In the Shadow of the Confederate Flag

By Karen Petree

The Confederate Flag is an undeniable part of my heritage. It’s one of the six flags that have flown over my home state of Texas, where I sit to write this. It waves over theme parks I visited as a child, and the more well-known battle flag peppers old cemeteries where fallen soldiers rest. Under the shadow of this flag is a part of my heritage I once ignored or overlooked. Under the shadow of this flag I’ve locked my doors at red lights or moved to the other side of the street. Under the shadow of this flag, I’ve averted my eyes and feigned an uncomfortable obliviousness to racial euphemisms. Under the shadow of this flag, I’ve avoided close relationships with African-Americans, discomforted by the glare of privilege their observable experience mirrored back at my whiteness.

Continue reading “In the Shadow of the Confederate Flag”

Advertisements

Law Will Let Texas Teachers Use Deadly Force against Students

By Karen Petree

opinion

classroomA newly introduced Texas law would allow teachers to kill their students.

Texas Republican state representative Dan Flynn submitted HB 868, The Teacher Protection Act, to the state legislature on January 22.  “An educator is justified in using force or deadly force on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event in defense of students of the school that employs the educator if, under the circumstances as the educator reasonably believes them to be, the educator would be justified under Section 9.31, 9.32 or 9.33, Penal Code, in using force of deadly force, as applicable, in defense of the educator or students.”

Continue reading “Law Will Let Texas Teachers Use Deadly Force against Students”

Just Looking

By Karen Petree

2048px-Stroop_Report_-_Warsaw_Ghetto_Uprising_06bHe’s not looking at me directly, as if he’s too afraid. But I don’t want him to. I stare at him apprehensively where he’s frozen for 1/100th of a second in 1943.

Though there are a lot of people in the group of Jews being evacuated from the Warsaw Ghetto, the boy is the main subject. He is a bit separated from the group, many of whom seem terrified but caught up in the action of moving. His hands are held in the air as if he were playing the bad guy in a child’s cops-and-robbers game. But his expression is one of dark fear most Americans are unaccustomed to seeing on the face of a child.

Continue reading “Just Looking”

I am not skinny.

By Karen Petree

IMG_3478Fifteen years ago, I might have been delighted for another woman to call me skinny.  Thank God that changed.

I’ve met skinny.  It’s the street kid in Cambodia who doesn’t eat regularly or the grown man who does 12 hours of manual labor for half the calories the average American consumes in a day. I am not “skinny,” and when you tell me that I am, it is not a compliment.  It’s insulting that you would point out to people that you think I am so vain that I make a conscious effort to shun the food I am so blessed to have access to.

Continue reading “I am not skinny.”

What’s Wrong with the Redskins?

By Karen Petree

Photo by Washington Redskins photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by Washington Redskins photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I don’t think many football fans give the image in the Redskins jersey much thought.  Football is about tackles and yardage and touchdowns. The Redskins are the guys who brought home three NFL championships and three Superbowl rings.  They’ve been the Redskins for over eighty years.  So why does it matter what they’re called?

Continue reading “What’s Wrong with the Redskins?”