Frank Harris III of Hamden is a professor of journalism at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. His email address is frankhar ...

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Frank Harris III

Frank Harris III

Too Soon For Forgiveness In Charleston

Too Soon For Forgiveness In Charleston

July 2, 2015

Tears came to my eyes as I heard victims' relatives say they forgave Dylann Roof.

  • Why Be Black Like Rachel Dolezal?

    June 17, 2015

    Years ago, one of my journalism students said he would surprise me one day. This was close to 20 years ago and he had just had some experiences that opened his eyes, which forced his mind to follow.

  • Did Greenwich Yearbook Atrocity Authors Ever Change?

    June 4, 2015

    I recently sent a letter to five students of the Greenwich High School class of 1995. I wanted to find out how they have lived their lives in the 20 years since they wrote three words in their yearbook that shocked their community, the state and nation: "Kill all niggers."

  • Time To Bring Southern's Graduation Home

    May 20, 2015

    As I passed Southern Connecticut State University's recently renovated Buley Library, I paused and paid homage. It is a beautiful building. Spectacular.

  • Put Down Your Phone And Save My Black Life

    May 6, 2015

    I was thinking about Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Garner and other blacks across the country killed by police. I was thinking about their images posted on YouTube for the world to see. I was thinking about how I don't want to be like them.

  • Affleck Should Have Owned Slave-Owning Ancestor

    April 22, 2015

    I've never met Ben Affleck.

  • Seeking What's Right In Still-Racial America

    April 8, 2015

    Two weeks ago, I sat in my bed reading the early reports about the discovery of the body of a black man swinging in a tree in Mississippi.

  • Wrong About 'Hands Up' — But Right About Racism

    March 24, 2015

    When I saw the store video that preceded the shooting of Michael Brown last summer — the one showing Brown aggressively bullying the smaller store owner seeking to stop him as he allegedly stole cigarillos from the store — I thought it entirely plausible that Brown might have acted aggressively toward Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who fatally shot him.

  • Embracing The Bright Side Of Snow

    March 11, 2015

    I know it sounds kind of lame saying it with spring knocking on our door. But as I look out my window and see you melting away, I'm going to miss you, snow.

  • Part Of Loving America Is Making It Better

    February 25, 2015

    Frankly, I don't think anyone in America should question a black person about his or her love of country. So it angered me to hear Rudy Giuliani do just that in asserting that President Barack Obama does not love America. It angered me to hear him proclaim that Obama's pointing out America's faults is indicative of not loving America.

  • Masked Monsters Show The World Their Work

    February 10, 2015

    They burned him alive. Burned him alive in a cage. They turned it into a show — a show that everyone should watch.

  • 'American Sniper' Is Deeply Troubling Character

    January 28, 2015

    Several weeks ago, before I even thought about seeing "American Sniper," I was on a plane on a runway in Philly awaiting takeoff to New Haven. It was the last leg of several delayed and canceled flights that had seen me sleeping one night in Chicago's O'Hare Airport and spending half the day and night in Philly's. Now I had made it aboard after being No. 9 on standby. I sat back in my window seat, feeling lucky.

  • Would Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nonviolence Succeed Today?

    January 14, 2015

    I was thinking on this day, which would have been the 86th birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., how nonviolence would fare in our violent world.

  • As Parents Age, A Cherished Trip Home

    December 31, 2014

    Seeing my parents grow old is bittersweet.

  • What It Means When Whites Say 'Black Lives Matter'

    December 17, 2014

    Bearing witness to the sight of white and other nonblack Americans carrying signs saying "Black Lives Matter" in recent demonstrations over the deaths of young black men involving police officers took me back to the weekend, late-night shift at an Illinois fast-food restaurant.

  • How Black Men Are Perceived As Pit Bulls

    December 4, 2014

    We are the pit bull that is seen with wary eyes; if we come too close, then it's goodbye. Regardless of whether we are calm, courteous and nonthreatening in demeanor, we are deemed suspicious and dangerous, which makes it justifiable to put us down with a bullet or baton upside the crown, or a Taser or a choke until the neck is broke, or any other means deemed a necessity to preserve the sanctity of white skin.

