Monthly archive March, 2013
Putting a Human Face on Climate Change

Putting a Human Face on Climate Change

Talk of climate change seems to be everywhere these days. From elected officials in Washington, DC, to the farmers of rural India, people hold wildly divergent opinions about the ways climate change is affecting our lives, and the impact it will have in the future. In spite of widespread disagreement, many people are already seeing the consequences of climate change in the form of more storms, less rainfall, and severe flooding in their countries. Although the slower-onset disasters may be imperceptible to some, the rising sea levels, higher global temperatures, and food shortages are being endured by many.

Birthday Reflections on Obsessive Reading

Birthday Reflections on Obsessive Reading

I discovered I had bibliophilic tendencies when I was a child, and though I'd like to attribute this trait to precocious proclivities, it was more likely the personal pan pizza BOOK IT!® awards my elementary school gave out for reading. I grew up on a household where fast food was a luxury my single mother could not afford. So, in order to earn a dinnertime treat for my sisters and me, I would obsessively read.

‘I Love My Culture and My People’

‘I Love My Culture and My People’

Feeling connected to my country and to all its citizens is consistent with my progressive beliefs, in particular because Americanness can be — even though it hasn’t always been — an inclusive form of national identity. Americanness can offer a model whereby people of every imaginable background see themselves as part of a single community, a model that stands in powerful contrast to fundamentalism and hate. That's the kind of identity that builds bridges rather than walls. And that’s the kind of America I can wholeheartedly love.

Nothing You See Is What It Seems: A Review of Amy Wilentz’s Farewell, Fred Voodoo

Nothing You See Is What It Seems: A Review of Amy Wilentz’s Farewell, Fred Voodoo

In her deeply personal account of life in post-earthquake Haiti, journalist Amy Wilentz looks at how outsiders' distorted views of the country have misrepresented its culture and history and encumbered its progress.

Transforming a Culture of Violence

Transforming a Culture of Violence

Last month after a dinner, I was sitting in my friend’s car, and for the first time in our two-year relationship, we discussed our shared experience of growing up with abusive fathers and abused mothers who did nothing to save us. Recently, I’ve been making an effort to be more transparent about the experiences I had growing up, opening up in ways that go beyond the obligatory statement that my dad isn’t a nice man. “How do you explain this to people?” I asked my friend. “How do you explain that you were terrorized by your parent when you were a kid, continue to endure their abuse as an adult, and still go out of your way to help and care for them?” My friend, who finds himself in oddly similar circumstances to mine, replied, “You can’t explain it. It’s cultural.”

Violence against Women: An In The Fray Retrospective for International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women's Day, tonight In The Fray tweeted links from stories we've published over the past decade that relate to violence against women. We joined thousands of other individuals and groups in a twenty-four-­hour, global tweet-­a-thon to raise awareness about gender-­based violence. In case you were asleep during our time slot, here are the links we tweeted:

Breaking the Silence, by April D. Boland

When Rape Becomes Normal, by Anna Sussman and Jonathan Jones

Naked Feminists: A Conversation with Director Louisa Achille, by Laura Nathan-Garner

Gender Outlaws, by Emily Alpert

Genocide Is Not a Spectator Sport, by Anustup Nayak

Sisters of Fate, by Sarah Marian Seltzer

Look below the fold for the tweets.

Hate and Extremism: An Annual Report

Hate and Extremism: An Annual Report

The topline numbers in the recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center are not good. There are now more hard-right, antigovernment “Patriot” groups than there were at the movement’s previous heyday in the mid-1990s. The number of hate groups identified by the SPLC has been on a steady climb over the past dozen years.

The Art of Race War

The Art of Race War

The fear of a race war is clearly delusional, but it draws strength from the half-truths and outlandish comments that reverberate in the partisan media's echo chamber. For example, black nationalist leader Louis Farrakhan said in a recent interview that the film Django Unchained — a fictional account of a freed slave seeking retribution — is “preparation for a race war.” Conservative media — from Rush Limbaugh to Fox News to Breitbart.com — breathlessly spread word of Farrakhan’s remarks. With pundits so willing to piece together high-level conspiracies out of random shouts and murmurs, it’s no wonder our politics have become so toxic.

Stages Steeped in Blood: A Brief History of Violent Artistic Rivalry

Stages Steeped in Blood: A Brief History of Violent Artistic Rivalry

Three men carried out an acid attack on the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director in January, police say, and one of the celebrated company's dancers has now confessed. But the Bolshoi is not unique in the intensity of its artistic jealousies. From Moscow to London to New York, all the world's a blood-drenched stage.

Best of In The Fray 2012

Best of In The Fray 2012

My apologies for the procrastination — it's an occupational hazard of volunteer work — but here are the editors' picks for the best articles published in In The Fray magazine in 2012. (Actually, since December 2011, when we relaunched the site after a year's hiatus.)

Commentary: The Road Less Traveled, by Lita Wong

News: Freed, but Scarred, by Francesca Crozier-Fitzgerald

Photo Essay: Capitalism Reborn: An East African Story, by Jonathan Kalan

Review: Havel: An Authentic Life, by Jan Vihan

If you like the thoughtful, empathetic journalism that we believe these articles represent, please consider making a donation to In The Fray. Any amount helps. Thanks for your support!

Muslims Defend Free Speech of Anti-Muslim Extremist

Diversity isn’t easy. It’s even harder in countries like Denmark that have, until recently, had very few immigrants from Muslim countries. When you add religion to the mix of language and culture, it’s still harder. Throw in the tensions between Muslims and the West in a post-9/11 world, and now you’re talking about a really daunting challenge. But it is a challenge Europeans, Americans, and every diverse society must overcome. And seeing this kind of progress in Denmark, coming from some of the same people who were at the center of fomenting violence in 2006 — well, that gives me reason to hope.