Being a teenager is a time when many people take foolish risks and act stupid. In the world I came from, that was OK. Because I was white and privileged, I had time and space to grapple with my problems and the chance to fulfill my promise. Michael Brown, black and male, never will.
The current public debate and wave of articles about how colleges can do a better job of providing access to students from low-income families reminds me that for over a century, most colleges have had an affirmative action policy for rich, well-connected white kids. It is called "legacy" admissions.
In supporting Mike Brown, Washington NFL players spotlight need for solidarity for all races, not just one or some.
I'm white. Male. In my 30s. College Educated. From Iowa. I also teach African American Literature at a public high school in Los Angeles. Telling that to people I have just met usually gets a second look.
It doesn't much matter whether Donald Trump had a hand in blowing off Obama from his golf outing or not. The pattern of disrespect and denigration of Obama has been long set in stone. The golf snub is just the latest incident to fit the pattern.
I have learned a lot of really important things from my white friends. But I have also learned a lot of irrelevant things from my white friends. And although the learning appears to be irrelevant, this insider knowledge has come in quite handy, particularly in social situations.
It's next to impossible to get through the home-buying experience completely unscathed. Maybe you accidentally buy a house with mold in the basement (like I did) or you snag a condo across the street from what will soon be a multi-year redevelopment project.
When so called "reformers" like Campbell Brown try to make the case that tenure extends teachers an unfair guarantee of employment unlike other public servants, she is more than stretching the truth.
The reason for Robert McCullough's foot drag on or outright refusal to prosecute Darren Wilson strikes to the heart of why he and other prosecutors either won't prosecute officers or invariably blow the case against them the rare times they do.
"Ready to Die" is a multifaceted masterpiece, but its driving force is Biggie's supplication for America to recognize a young black man wrought with the fear and rage of existing in a life rooted in continuing stagnation.
My mother's parting words were about tear gas. 'If you're hit by some and can't breathe and your eyes begin to burn, cover your face with this cloth,' she said. It was 1968 and my family was living in Washington, D.C., where I was born.
Whether you're a first-time buyer or you've been around the block a few times, there are certain home buying mistakes that trip people up time and time again.
On one side of this discussion are those who are holding up the shooting of Michael Brown as an example of the racial inequality in this country and in the justice system in particular. On the other side of this discussion are those who see racism as a hoax to be disproved.
His latest project is a labor of love for him -- it's a documentary called Keep On Keepin' On that pays tribute to his mentor, trumpet legend Clark Terry as the 93-year-old struggles with failing health while still teaching another generation of musicians.
This move could result in the release of thousands of low-level federal inmates caught up in the drug war. For a president who, hitherto, had the most conservative pardon record in recent history (e.g. in Obama's first term, he pardoned 1 in 50 applicants, while Ronald Reagan pardoned 1 in 3), such a shift is noteworthy.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Maggie while she prepared to make her return to the runway and open one of the most highly anticipated shows of the season -- Michael Kors.
What is the company culture around Roger Goodell's NFL? It's profiting out of glamorizing lawbreakers.
It seems there hasn't been this many black journalists on TV since Trayvon Martin and therein lies the problem. Diversity in the newsroom is not only a necessity but needs to be constant.
"As women we always think, 'I want this. I want that.' I don't have a checklist. You all know me. You all know my personality. I'm like, 'Come on, Trump. Come on TV One. Find me somebody,' " she laughed.
Taping will start later this month, with the show set to premiere this fall, but, don't expect the show to be too similar to last season's competition.
"I think it's just different personalities, period," the Dayton, Ohio native said. "She's Omarosa and Toccara is Toccara. I think Omarosa's season was absolutely amazing, and that's one of the reasons why I signed up for this. I think I'm fun, outgoing, loud and spontaneous," she said. "I think these guys are going to court me and love me, and I just can't wait. That's my fantasy."
Toccara's last boyfriend was Atlantic Records President of Black Music Michael Kyser, who as of late has been rumored to be dating gossip blogger Necole Bitchie.
"Is he with Necole Bitchie?" Toccara mused. "I don't think he's with her, but he just told me that on the blogs they said that he bought Necole Bitchie some breasts. Does she have fake breasts? I don't even know. These people be making up these rumors."
Regardless of his relationship status, the buxom beauty still has a great deal of love and respect for Kyser.
"I think Kyser is absolutely amazing. Our relationship is and was absolutely amazing. He supports me in everything I do. Even with me doing this show now, he's very supportive to me as a friend, and I really value his advice," she revealed.
"He's my best friend. We talk about things. Even things that we don't want to talk about. We just have a really good relationship, and I think that's why I don't have any securities or anything. There's no need to. I'm single. He's single. He can date whoever he wants to date. I can date whoever I want to date."
When probed about whether she'd consider getting back with him if she doesn't find Mr. Right on television, she added, "I haven't ruled it out."
In her personal life, Toccara still manages to keep up with Banks "as much as I can" and a few of her 'Top Model' pals.
"Tyra is so much about her business and is so focused on her brand and everything, but she gives me great advice and is a great mentor. She never leaves me hanging. I love Tyra," she shared.
But she had no clue Tyra was currently enrolled at Harvard Business School.
"She's going to Harvard right now? She's smart, duh? She knows what she's doing," she joked.
"I think that 'America's Next Top Model' was such an amazing platform and opportunity for all the girls. I think we've all turned five minutes into an hour full of fame and have been very successful. Yaya [DaCosta] is doing her thing. She was just at my birthday in New York City and Eva [Marcille] is in L.A. and me and her still stay in touch, and she's wonderful," she said.
"But I think coming from where we're from, and of all the girls who have participated in 'America's Next Top Model,' and for you to be able to say YaYa, Eva and Toccara to stand apart from the pack is just absolutely amazing."