Blog Posts by Clyde W. Ford

A blog about writing, race, and technology.

Upcoming Seattle Area Events for Think Black

SEPTEMBER 19 at 12 NOON KUOW is one of Seattle's premier public radio stations. I'll be on host Bill Radke's noontime show, "The Record." Bill leads in-depth conversations about what matters today in Seattle and beyond, so I'm looking forward to our discussion about THINK BLACK . Even if you don't live in Seattle, tune-in to “The Record” ...
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A Literary Lion

On August 16, 2019, author Clyde W. Ford was named a "Literary Lion," by the Seattle-area King County Library System (KCLS) for 2019/2020. Each year KCLS chooses Northwest authors of merit, as "Literary Lions." This year, twenty authors were selected. Ford was named for Think Black , a memoir about his father, John Stanley Ford, the first Black sof...
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Life on the Rails: Finding My Grandfather

John Baptist Ford, my paternal grandfather, passed away five years before my birth. For many years, I knew only two facts about him: he'd been a Pullman porter and one of the first Black men to speak at Dartmouth College at the beginning of the 20 th century. In college, I dug into his history, finding one reference to the talk he'd given at Dartmo...
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Three Days of the Lion: Escaping the Grasp of the CIA

Spring 1968 drew out violence like a poultice drawing out poison from a snakebite. Two months after King's assassination in Memphis, Robert Kennedy was killed in Los Angeles. And only a few weeks after King's death, Columbia University erupted in student protest. At the time of the Columbia University uprising, I was a senior at Stuyvesant High Sch...
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Do You Really Want Me As A Houseguest?

In writing about her recent novel , Rules for Visiting , author Jessica Francis Kane asks, "Is it a good idea to invite someone into your home whose occupation it is to observe everything?" As a writer, and a trained psychotherapist, I need only ponder my time spent as a houseguest to apprehend the full meaning of Kane's insights. For my hosts, I j...
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Digital Literacy, Social Justice, and Race -- Part II

This is the conclusion of my blog on Digital Literacy, Social Justice and Race. When Microsoft released Tay, an artificial intelligence social media chatbot built to interact and learn from Twitter users, within a span of twenty-four hours the bot went from benign to anti-Semitic, racist, and misogynistic. When asked, "Did the Holocaust happen?" Ta...
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Digital Literacy, Social Justice and Race -- Part I.

Navigate to Microsoft's Bing search page ( www.bing.com ), and type in the phrase "black on white crime" (be sure to include the quotes to keep the words together in that order). When I did this on August 6, 2018, I received results very similar to those received by Dylann Roof, when he typed these same key words into the search engine on his brows...
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Let’s Talk About Race – Part II

This is part II of a two-part blog entitled, "Let's Talk About Race." If you missed part I, you can read it here . When people are willing to engage in a difficult conversation but do not know how, there are three tools I believe are essential: (1) Definitions; (2) Active Listening; and, (3) Engaging from the heart not the head. In my presentations...
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America’s zeitgeist: accepting intolerance, racism with a shrug

I prepared for this day thinking that my friend would arrive at the cafe dressed in a burqa as she had the last time I saw her. I fretted that someone might feel free to let loose their hatred and fear upon her; accost her verbally or physically, especially in light of a recent ban on immigration. I practiced what I would do. From bystander interve...
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Let's Talk About Race - Part I.

Reparations for slavery are in the news, thanks, in large part, to Democrats running for President and the Democratic majority in Congress. Even conservatives have joined in the discourse. Long-time conservative commentator, and New York Times columnist, David Brooks, has come out in favor of reparations . Conservative leader of the Republican Part...
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Race, Identity, and Writing

Excerpted from a talk given at the American Library Association Annual Convertion Sunday June 23, 2019, Washington, D.C.​ In 1949, Walter Winchell asked famed sportswriter Red Smith if he found it difficult to churn out a daily column. "Why, no," Smith dead-panned . "You simply sit down at the typewriter, open your veins, and bleed." Most writers, ...
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I'm Rejoining Social Media Prior to the 2020 Elections

I'm not a fan of FB or Twitter. To many who know me, this comes as no surprise. Although I joined FB earlier than most, in some cases, I've taken years to respond to FB messages. In other cases, I simply never have. I'm not a Luddite nor a technophobe. Quite the opposite. My father was the first Black software engineer in America, hired by IBM in 1...
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