  • Dark Is Beautiful — Erasing Skin Tone Bias

    November 19, 2014

    Dark is beautiful. When I first heard Indian actress, director and social activist Nandita Das say those words in reference to a campaign she is helping lead in India to eliminate the discrimination that nation has against those of a darker complexion, I had to smile.

  • Is 'Black-ish' Title Just Another Sambo's?

    October 8, 2014

    We left Chicago in a van heading for a camping trip in Michigan. I didn't really know my traveling companions, and my girlfriend at the time knew just two or three who were friends of friends.

  • Do We Want To See Beheading Videos Banned?

    September 10, 2014

    She said she came from another country where she had her own culture and own religion, but because of America's First Amendment, she could practice her religion here freely.

  • 'They See Us Differently': Dad's Words Echo

    August 27, 2014

    It's the summer of 1968. Dad is giving my older brother Ron and me the facts of life talk about being black in America in general, and with regard to the police in particular. Don't run, talk back, resist or make any sudden movements that would give the police a reason to beat you or shoot you. They see us differently.

  • The Four Rules To Getting A's

    August 13, 2014

    Aaaahhh. Back to school time is upon us. Such a time of promise and anticipation, and I, Easy A. Harris, am looking forward to giving every one of my students an A.

  • Sometimes Trouble Misses By A Whisker

    July 30, 2014

    I made my right turn just as the light turned green and felt a bump. It took a moment to realize we'd been rear-ended. Fortunately, the car behind us had not built up a head of steam. Still, it was jarring enough to startle me.

  • Our Nation Of Immigrants Forgets Its Past

    July 16, 2014

    Lady Liberty's lamp has been lowered. Its light flickering. The huddled masses are no longer wanted — be they tired or poor, be they homeless or hungry, be they adults or children threatened and yearning to breathe free.

  • Fireworks Release A Shower Of Memories

    July 1, 2014

    They lifted their heads as the first round of fireworks kissed the night sky.

  • New Mantra For The NBA — Sportsmanship

    June 18, 2014

    Crisp passing, an international roster, teamwork and a story line of redemption for last year's crushing defeat — these were, for many, the most impressive features of the recent NBA Finals in which the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the Miami Heat.

  • Put Bieber Joke In Context ... Yep, That Was Racist

    June 4, 2014

    Dear Justin Bieber:

  • Did Michael Sam's Kiss Cause Colorblindness?

    May 21, 2014

    I heard them behind me.

  • Nowadays, The Trash Man Comes Alone

    April 23, 2014

    As Hamden's new humongous garbage truck rumbled down my street a couple of months ago, kicking off the town's new collection system, I watched from my bedroom window like a kid.

  • No More Complaints — Everybody Gets An A

    April 9, 2014

    Nobody told me that teaching makes you crazy.

  • In Barry Bonds' Defense, There's Viagra

    March 26, 2014

    It struck me as presumptuous and self-righteous that columnist Bill O'Reilly blasted the San Francisco Giants earlier this month for allowing Barry Bonds to return as a hitting coach for a week.

  • NFL Right To Blow Whistle On Vile Word

    March 12, 2014

    I am standing on the field of the surreal.

  • Getting Everyone To Talk About The N-Word

    February 26, 2014

    "That's why I know no son or daughter of mine will ever be a nigger." — Ned (Thalmus Rasulala), from "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman"

  • Marijuana: From Reefer Madness To Legal

    February 12, 2014

    Dad made it quite clear: If he ever caught my older brother smoking reefer, he'd be out of the house. If Dad ever found the stuff in the house, he'd be out of the house.

  • Revolt Against Utility Chain Saws Stirs Connecticut's Trees

    January 29, 2014

    They got the message and it was loud and clear: It's not good to be a tree in Connecticut.

  • History's Getting Younger All The Time

    January 15, 2014

    Just yesterday, it seems, my nimble fingers were poised to type frowning red words on the first of a few midterm assignments from students in my fall online course "Race and the News."

