in sixth grade my homeroom teacher caught this kid stephen saying, “that’s so gay.”
so he told the class that for the rest of the week, anytime you wanted to express something negatively, you could say, “that’s so stephen.”
and it started out as a joke, where even this stephen kid was going around using it, laughing at it, not really caring. it was funny, i guess.
but then one of his friends got a bad mark on a test and said, “that’s so stephen.”
we had a blacktop recess and everyone kept saying, “that’s so stephen.”
and when we got too loud doing groupwork and had to separate and work silently, everyone in the class kept muttering, “that’s so stephen.”
and the weirdest part was that even though it was just a word we were using, even though it had nothing to do with stephen, we all sort of blamed stephen.
and as everyone kept using “that’s so stephen,” all week, you could see stephen himself finding it less and less funny. we played a game called “pamplemousse” in french class and everyone got stephen out right away if they could. someone literally went and found one of stephen’s art projects when nobody else was around and ruined it so he had to start over.
and when my homeroom teacher found out about it, he sat everyone down and told us that it wasn’t okay to say “that’s so stephen” anymore. that the things we’d been blaming him for weren’t his fault and the things we’d been doing to him weren’t fair.
he told us that stephen couldn’t help it that he was stephen. he didn’t choose to be stephen. he was born stephen.
and that’s when it clicked.
we all felt pretty stupid, i think, for sort of falling for it, but i’ll be damned if i’ve ever had a teacher get a lesson across so utterly and completely as mr. bernard did.
Callie was extra special because she identified as bisexual, actually said the word “bisexual” out loud on television. She had deep, life-changing relationships with men and women. But Grey’s Anatomy‘s writers never leaned into the tired, damaging tropes. She wasn’t a psychopath. She wasn’t depraved. She wasn’t unable to commit or remain monogamous. She wasn’t a prop for a threesome, a ratings stunt, or a gateway for the male gaze. Callie was a complicated, fully-realized woman who loved men and later recognized she loved women too. And she refused to apologize for either. Bisexuality wasn’t a stepping stone for Callie—it was a very real identity, and the writers allowed her to own it.
It stops only to a second later flutter like the wings of a hummingbird
against his ribcage. The noise of the crowd melts into an intangible buzzing in
his ears. He stares at the picture and he knows he should question the reason
for why his body has suddenly gone haywire, but he doesn’t.
Because he knows those eyes,
would recognize them anywhere, and now they are staring back at him from a
picture on a wall.
Reunited AU. Harry Styles met Louis Tomlinson at the age of 6. At the age of 23 he lost him. What happens when he meets him again 36 years later?
By Daryl Davis, September 29 at 6:00 AM:Daryl
Davis, author of “Klan-Destine Relationships,” and subject of the
documentary “Accidental Courtesy,” is an award-winning musician, actor,
lecturer and race relations expert.
night in 1983, I found myself playing in a country band at a truck stop
lounge. I was the only black person in the joint. Taking a break after
the first set of music, I was headed to sit at a table with my bandmates
when a white gentleman approached from behind and put his arm around my
shoulders. “I really enjoy y’all’s music,” he said. I shook his hand
and thanked him. “This is the first time I ever heard a black man play
piano like Jerry Lee Lewis,” he continued.
I told him that Lewis
was a friend of mine and that he had learned his style from watching and
listening to black blues and boogie-woogie pianists. My new fan didn’t
buy it, but he did want to buy me a drink. While we sipped, he clinked
my glass and said, “This is the first time I ever sat down and had a
drink with a black man.”
Why? “I’m a member of the Ku Klux Klan,”
he said. I burst out laughing. Then he handed me his KKK membership
card, and I recognized the Klan’s symbols. In that moment, I was
overcome by a question: How could anybody hate me when they didn’t even
was no stranger to racism. Having grown up a black person in the ’60s
and ’70s, I knew that prejudice was common. But I had never understood
why. Sitting in that lounge with my new friend, I decided to figure it
out in the only way that made sense: By getting to know those who felt
hostility toward black people without ever having known any.
years later, I recruited that man, whose name was Frank James, to put
me in contact with the grand dragon of the Maryland Klan. He tried to
deter me, warning that the leader would kill me. But eventually, after I
promised not to reveal how I’d gotten the grand dragon’s contact
information, James gave it to me.
