts; she has been an avid fan of \On Being \ever since she listened to her first episode, featuring Yo-Yo Ma.\\

\n\

\Kristin has worked at UC Berkeley and \The Wall Street Journal\, where she helped produce, write, and report for diverse sets of audiences. She feels lucky to contribute to a program that has so deeply and joyfully enriched her understanding of humanity.\\

\n\

\When she's not listening to podcasts or reading, Kristin enjoys cooking for crowds, penning her advice column, and chasing wonder in nature. She is still trying to decide her favorite installment of Richard Linklater’s \Before\ trilogy.\\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\Growing up in a Buddhist, Taiwanese household in Texas, Kristin was always fascinated by the power of conversation to connect the many contrasting microcosms around her. She carried her curiosity for human experience to Chicago, where she studied political science at the University of Chicago and edited the campus's long-form investigative journal. It was during her runs along Lake Michigan that she started tuning into podcasts; she has been an avid fan of \On Being \ever since she listened to her first episode, featuring Yo-Yo Ma.\\

\n\

\Kristin has worked at UC Berkeley and \The Wall Street Journal\, where she helped produce, write, and report for diverse sets of audiences. She feels lucky to contribute to a program that has so deeply and joyfully enriched her understanding of humanity.\\

\n\

\When she's not listening to podcasts or reading, Kristin enjoys cooking for crowds, penning her advice column, and chasing wonder in nature. She is still trying to decide her favorite installment of Richard Linklater’s \Before\ trilogy.\\

\n","name":"Kristin Lin","avatar":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Kristin.jpg","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"[email protected]","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/klin/","positionTitle":"Editor, On Being Studios","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":43428,"slug":"parker-palmer-to-live-and-to-love-in-birdsong","title":"To Live and To Love in Birdsong","date":"2018-02-12 17:05:49","path":"/blog/parker-palmer-to-live-and-to-love-in-birdsong/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/parker-palmer-to-live-and-to-love-in-birdsong/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/vincent-van-zalinge-390780.jpg","author":{"id":4,"slug":"parker-j-palmer","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. His column appears every Wednesday.\

\n\

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the \Center for Courage & Renewal\. His books include \\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\, and \\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\. His book \\On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old\\ will be published in June.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is founder and senior partner of the \\Center for Courage & Renewal\\. His books include \\\Healing the Heart of Democracy\\\, \\\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\\, and \\\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\\.\\

\n","name":"Parker J. Palmer","avatar":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/•Parker-J.-Palmer-Photo—Sept.-2017.jpg","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Palmer","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/parker-j-palmer/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@ParkerJPalmer","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2018-02-09T21:11:44","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/"},"modifiedGmt":"2018-02-14T11:56:55","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-the-problem-with-seeking-the-best-for-your-kids/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/cel-lisboa-73969.jpg?fit=3960%2C2545&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"","photographer":"Cel Lisboa","photographerUrl":"https://unsplash.com/photos/us5m1-uOLfc","license":"Unsplash","photoUrl":"https://unsplash.com/photos/us5m1-uOLfc","imageLicenses":""},"path":"/blog/courtney-martin-the-problem-with-seeking-the-best-for-your-kids/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"http://onbeing.org/theres-only-one-script-now-2/","disqusIdentifier":"38492 http://onbeing.org/?p=38492","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"\"There’s only one script now!\""},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":7918,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/parenting-like-a-citizen/","urlMeta":{"origin":43317,"position":0},"title":"Parenting Like a Citizen","date":"April 8, 2016","format":false,"excerpt":"We're confronted with choices of wanting to do what's best for our children and our communities. But sometimes they come into conflict with each other. What do we do then? Courtney Martin on the intersections of public and personal life as she makes school choices for her daughter.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]},{"id":18203,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/a-white-parents-lament/","urlMeta":{"origin":43317,"position":1},"title":"A White Parent's Lament","date":"October 14, 2016","format":false,"excerpt":"Like all of us, Courtney Martin wants the best for her family, and rightly so. But from education to strollers, the best is often only accessible to a certain group. She reimagines responsible parenting as embodied care for one's own, as well as for the families of strangers.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]},{"id":18181,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/afflicting-the-comfortable/","urlMeta":{"origin":43317,"position":2},"title":"Afflicting the Comfortable","date":"October 7, 2016","format":false,"excerpt":"Courtney Martin on C. Nicole Mason's new memoir and turning toward what's uncomfortable to witness, and then acting on what we feel.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"The Problem with Seeking the Best for Your Kids"},{"property":"og:title","content":"The Problem with Seeking the Best for Your Kids"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-the-problem-with-seeking-the-best-for-your-kids/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"The Problem with Seeking the Best for Your Kids"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"How do our duties as citizens map onto our duties as parents? Courtney Martin on the tensions between what is best for her children and what's best for the world. The first in a reported series on ethical parenting."},{"property":"og:description","content":"How do our duties as citizens map onto our duties as parents? Courtney Martin on the tensions between what is best for her children and what's best for the world. The first in a reported series on ethical parenting."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"How do our duties as citizens map onto our duties as parents? Courtney Martin on the tensions between what is best for her children and what's best for the world. 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is a professor in the English Department at Northwestern University. Her books include \On Immunity: An Inoculation\ and \Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays\. This conversation was inspired by her \New York Times\ essay \“White Debt.”\\

