The longest paper I wrote in college was on rescuers in the Holocaust. Who were these people, what drove them to put themselves at risk for others, whThe longest paper I wrote in college was on rescuers in the Holocaust. Who were these people, what drove them to put themselves at risk for others, what gave them the courage/foresight to defy cultural norms, would I be as noble? Two major psychological studies were conducted on rescuers in the Holocaust and concluded that all rescuers had 3 common experiences: 1) Socially marginalized (As an outsider they identified with other outsider groups) 2) A morally strong parent ("Mom donated food to the hungry. Helping just seemed like the right thing to do.") 3) Tolerance for risk in other areas of life.
Sarah Grimke was an abolitionist, suffragist and has the three rescuer traits - but her rescue is of her slave Hetty. On Sarah's 11th birthday, Hetty (also a child) is given to her as a birthday present. But Sarah treats her like a sister, teaches her to read, and helps Hetty on the road to freedom. The book alternates between Sarah and Hetty's narrative. While Hetty is legally a slave, Sarah is captive to her families expectations, prejudice against women, and her own self-doubt. Hetty, in many ways, is more free than Sarah.
This is a great read on women's rights, slavery, history and morality. "What is the right thing to do?" is colored by the values of the times we live in. Sarah has the foresight and courage to do what feels right, irrespective of societal and cultural values. ...more
Be resilient, get your mind right, get your body right, and more general self-helpy stuff. Nothing unique here except Russell Simmons actually does aBe resilient, get your mind right, get your body right, and more general self-helpy stuff. Nothing unique here except Russell Simmons actually does a lot of yoga. Who woulda guessed?...more
You don't have to like hip-hop, you just have to appreciate openness and honesty. That's what Common's story is about - a spirit of openness to the woYou don't have to like hip-hop, you just have to appreciate openness and honesty. That's what Common's story is about - a spirit of openness to the world. Open to learning from books, people, and experiences. That openness allows new ideas to take root in his soul, and through the lens of those new values he his open to reexamining his life and iterating a better version of himself.
Common is a great rapper (Jay-Z raps a verse and says, "I wanna rhyme like Common"), but more importantly, he is a person in evolution and includes us in his journey. He confesses to hiding his talents under the guise of humility, being unbalanced and losing his identity in relationships, and articulates experiences that most of us go through and may not even have realized it.
I like his declaration of being a man. "A man believes in something and stands for it - does his best to practice what he believes - can be honest and strong-can be emotional without fear - loves himself, knows himself and will be himself in every situation - he's not afraid - he's open - open to growing."
The father of Black History Month, Woodson started Black History Week in 1926. A newly freed slave should receive education, but what is the utility oThe father of Black History Month, Woodson started Black History Week in 1926. A newly freed slave should receive education, but what is the utility of a liberal education ? Liber is latin for free; the education available to every free man. It is also the education to free your mind. Philosophy, science, history, and the humanities (which are called such because they are what differentiates us as human and the study of humanizes us).
However, how useful is a man's knowledge of Plato in an agricultural economy? While Woodson studied the classics at Harvard, his peer had a vocational education in wool and has multiplied earning power.
Woodson grapples with this debate and encourages his fellow Black aristocrats and intellectuals to do all they can to uplift his race.
"The problem of holding the Negro down, therefore, is easily solved. When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary"...more