Thursday, November 26, 2020

Are you as grateful as you deserve to be?

  As a physician, I have helped to care for many patients and families whose lives have been turned upside down by serious illnesses and injuries. In the throes of such catastrophes, it can be difficult to find cause for anything but lament. Yet Thanksgiving presents us with an opportunity to develop one of the healthiest, most life-affirming, and convivial of all habits – that of counting and rejoicing in our blessings.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

How advertising shaped Thanksgiving as we know it

  I have always been intrigued by Thanksgiving – the traditions, the meal, the idea of a holiday that is simply about being thankful.

  For my family, Thanksgiving is all about the food. Some foods, like turkey and mashed potatoes, may be familiar. But there are a few twists. Since I grew up in the Caribbean, I’m allowed a Caribbean dish or two. The reliability of the menu – with a little flexibility sprinkled in – seems to unite us as a family while acknowledging our different cultural backgrounds.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Joseph O. Patton: Taking back Thanksgiving!

  I am genuinely elated to report that I have survived another Thanksgiving… or rather what remains of this rapidly deteriorating national holiday. I ate, I watched football, I napped. God ordained back in the Plymouth Rock days that we adhere to this sacred ritual, right? And doing so enables me to show my Turkey Day pride, get my festive gobble-gobble swerve thang on, but mostly just suffer from indigestion as a result of all that sweet, blessed gluttony.

  But increasingly each year something else is ominously creeping into the view from my yam-tinted glasses, vulgarly tinkling on my Thanksgiving joy and ruthlessly pushing all the pilgrim imagery to the side - its name: Christmas.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Why we have globalization to thank for Thanksgiving

  As Americans sit down to their Thanksgiving Day feasts, some may recall the story of the “Pilgrim Fathers” who founded one of the first English settlements in North America in 1620 at what is today the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

  The history we know is one of English settlers seeking religious freedom in a New World but instead finding “a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men.”

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The complicated legacy of the Pilgrims is finally coming to light 400 years after they landed in Plymouth

  The 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ voyage to Plymouth will be celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic with a “remembrance ceremony” with state and local officials and a museum exhibit in Plymouth, England. IBM has even outfitted a replica of the Mayflower with an AI navigating system that will allow the ship to trace the course of the original journey without any humans on board.

  Yet as a scholar of early 17th-century New England, I’ve always been puzzled by the glory heaped on the Pilgrims and their settlement in Plymouth.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Why the Pilgrims were actually able to survive

  Sometime in the autumn of 1621, a group of English Pilgrims who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean and created a colony called New Plymouth celebrated their first harvest.

  They hosted a group of about 90 Wampanoags, their Algonquian-speaking neighbors. Together, migrants and Natives feasted for three days on corn, venison, and fowl.

  In their bountiful yield, the Pilgrims likely saw a divine hand at work.

Friday, November 20, 2020

‘A New Dawn’: How four young Black activists powered a movement to remove Confederate emblem from Mississippi flag

  On the day of the demonstration, Jarrius Adams stood in front of the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion in Jackson, where the state flag bearing an image of the “rebel flag” of the Confederacy flew to his left. Scores of people lined the street, eager to hear Adams speak as they marched elbow to elbow in solidarity for Black lives. Drones circled overhead, and supporters held signs, one reading “Racism is a Virus.” The demonstration would be called one of the largest in Mississippi’s history. Its success would bring historic change that had long eluded civil rights activists.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

On environmental protection, Biden’s election will mean a 180-degree turn from Trump policies

  The Trump administration has waged what I and many other legal experts view as an all-out assault on the nation’s environmental laws for the past four years. Decisions at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department, and other agencies have weakened the guardrails that protect our nation’s air, water, and public lands and have sided with industry rather than advocating for public health and the environment.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Once a symbol of desegregation, Ruby Bridges’ school now reflects another battle engulfing public education

  On Nov. 14, 1960, after a long summer and autumn of volleys between the Louisiana Legislature and the federal courts, Ruby Bridges, a 6-year-old Black girl, was allowed to enroll in an all-white school. Accompanied by federal marshals, Bridges entered William Frantz Public School – a small neighborhood school in New Orleans’ Upper Ninth Ward.

  If that building’s walls could talk, they certainly would tell the well-known story of its desegregation. But those same walls could tell another story, too. That story is about continued racism as well as efforts to dismantle and privatize public education in America over the past six decades.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Matrix is already here: Social media promised to connect us, but left us isolated, scared and tribal

  About a year ago, I began to follow my interest in health and fitness on Instagram. Soon I began to see more and more fitness-related accounts, groups, posts, and ads. I kept clicking and following, and eventually, my Instagram became all about fit people, fitness and motivational material, and advertisements. Does this sound familiar?

  While the algorithms and my brain kept me scrolling on the endless feeds, I was reminded of what digital marketers like to say: “Money is in the list.” That is, the more customized your group, people, and page follows, the less time and money is needed to sell you related ideas. Instead, brand ambassadors will do the work, spreading products, ideas, and ideologies with passion and free of charge.