Was Columbus White?

On another side of this holiday, we find another lesson: a lesson about whiteness.Columbus Day is often treated, on both sides, as the day that so-called white people discovered/conquered (see my previous post) non-whites.This is mistaken: in 1492 "white people" hadn't been invented yet. The invention of Whiteness didn't happen for several hundred years later.In the British colonies and Whiggish United States, Columbus --- and all of Spanish and Italian culture --- would never qualify as … [Read more...]

The Politics of Language on Columbus Day

The two Spanish words that summarize the predominant reading and counter-reading of Columbus Day are descubrimiento and conquista.Descubrimiento refers to that the word 'discovery' points to in English. It emphasizes the subjective experience of Columbus, Spain, and, by extension, Western Europe. Colonialism. When this subjective experience is glorified and placed into a colonial mythology, it becomes Columbus Day as we know it.Conquista refers to what the English word 'conquest' gets at. It … [Read more...]

Evangelizing the Evangelized: A Love Letter

Dearest Church,The Year of Faith is almost right on top of us. Don't you just love these goofy "years" we celebrate and observe together, on the somewhat arbitrary declarations of our popes? I sure do. There is nothing more serious than doing something arbitrarily, which begins to unlock the mad, Augustinian genius of faith: we know because we believe, not the other way around. In the days and months to come, expect lots from me on this Year of Faith stuff.But first, nostalgia:I recall … [Read more...]

Hola! Waves, Oceans, Tragedy

The huffing "h" sound  in the Spanish word 'hola' is silent, as a general rule. Except when it follows and combines with the letter c, creating the fourth letter of the Spanish alphabet: ch. Ch makes the sound of chocolate, nachos, and chocolate nachos. RoCHa. Cha. Not ca. The h isn't silent in my last name.Back to 'hola': the silent h makes it sound exactly like the word 'ola' --- wave.In English, a "wave" can be a sign, a gesture. A greeting or goodbye.  An hola. The physical gesture can b … [Read more...]

Class Notes

Foundations of Educational Thought — sixth meeting … [Read more...]

A Poem for Remus

My dear friend, Brad, has a beautiful greyhound dog named Remus. Remus was just diagnosed with cancer. I wrote the following poem for him: … [Read more...]


I am very happy and honored to announce the “change” I’ve been hinting about: I will soon be joining the Catholic Portal at Patheos. This photo will be the page header, custom designed by Mike Blaha, my longtime friend and an exceptional, multitalented artist. Check out his work at Blahagraphy. … [Read more...]

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patch. (Taken with Instagram) … [Read more...]

White Sedan

White sedan. (Taken with Instagram) … [Read more...]

Class Notes

Historical Foundations of Education — sixth meetingThe readings for last week were Emerson’s Self-Reliance and Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener. We began with the exercise that flopped on Moday: a comparison of animated mini-lectures by Sir Ken Robinson and Slavoj Zizek. The class seemed interested in it as more than an exercise, so we used Zizek’s call for a “soft apocalyptic” voice within the anti-capitalist discussion — a very overt critique of Leftist piety — to begin to understand the pov … [Read more...]