Category: ethnicity, racism, multiculturalism

Boundary Bound

Once, when I thought my days were numbered, I had a peculiar desire. Before I die, I want to walk around New Mexico, exactly on the boundary. Circumambulating my home state would be an inane ritual. Maybe I would put on whiteface and wear a clown suit. I didn’t die and the ritual didn’t happen….

Why the “White Man” Can’t Dance

When I was turning 50, I signed up for an African dance course in Boulder, Colorado. Some of the dances, the teacher said, were “social,” some “sacred” or “ritualistic.” One afternoon during class I shorted out. The feet and hips couldn’t remember their assigned movements. The ass wouldn’t shake, and the drummer’s fine rhythms refused…

More Wisdom from the Walk of Wisdom

A Dialogue with Damiaan Messing and Ron Grimes

Ron: Damiaan, the story you tell in a previous post is hopeful, but usually there is a backstory, sometimes, not so hopeful. Is there a backstory?

Damiaan: Although we have a working pilgrimage around Nijmegen, it has not matched my expectations: to inspire to sustainability. My sense is that most people in pilgrimages such as the Walk of Wisdom or the Santiago pilgrimage are preoccupied with their own stories, for which the foundational story is just a foil….

What Color is Ecology?

I’m interviewing my daughter. She’s seven, her top front teeth have been snatched by a fairy, and this is a Big Questions video, a tradition our family has carried on for twenty-five years. I ask what kind of person she is, prompting her with a few options. I tease her by asking if she is…

Trudeau in Blackface

Snippets from a dialogue about Trudeau, blackface, brownface: Steve: Just wondering what you thought of the Trudeau affair [wearing blackface]? I was disturbed by what he did, the age he did it at and where he did it. It laid open so much of what is in all of us. What bothers me the most…

Responses to “The backsides of white souls”

Below are responses, edited slightly for clarity, to “The Backsides of White Souls.” There’s nothing like a story told by the Keeper of the House of the Dead!–You cut through life’s rawness and seduce the reader into realizing there’s a moment in each paragraph where they can think to themselves, “I know what he’s talking…

The backsides of white souls

The backsides of white souls Ronald L. Grimes Black History month starts on February 1, so I am re-posting this essay from its original publication in Canadian Notes and Queries (CNQ). A selection of films for Black History Month: National Film Board of Canada. For background on the writing of this essay see “Sleeping with…

Holocaust remembrance

  Remembrance is supposed to be good for a community, but much depends how those who remember actually remember. The Daily Beast reports on Mike Pence’s way of remembering the Holocaust: “Many Jews have pointed out that Pence, who is an evangelical Christian, imposes a Christian narrative on the Holocaust, comparing victims of the Holocaust to Jesus. His tweet…

On spiritual yearning in the west

  Vine Deloria Jr. (March 26, 1933 – November 13, 2005) was a Hunkpapa Lakota scholar, author, historian, and activist. For samples of his writings see Spirit and Reason: The Vine Delolria, Jr. Reader. These two interviews are some of his most thoughtful and critical reflections on spirituality and native people. Follow this link for an article I…

A daughter’s song

Everybody dies, and lots of people immigrate. But few Muslims marry Jews, and Mohawks rarely cross the river to conduct Condolence ceremonies among non-natives. Why? “A Daughter’s Song” doesn’t quite answer the question, but it captures what happens when such events coincide. Three months after the death of Myriam Azoulay, Mohawks, invited by artists affiliated…

The day the clock stopped

Norwegians sometimes refer to July 22, 2011, as their “9/11,” the day their perceptions were changed forever by an act of violence. An assassin exploded a car bomb beneath a government building in Oslo, then ferried to Utoya island, where he hunted down and shot Labour Party youth attending a summer camp. In the end,…

At the crossroads

Turning 25, musician Bryn Scott-Grimes visits Robert Johnson’s grave site. Later, he visits the crossroads where Johnson, the story goes, sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical mastery.

Sleeping with the author

by Susan Scott & Ron Grimes first published in The New Quarterly,   “When it comes to fighting against white supremacy, it’s not just what you stand for, it’s who you sit with.” –Jamaya Khan, Maclean’s, August 16, 2017 “Now, mind, I recognize no dichotomy between art and protest.” –Ralph Ellison, Paris Review Spring, 1957   Editing…

How shall we say no?

Susan, Bryn, and I attended the Women’s March, 2016, in Toronto. Cailleah had to work.

There were 60,000 of us who said an across-the-border no to Donald Trump.

Is democracy lost? We hope not.

If so, Leonard Cohen says it’s coming soon.
Doesn’t he?
Is it coming?
or coming back?
or, having left, returning?