By then I had decided to
travel around the country and interview KKK leaders and members from
various chapters and factions to get the answer to my question: How can
you hate someone you’ve never met? I was planning to write a book
detailing my interviews, experiences and encounters with these Ku Klux
Klan members. (The book, “Klan-Destine Relationships,” was published in 1998.)
had my white secretary, who typically booked my band and assisted me
with my music business, set up a meeting with the Maryland grand dragon,
explaining that her boss was writing a book on the Klan and would like
his input. Per my instructions, she did not reveal the color of my skin.
grand dragon agreed to participate, and we secured a room at a
Frederck, Maryland motel, where my secretary filled an ice bucket with
cans of soda so I could offer my guest a drink. Regardless of how and
what he felt about me, if he entered my room after seeing the color of
my skin, I was going to treat him with hospitality.
to the minute, there was a knock on the door. The grand nighthawk (the
grand dragon’s bodyguard) entered first, and then the dragon himself.
“Hello,” I began, “I’m Daryl Davis.” I offered my palm, and the dragon
shook my hand as he and the nighthawk introduced themselves. The dragon
sat in the chair I had set out, and the nighthawk stood at attention
were both apprehensive of the other, and the interview started
haltingly. We discussed what he had hoped to achieve by joining the
Klan; what his thoughts were on blacks, Asians, Jews and Hispanics; and
whether he thought it would ever be possible for different races to get
along. A little while later, we heard an inexplicable crackling noise
and we both tensed. The dragon and I stared each other in the eye,
silently asking, “What did you just do?” The nighthawk reached for his
gun. Nobody spoke. I barely breathed.
Seated atop the
dresser, my secretary realized what had happened: The ice in the bucket
had started to melt, causing the soda cans to shift. It happened again,
and we all began laughing. From there, the interview went on without a hitch.
was a perfect illustration that ignorance breeds fear and possibly
violence. An unknown noise in an ice bucket could’ve led to gunfire, had
we not taken a moment to understand what we were encountering.
though the grand dragon, who now prefers not to be named, had told me
he knew that white people were superior to blacks, our dialogue
continued over the years. He would visit me in my home, and I would
eventually be a guest in his. We would share many meals together, even
though he thought I was inferior. Within a couple of years, he rose to
the rank of imperial wizard, the top national leadership position in the
Over the past 30 years, I have come to know hundreds of
white supremacists, from KKK members, neo-Nazis and white nationalists
to those who call themselves alt-right. Some were good people with wrong
beliefs, and others were bad people hellbent on violence and the
destruction of those who were non-Aryan.
There was Bob White, a
grand dragon for Maryland who served four years in prison for conspiring
to bomb a synagogue in Baltimore, where he had been a police officer.
When he got out, he returned to the Klan and later went back to prison
for three more years for assaulting two black men with a shotgun,
evidently intent on murder. But after I reached out to him with a letter
while he was in prison for the second time, Bob became a very good
friend, renounced the Klan and attended my wedding.
Wizard Frank Ancona, who headed one of the largest Klan groups in the
country, would also become a very close friend. When Frank was killed
this year (his wife and stepson have been charged with his murder), one
of his Klan members, knowing how close we had been, called me and told
me before notifying the police. I accepted the Klan’s invitation to
participate in his funeral service.
weeks after this summer’s violent clash in Charlottesville, I was
invited by the leaders of the Tennessee and Kentucky chapters of
Ancona’s branch of the Klan to speak at their national Konvocation. I
accepted, spoke and took audience questions after the lecture. Whether
or not anyone there immediately changed their minds, we talked as people
— and we all benefitted from that.
I am not so naive as to think
everyone will change. There are certainly those who will go to their
graves as hateful, violent racists. I never set out certain that I would
convert anyone. I just wanted to have a conversation and ask, “How can
you hate me when you don’t even know me?” What I’ve learned is that
whether or not I’ve changed minds, talking can still relieve tensions.
I’ve seen firsthand that when two enemies are talking, they are not
fighting. They may be yelling and beating their fists on the table, but
at least they are talking. Violence happens only when talking has
And sometimes, people do change. One day in 1999, after
having been in the Ku Klux Klan for about 20 years, the Klan leader
from the motel interview, whom I watched go from grand dragon to
imperial wizard, called me, said he was leaving the Klan and apologized
for having been a member. He told me he could no longer hate people. I
had not turned out to be what he had always thought of black people. He
went on to become one of my best friends, and today I own his robe and
hood — one set of many in my collection of garments donated to me by
apostate Klansmen and Klanswomen,