Understanding Privilege

As we pass through yet another period of increased racial tension in our nation’s history, we hear a lot of conversation around the idea of “privilege.” Privilege is understood differently by different people. For the purpose of this essay, privilege is the set of blessings we enjoy, which are not a result of our own hard work or our personal choices.

YouTube has several videos centered on privilege, some much better than others. Recently I came across a video published by Creator Studios on October 11, 2017. I will share the link below, but first I would like to share some thoughts with you.

Unfair race

When the Second Continental Congress voted for independence in 1776, they proclaimed, “All men are created equal.” But are we? Continue reading

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Have it Your Way: Whopper Jr. vs. High School Jr.

Burger King has a must-see video on YouTube. It has earned nearly four million hits in less than a month. You’re going to want to see it, but before you do, please read…

Burger King employees filmed an experiment in one of their restaurants where they bullied a Whopper Jr. and they bullied a high school junior. They wanted to see which one would garner the most complaints.

Bully Jr Picture

In full view of real adult customers, a group of high school students bullied another student—both verbally and physically. At the same time, they served hamburgers to adults which had been bullied (smashed) by employees. 

Can you predict the percentages? Continue reading

Julia Ioffe: Modern Day American Refugee

Julia Ioffe is an American journalist who covers national security and foreign policy topics for The Atlantic.

On January 29, 2017, she published an article entitled, “This is What It’s Like to Come to the United States as a Refugee.”

Julia Ioffe

The piece is a first-person essay that brings to light the very personal emotions Ioffe faced as a refugee immigrant to this nation, immigrating here from the Soviet Union. Her words slice through political policy and help us understand the heart-wrenching feelings refugees endure. Continue reading

Don’t Reject Immigrants; We Need Them, They Enrich Us

During an American Naturalization Ceremony in 1984, the keynote speaker gave the following speech:

“Fifty million immigrants came to this country in the last 200 years. Some of the most recent have crawled over walls and under barbed wire and through mine fields, and some of them risked their lives in makeshift boats.

“And all of them have added to the sum total of what your new country is. They gave us their traditions. They gave us their words. They enlivened the national life with new ideas and new blood…

“We don’t reject them. We need them. They enrich us.”

Who was this progressive sympathizer who so strongly supported immigration and naturalization?

Naturalization Ceremony

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Origins of White Supremacy

Last month I came across a YouTube video entitled, Understanding White Supremacy (And How to Defeat It). It is an interesting post that runs just over three minutes. You can get to it by clicking HERE.

Origins of White Supremacy

The piece was published on September 12, 2017, and has garnered just over 1,000 views. It was posted by acttv, which states on the site: “Do more than watch. Your home for progressive, action-oriented video from a grassroots, social-media community.” Continue reading

Climbing My Family Tree, Part 26

Immigrant Thomas Burgess I & Dorothy

The Burgess family line was one of the most challenging for me to investigate to date. There is a great deal of confusing and conflicting information regarding the origin of the family name. After careful research, the following captures my best understanding of this branch of my family tree.

Thomas Burgess I (my ten times great-grandfather), was born in West Tanfield, Yorkshire, England in 1603. He arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637. He briefly lived in Salem, Lynn, and Duxbury, before settling in Sandwich. He became a well-respected townsman and acquired a great deal of land.

Thomas Burgess, Jr. left the Plymouth Colony and moved to Newport, Rhode Island in 1661, where the family remained for two more generations until Benjamin Burgess (my six times great-grandfather) moved to from Newport, Rhode Island to Newport, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Benjamin Burgess

Benjamin Burgess, Wayne, Maine, aged 101 years, 9 months

 

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Coming to America

When I look in the mirror, I see an American immigrant. And yet, how can that be?

I am a white male, I hold an advanced college degree, I speak fluent English, I am 55 years old.

Aren’t immigrants people of color? Don’t they only speak foreign languages? Aren’t they younger and less educated? Those are the stereotypes.

Statue of Liberty

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