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.

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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.

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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?

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What Rush Limbaugh doesn’t understand about Twitter

Only Rush Limbaugh would make the movement to save the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls a party issue.  Limbaugh’s latest harangue involves a photo of Michelle Obama holding a sign that reads “Bring Back our Girls.”

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Arkansas Arms its Teachers

School day mornings at my elementary school smelled like Folger’s coffee.  For six years, bright-eyed, happy teachers greeted me as I strolled into the classroom with or without my homework.  With or without toothpaste on my face.  With or without my socks and underwear on right-side out.  They waited for me at the front of the classroom with their coffee and their lesson plans.

Every once in a while, Mrs. E, who was barely taller than the third graders she taught, got up from her perch in front of the overhead projector, her face lit up, and she’d energetically shake her whole body as she cried out, “pizzazz!” twanging the last syllable. I didn’t understand exactly what pizzazz was, but it seemed to beam down through her and out onto us.

But I don’t think she would’ve shaken it so vigorously with a gun on her hip.

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