Category Archives: Ethical Dilemmas
The men and women moved slowly past the prostrate women in her eighties. She repeated a modified sun salutation and prayer for peace several times in the aisle, even as a dozen or so latecomers passed her as they made their way to their seats. And then the woman stood up, hands pressed together in a sign of peace and compassion and returned to her seat using her cane for assistance.
All this time, the room remained rather hushed with four thousands hearts and minds fixated on the stage, awaiting the words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This woman was physically doing what so many of us longed to do. We longed to match the peace and compassion of this global religious figure in action. Instead most of us just sat in awe of his demeanor and superb eloquence. Read the rest of this entry
Last Sunday, a controversial art piece in Stockholm’s Moderna Museet set off a firestorm of controversy throughout the world. Afro-Swedish artist Makode Linde created and participated in the piece, which has explicit undertones of race, which most have deemed racist in nature. I have a heavy heart as I reflect on this piece, attempting to humbly consider whether there is a time when we must stand up against certain expressions of art. This is what brought me to this difficult state of reflection:
“Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth (Swedish Minister of Culture) was invited to open the festivities by performing a clitoridectomy on the cake, which she did by slicing off the part of the cake depicting female genitalia. She then proceeded to feed that part of the cake to a performance artist, done up in blackface, his head protruding through the table.” As the video below indicates, the artist screams in excruciating “pain” as the knife slices at the genital regions of the cake, adding an auditory element to the artistic experience. And it was an experience. In many pictures taken, men and women stand around sipping their wine, as they watch with smiles and laughter at the “shock art” before them. Read the rest of this entry
As the 2012 presidential campaign season heats up, race is once again slowly seeping into the unhealed wounds of this country’s troubling history. President Barack Obama will face a Republican Party that has been salivating at the thoughts of dethroning him from what they have considered an illegitimate presidency since Day 1. And while there are certainly some issues that need to be worked out regarding who the republican opponent will be in November, the groundwork for a nasty political season is already being laid.
Race was clearly a prominent issue in the 2008 presidential election, when conservative groups and even politicians implicitly and explicitly targeted Obama’s multiracial identity for malevolent purposes. Whether through the Birther movement, racist poster signs, or linking then Senator Obama’s character to his relationship to his predominantly black religious community on the south side of Chicago, it is evident that this country is by no means in a post-racial age. However, when considering the racial issues that may arise or may continue beyond the election regarding unresolved racial issues, I think it is towards a different demographic that we should look that is equally, if not more, perpetuating the racism that plagues both this campaign and country, in general. Read the rest of this entry
On Tuesday, a critical victory came in the national movement toward LGBT equality, as a federal appeals panel ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Prop 8, which was a voter created amendment to the California state constitution, has been the face of the marriage equality fight for the past several years since its passage in November of 2008.
For some time now, it seems as if the road to marriage equality will not be from a top-down approach (federal legislative action), but rather as a slow, meticulous journey from liberal state to liberal state, to moderate to moderate, and perhaps one day to more conservative states, as well. This has been relatively successful. In the last eight years since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage, a total of six states plus D.C. now have laws on the books affirming equality. On Monday, Washington state will become the seventh state to tie the equality not. However, now that Prop 8 has been struck down, and as the dust settles from the celebrations that span from San Diego to San Francisco and throughout the rest of the country, a greater, meta-discourse is found in its wake. Read the rest of this entry