TRM Blog: Race, gender and religion? Or ego, pride and control? Real-life intersectionality in Grinnell

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GRINNELL, IA — The straight white male history teacher could not have been more repentant. “I drew incorrect conclusions …. I misinterpreted … I did not paint an accurate picture,” he said of an attack letter he wrote about efforts to make Grinnell-Newburg’s public school curriculum more diverse and welcoming. “I failed to reach out… failed to take the time …. misinterpreted… had preconceived notions,” said Kent Kastendick. On he went, in at least 17 different ways, trying to pull back the wave of anger, suspicion and fear he inspired…

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Front-lines teacher raised in Iowa remembers few childhood chances to meet, know People of Color

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At a time when straight white men are leading so many fights against diversity, some straight white men are fighting the good fight. They include Kent Mick, a Grinnell High School history teacher who grew up in Humboldt, Ia., and has taught public schools in Iowa for most of his life. Mick knows from personal experience that being a native Iowan can mean little to no experience interacting with People of Color, even today. He recalls “barely being exposed to People of Color” as a child and teen, and said…

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Misguided anti-meth bill has regressive, anti-art, anti-business impacts

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Add yet another Republican-driven, over-reaching, and misinformed piece of legislation to the Iowa Legislature’s list of bad ideas this year: a 40 percent tax on glass pipes, plus several more increased costs and licensures. Proposed under the guise of slowing the damage of highly addictive methamphetamine, the bill if passed would instead hurt hundreds of small businesses across the state, opponents say. They predict it would drive out the glass art industry altogether, and further marginalize Iowa in the budding cannabis industry as states around Iowa move toward embracing the…

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Burst of events provides intersectional end to Black History Month

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St. Louis is filled with nationally significant Black History: it’s where Dred Scott and his wife Harriet began their fight against slavery in 1847, where Josephine Baker kicked off her amazing blues career, and where tennis great Arthur Ashe grew up. It’s also within miles of where, in 2014, the late Michael Brown unwillingly kicked off the current Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality, when an officer shot him in Ferguson, to the east of St. Louis. This city near the border of Illinois is pioneering the mapping of…

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Groups ramp up, seek help, to fight Iowa’s anti-LGBTQ bills

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DES MOINES — If you’d like to join the fight against a rash of anti-LGBTQ bills proposed by Republican state legislators this year, two of Iowa’s leading civil rights groups are providing three chances to get involved within the next week. “Moral Mondays Iowa: The State That Loves to Hate” will feature State Rep. Liz Bennett, D-Cedar Rapids, and leaders of Iowa Safe Schools and One Iowa Action. They’ll educate Iowans Monday on the 14 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year in the Iowa State Legislature. Then, on Wednesday, the One…

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Key City Pride in Dubuque moves forward with diverse tone starting Feb. 6

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DUBUQUE — Key City Pride is moving forth with at least five months of events through June, starting with a Black History Month drag showcase Feb. 6. Featuring drag performers from Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, the Feb. 6 showcase will be offered both in-person, and through Facebook. For those partaking of limited capacity tickets, temperatures will be checked at the door and masks are required, says event organizer Río S. Suãvé. “COVID will tell us,” Suãvé said, emphasizing that all planned Key City Pride events are held contingent on what…

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EDITORIAL: The Biden-Harris era as an antidote to nihilism, full-spectrum

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Today’s the start of the Biden-Harris era. But more importantly, let’s make it the “End of Nihilism” era. Nihilism, the belief that everything is hopeless, is the ugliest ‘ism of all. It encompasses all the other ‘isms, encouraging a belief that nothing matters and there is no hope for a better world. It’s the one ‘ism that has the danger of uniting the far right AND the far left, white and Black, mystical pagans and fundamentalist Christians, jacked-up young adults and the frail elderly. Nihilism got a lot of fuel,…

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From Willis & Rainey to MLK Youth Summits: A week filled with timely events

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Sandwiched between the historic attempted insurrection two weeks ago and the coming Presidential Inauguration, today may be one of the most significant Martin Luther King Jr. Days in decades. So it’s only fitting that events honoring the day extend all week and into next week, in many online forms, and also throughout Iowa and Illinois. On the new TRM Calendar (updated today), our top pick for the week is a free viewing of “I Am Not Your Negro.” Showing at anytime through Thursday, this film is a documentary on author…

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“Basic ethical principle that is equally good for everyone” is focus of two-parter

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Please partake of the information in this two-part attempt to close out The Real MainStream‘s commentary and analysis on the topics covered below! It’s been a tough conversation, but one focused (as the “Careless Whispers” blog states) on “a basic ethical principle that is equally good for everyone, including you.” Links provided: “Iowa City, Put Down Those Pitchforks:” Original Jan. 9 editorial Also, for broader context about The Real MainStream, here are links to other recent articles about other topics: • “Kindness Queers,” “queerantine kits” provide relief to LGBTQIA youth…

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Social justice pioneer Kesho Scott resumes outreach to small Iowa communities

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CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s been eight months since George Floyd’s death triggered nationwide historic protests against racial injustice and police brutality. But the work of memorializing him, and so many other people victimized by inappropriate policing, isn’t over, says Kesho Scott. Tonight at 7 p.m., from Cedar Rapids, Scott will lead an online memorial of Floyd, resuming a series she began this summer at the invitation of seven small Iowa towns.  The retired Grinnell College professor has worked for decades on behalf of social justice, including on the streets of…

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