Reine Duell Bethany - Author and Illustrator

Recent Posts

Discussion of Race Relations Without Accusation
Marketability versus Intellectual Development
You can be wrong and still have a point
Undeserved EMplyment versus Hempstead Schoolchildren
How to Create a Gang Member (Or At Least Destroy a Child's Productivity)


Balanchine-related posts
Focus: Gangs
Joining the Battle against Racism and Colorism
Reine Duell Bethany drawings
Reine Duell Bethany's Poems
Reine Duell Bethany's Short Stories
Reine Duell Bethany's Songs
The Boneheads (cartoon series)
The Shu Factor
Unlocking the Writer in Every Student
Village of Hempstead
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My Blog

Joining the Battle against Racism and Colorism

Discussion of Race Relations Without Accusation

Jan. 26, 2020 --My research into Hempstead continues. I finished writing my novel, The Day America Turned Black, and am revising it while looking for agent representation. Meanwhile, as my research progresses, I get  insight into the murky part of racisim: people believing that they are not racist, but not realizing the racist matrix in which they live.
     I found an article from 1935 commending the Hempstead Harriet Tubman Club for setting up a home where up to 12 needy young Negresses could be housed. Negresses! Can you imagine such a term in use today? But back then, it was a term of respect. The white people of Hempstead seemed more concerned than in surrounding communities about the welfare of their Negro population. (Nobody says "Negro" anymore, either -- but back in 1935, it was, like Negress, a term of respect.) Hempstead' whites went to a lot of trouble to commend and aid efforts like the Harriet Tubman Club. The question is, were the nice white people doing anything like what the Harriet Tubman Club decided to do? 

Marketability versus Intellectual Development

In several articles that I have downloaded and kept in a file, a difference between black achievement early in the twentieth century and early in the twenty-first century is notable. It lies in the emphasis on education, which was heavier among black people in the first part of the twentieth century than in the second part. There were black lawyers and university professors during the 1800s and early to mid 1900s, at a time when education was segregated and black people were purposely sent to inferior schools during the days of Jim Crow.

Move over, Hurricane Harvey: Trump is a far more threatening disaster.

Not only did Trump pardon a criminal of a sheriff, Joe Arpaio, whose inhumane treatment of prisoners in Arizona did nothing to deter crime and everything to enforce racism. Now Trump has announced that he is lifting the ban on militarization of police weaponry that former President Barack Obama wisely imposed after the clashes in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. This move on Trump's part means that police could once more transition away from viewing themselves as part of communities whose citizens they help by fostering conflict resolution and by taking criminals off the streets.


My history book on Hempstead Village has consumed me, as well as the wedding of our fourth child on August 5.
      But nobody can ignore the dreadful events in Charlottesville this past Saturday, when a rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis arose to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee because of its symbolic endorsement of black slavery.
     Counter-protestors gathered in the morning while the alt-right groups also gathered. The encounters between them became so acrimonious that police separated the groups and canceled the rally.

Trevor Noah Talks About Racism He Experiences in the United States

Trevor Noah grew up in South America and moved to the United States after achieving fame as a hard-hitting comedian. He identifies as black, though his features could be mistaken for Hispanic or even Indian. If a man like this gets pulled over repeatedly by police when he has not committed any crimes or suffered car equipment failure, then racism definitely operates in police decision making!

Death Blow from the Inside Out

Once upon a time, someone I had trusted as a friend back-stabbed me. Since then, the places where I had encountered that friend became cues for remembering the pain of betrayal. I avoid those places and keep my face forward, disallowing those memories.
      But what if your cue for betrayal is your whole nation?
      I say this in reference to African Americans, but it surely applies in any location where a group has been singled out as the one to demean with impunity.

My Letter to the Editor of Long Island Newsday 4.19.17

Newsday is a terrific newspaper. In my role as Hempstead Village Historian, I find that my research is made easier because past historians have preserved countless Newsday clippings. The faithful detail with which Newsday reports on our village is awe-inspiring.
      But I don't agree with everything that the Newsday editors say about our village. In rebuttal to a Newsday editorial that approved the addition of many apartment units as part of our village revitalization, I wrote the following (and have recieved many compliments on it):

Unfortunately, Still Better to Be White

Today as I spoke to a friend who lives on my block, I learned something quite upsetting.
     I have long pondered my sense of safety here in Hempstead, New York. The village has a relatively high crime rate. Its 130-person police force is the third largest on Long Island; only the entire police forces in Nassau and Suffolk Counties outsize Hempstead's. Yet neither my family members nor I have ever suffered personal violence. We have suffered very little as far as robbery or vandalism, despite having resided here nearly 24 years.

Why Are Black Lives Not Better Overall?

Last night we watched the documentary by Ava DuVernay called13th. It is powerful. It connects the passage of the 13th amendment, which forbids constraint of one person by another or by society except when the person has been duly convicted of a crime. The 13th amendment abolished slavery throughout the United States. This documentary shows how black people were nonetheless further enslaved by means of the criminal justice system, whereby even minor offenses could result in long years of incarceration.

Should integration be the goal?

At the risk of sounding like a Jim Crow advocate, I have to wonder: Has the effort to integrate all the nonwhite groups with white fallen short by confusing integration with equal opportunity?
     Of course it is vital that people not keep sorting themselves into colors. I just worry, now, based on my reading, that not enough resources have been directed toward making opportunity equal, and too much resource has been directed toward blending everyone.
     One of the most commonly highlighted facts is that children seem to learn best from people of their own color, but there are not enough teachers of color.
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