Hi There!

(For my Dutch-English translating and proofreading business, please go to my D-E Translating WordPress site. Thank you.)

Welcome to my blog.

I’m a 57-year-old Dutch immigrant. I didn’t come to America for a better life. My life was just peachy in the Netherlands. I came here for love — no other reason. I met my American husband while on vacation in Scotland. He tried to get a job in the private sector in Holland, but since he could only speak two languages — neither of them was Dutch and English really didn’t count, because everyone in the Netherlands can speak English –that wasn’t going well. So I moved to America. To the Rio Grande Valley first, and after twelve looooong, hot years we moved to Austin, where we’ve now lived for almost twelve years as well.

I love living in Austin but I’m chock-full of criticism of America in general. The Rockies bring me to tears, but so does the health care system. I’ve adopted Thanksgiving, but not the Pledge of Allegiance. If I seem elated and unbearably grouchy in sometimes dizzyingly quick succession, this is why.

I love the usual: my husband, my children, my friends and our pets. I hate heat, willful ignorance, bone spurs, spiders, and walking or cycling in place.

I collect raft books and I’ve developed a weird obsession with the bottoms of bridges.

When I lived in the Netherlands, twenty-three years ago, I loved hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end, and I walked and cycled everywhere. Now that I live in a pretty darn hot part of the U.S., with kids who have to be driven everywhere by car, I love reminiscing about hot tea, wild camping in Great Britain, gardening, reading for days on end and walking and cycling everywhere…

My blog is a crazy—some might say completely unhinged–collection of posts about any of the above-mentioned issues and then some. Nothing is sacred. I blatantly ignore all American no-nos. Which means I talk politics, religion, I don’t idolize  teachers and I swear (though not that much — well, maybe a bit more than usual since November 2016).

As you read my posts you might laugh, seethe, weep or shrug your shoulders. If you like a post, great. Let me know. If you hate a post, great, let me know. I like to think I’m always right, but don’t let that stop you from telling me if you disagree. We Dutch love a good debate.

If you want to know more about how I got here and an overview of how that’s been, visit my About page.

Otherwise, have at it!

(In my posts, I refer to my husband as T, my 21-year-old son as B, and my 18-year-old daughter as R.)

But That Was Then, This Is Now: Part 4: The Racial Wealth Gap

dsc_0024.jpgOkay, so African Americans were segregated at almost every level until the Civil Rights Movement. But since then they have no excuse for being less well off, and white people haven’t done anything to hold them back since then, have they? And what about white people? Aren’t they just as badly off as poor blacks?

Well, it just so happens that several studies were recently done on the subject, on which I will heavily rely for this post. But first a few things that made getting ahead harder for blacks before the Civil Rights Movement. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 3 A Little Property History

plantation houseThis is the third post in a series that started because of a white person’s question on Facebook: What have whites ever done to blacks —  after slavery — to keep them from succeeding? Don’t they have exactly the same opportunities as we?

Read the introduction to the series here.

(For this post I rely heavily on Ned and Constance Sublette’s eye-opeing book: The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry.)

In America, one of the main ways to build assets is through home ownership. In the previous post I already laid out the many ways government on every level, together with the housing industry, kept African Americans segregated from whites, how they kept them out of middle-class neighborhoods and how they refused to give them mortgages. A century of segregated neighborhoods, racially restrictive covenants and redlining have left African Americans far behind where home ownership is concerned.

If we’re going to talk about real estate, though, to really understand the scope of the injustice done to African Americans, we need to go back to the very beginning of white land use in America. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 2 Housing Inequality

redlining

Image: HousingWire.com

The first African-American disadvantage I want to address is housing, because housing determines access to education, healthcare, jobs, fresh vegetables, even, and the ability to build assets.  (For an introduction, see the previous post.) A lot of white people think, or like to think, that de jure segregation, i.e. based in law — the official segregation of blacks and whites — was something of the Deep South and the distant past, and that the segregation we see today ‘just happened’, because of black people’s personal choices and circumstances — that it’s voluntary, de facto segregation. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 1 Introduction

DSC_0072A while ago I saw someone ask, somewhere on Facebook, “But what have whites done, since the Civil War, to prevent blacks from succeeding? Why do we owe them anything?” So I got to work, thinking I’d write a post in which I’d neatly sum up, chronologically, all the ways whites have worked to systematically exclude blacks from the American dream. Continue reading

Trump’s Telephone Tangle, Untied

Fox and Friends interview Trump 4-26-2018

Image: mediamatters.org

In an interview, the interviewers generally ask questions and the interviewee answers as best he can. Here’s an analysis of Trump’s interview with Fox and friends this morning.

I listened to it, and then I listened to it again, writing down the questions and only anything, any combinations of words, that formed direct answers. I did need to paraphrase here and there. Then I timed my reading the questions and the actual answers: just a little over two minutes. The interview lasted thirty minutes, so obviously he said a whole lot more, but the rest of it was  just a lot of static and deflection and stream-of-consciousness filler. Continue reading

From Facebook to Flipboard: How I Avoid the Information Bubble

flipboard logo

Image: commons.wikipedia.org

So, Facebook is in the doghouse for letting Cambridge Analytica steal information from some fifty million people. This information may then have been used to manipulate voters in the 2016 presidential election. It’s not clear at this point to what degree that has happened, but this is what’s supposedly possible: Facebook has so much information on you, from all the little quizzes you take and from all the things you read and share and “like”, that when an analytics company gets its hands on that info, it can form a pretty detailed psychographic profile of you. Continue reading

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

Black America Show poster

Image: newyorkhistoryblog.org

I’m reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-Year History, by Kurt Anderson. He gives an inventory of all the ways (white) Americans have been more prone than Europeans to believe in big dreams, in get-rich-quick schemes, the supernatural, cure-alls, conspiracy theories, UFO sightings and other “alternative facts” from the beginning of white colonization up to the Trump presidency and America’s current “post-factual” society. It’s fascinating, and it confirms that I’m right when I argue with my American husband that UFO sightings are really mostly an American thing. Continue reading