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was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

\n","slug":"trent-gilliss","name":"Trent T. Gilliss","profileImage":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bio-trentgilliss_0.jpg","positionTitle":"founding executive editor of On Being Studios","guestDescription":"","hometown":"Minneapolis","postalZipCode":"55405","fellowYears":"","twitterHandle":"@TrentGilliss","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":"","avatarMap":{}},"3":{"id":3,"description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her column appears every Friday.\

\n\

Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","slug":"courtneymartin","name":"Courtney E. Martin","profileImage":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CourtneyMartin.jpg","positionTitle":"columnist","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

\n","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","twitterHandle":"@courtwrites","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":"","avatarMap":{}},"4":{"id":4,"description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. His column appears every Wednesday.\

\n\

He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the \Center for Courage & Renewal\. His books include \\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\, and \\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\. His book \\On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old\\ will be published in June.\

\n","slug":"parker-j-palmer","name":"Parker J. Palmer","profileImage":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/•Parker-J.-Palmer-Photo—Sept.-2017.jpg","positionTitle":"columnist","guestDescription":"\

\is founder and senior partner of the \\Center for Courage & Renewal\\. His books include \\\Healing the Heart of Democracy\\\, \\\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\\, and \\\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\\.\\

\n","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","twitterHandle":"@ParkerJPalmer","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":"","avatarMap":{}},"65":{"id":65,"description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. His column appears every \Thursday\.\

\n\

He leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","slug":"omid-safi","name":"Omid Safi","profileImage":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg","positionTitle":"Columnist","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":"","avatarMap":{}},"148":{"id":148,"description":"\

Marie grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and studied at New York University — where she picked up a degree in Media, Culture, and Communications, and a passion for media in the public service, in exchange for her ability to walk slowly. A voracious consumer of podcasts, she joined the team at \On Being\ to fulfill her dream of contributing to the kind of enlightening programming that has captivated her as a listener during so many long city strolls.\

\n\

Previously, Marie explored various avenues of media production — including television and documentary production, newspaper editing, and even a bit of pharmaceutical advertising.\

\n\

Her other obsessions include language, British comedy, large-breed dogs, documenting poignant and humorous moments that she encounters from day to day, and winning huge amounts of imaginary money while playing \Jeopardy!\ over dinner.\

\n","slug":"marie-sambilay","name":"Marie Sambilay","profileImage":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Marie.jpg","positionTitle":"Producer, On Being Studios","guestDescription":"","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","twitterHandle":"","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":"","avatarMap":{}},"262":{"id":262,"description":"\

is a Los Angeles native, Harvard graduate, former film studio executive, film and television writer/producer, and founder/editor-in-chief of the award-winning website \Good Black News\. She is also a wife, mother, vegetarian, crossword puzzle enthusiast, nerd, and avid music lover.\

\n","slug":"lori-lakin-hutcherson","name":"Lori Lakin Hutcherson","profileImage":"https://api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Lorion081608crop.jpg","positionTitle":"guest contributor","guestDescription":"","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","twitterHandle":"@goodblacknews","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":"","avatarMap":{}},"793":{"id":793,"description":"\

is the director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California at Berkeley. He previously directed the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University and the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of \Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society\.\

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