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Sweden’s Santa Lucia celebrations marked by epistemic violence against children of African decent

Ask the average Swede what the Santa Lucia celebration is about in terms of its historical/religious significance; chances are they won’t be able to give you straight forward answer because the details escape their memory. Like the below video mentions, when it comes to this Swedish tradition, “the why is less important than the how”. This morning (13 December 2016), thousands of children (and adults)–including my own three year old son–celebrated Santa Lucia by singing songs and eating pepparkakor (i.e. ginger bread cookies) and lussekatter (i.e. saffron buns) afterwards. Unfortunately, however, this year (around the 4th of December) saw an ugly controversy emerge when a Swedish department store called Åhléns posted an advertisement on its Facebook page that featured a Swedish child of African descent wearing the usual costume worn by children on Santa Lucia (a white robe and a crown of candles). The picture received a storm of racist comments (and love by anti-racists) to the point where  Åhléns removed the picture in consideration of the child and his family. Apparently, some within the Swedish society …

The time for artists to go to work is NOW: Writing against Trump, writing for our children

I am absolutely devastated by the notion that Donald Trump will soon be the president of the United States of America, but I’m going to channel this devastation into a re-commitment to the values that I believe in, values that can summarized to mean LOVE, and I will do it through speaking and writing. Over the last few days, I’ve been feeling utter despair, which started accumulating before the US elections but reached its peak the day before the elections. When I reflect back on it, my inner conscious must have been telling me that the election of Donald Trump was inevitable as I panicked to get family members (who are US citizens) to vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite the fact that I agreed with them that she wasn’t the most ideal candidate. For me, it was a matter of putting aside grievances for the sake of humanity, because at least with Clinton as president, we would have a leader with life-long experience in advocating for positive change. I would have preferred Bernie Sanders, but like …

Wisdom in the Age of Information and the Importance of Storytelling in Making Sense of the World: An Animated Essay

Below is a video of an animated essay, the essay written and narrated by Maria Popova with animator Drew Christie. I’m posting it here on my blog because I believe it is a powerful explanation and demonstration of how people may cultivate true wisdom in the age of information through storytelling. I am also in full agreement that great storytellers matter more than ever in helping us make sense of this world. However, I hope that those who visit my blog and see this video are also encouraged to use information technology and/or storytelling to counteract grossly imbalanced public discourse. You may find the essay text in full below the video. We live in a world awash with information, but we seem to face a growing scarcity of wisdom. And what’s worse, we confuse the two. We believe that having access to more information produces more knowledge, which results in more wisdom. But, if anything, the opposite is true — more and more information without the proper context and interpretation only muddles our understanding of …

Reality Check: Why I think the World should End

So what can we do in the face of all of this madness and chaos? What is the solution?… We can love. Not the love you hear in your favorite song on the radio. I mean real love, true love, boundless love. You can love, love each other from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed. Performing act of kindness because that is contagious… …So yes, the world is coming to an end, and the path towards a new beginning starts within you.

Literature reflecting similarities of African migrants despite country of origin

He had not been back in Nigeria in years and perhaps he needed the consolation of those online groups, where small observations flared and blazed into attacks, personal insults flung back and forth. Ifemelu imagined the writers, Nigerians in bleak houses in America, their lives deadened by work, nursing their careful savings throughout the years so that they could visit home in December for a week, when they would arrive bearing suitcases of shoes and clothes and cheap watches, and see, in the eyes of their relatives, brightly burnished images of themselves. Afterwards they would return to America to fight on the Internet over their mythologies of home, because home was now a blurred place between here and there, and at least online they could ignore the awareness of how inconsequential they had become. (Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, pg. 117)