  • Let Parishioners See The Jesus Of Many Colors

    December 31, 2013

    When I was a young boy growing up in a black Baptist church in Illinois, I remember sitting on the hard, smooth wooden pew surrounded by descendants of Africans. There were young kids like me, our skins glistening with Vaseline, and young adults like my parents, and older men and women with hair full of gray.

  • Black Or White, Treat 'N-Word' Equally

    December 4, 2013

    ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon recently offered this on his show, "Pardon the Interruption": "I, like a whole lot of people, use the 'n-word' all day, every day my whole life."

  • A Little Boy's Plan To Save The President

    November 20, 2013

    If they get me to Dallas, I can save the president.

  • Cubs Fan Longing For That Red Sox Magic

    November 6, 2013

    I am not given to envy.

  • Mom Never Warned About Tea Monsters

    October 9, 2013

    Dear Mom, There weren't any cliffs in the flat part of the Midwest where you and dad raised me. But that didn't stop you from warning me of the folly of following others over a cliff.

  • Looking For Safe Places In A Fearful World

    September 25, 2013

    It is easy to say there is no place safe anymore. Can't go to the mall now without thinking about Kenya. Can't go to a marathon without thinking about Boston.

  • Too-Conventional Slaughter Shames The World

    September 11, 2013

    Q. How many Jews in Germany have been killed or have committed suicide in the last seven or eight years? L.H.

  • People At Heart Of March For Dreams

    August 27, 2013

    Fifty years ago, my childhood buddies and I would pluck dandelions from the green grass, hold them close to our lips and blow.

  • An Unacceptable Word No Matter Who Says It

    August 14, 2013

    The word "nigger" keeps dancing on the high wire of the circus of race in America.

  • Zimmerman Juror Raises Race Questions

    July 31, 2013

    More so than her words about George Zimmerman getting away with murder, I was taken aback at the sight of Juror B-29.

  • Zimmerman Free: Verdict Echoes History

    July 14, 2013


  • Judging The Users Of A Racist Word

    July 3, 2013

    If George Zimmerman had uttered what Paula Deen 'fessed up to saying, the verdict in his trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin would be a foregone conclusion.

  • Withholding Homicide Photos Wrong Choice

    June 5, 2013

    It was a lot to suggest –- that Newtown parents voluntarily show the gruesome pictures of their slaughtered children.

  • Obama Accountable For Troubling Questions

    May 22, 2013

    Not since the killing of Trayvon Martin has the nation heard the president speak as long and directly about blacks and his experience as a black man as he did at Morehouse College's commencement ceremony last weekend.

  • Thankfully, There Is No Right To Own Bombs

    April 24, 2013

    In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, I was thinking how thankful we, the American people, should be that the right to bear bombs was not included in the Second Amendment.

  • Exposing Wrongdoing Serves The People

    April 10, 2013

    There will always be an inherent conflict between a government that wants to guard its information, and journalists and citizens who want access to it.

  • Black Males Must Aim For Academic Top

    March 27, 2013

    "As anyone who has watched the better colored teams will tell you — a good

  • Fight For Freedom Leaves Ugly Chapters

    March 13, 2013

    Triumphantly they passed beneath the confetti-filled sky as a jubilant crowd lined the streets.

  • Getting Control Of Guns For All Americans

    February 27, 2013

    "If The Civil Rights era has to be mentioned at all in the current gun debate, it's that the U.S. would be safer if blacks had stayed at the back of the bus — without access to firearms."

  • Sandy Hook Pictures Would Change Debate

    January 30, 2013

    "The mutilated face of the victim was left untouched by morticians at the mother's request. She said she wanted 'all the world' to witness the atrocity."

  • America Must Focus On Curbing All Guns

    January 16, 2013

    Like the addict who dies of a potent overdose, the other addicts want some of that.

  • Enjoying Each Moment With My Daughters

    December 19, 2012

    On the day after the Newtown massacre, my two youngest daughters and I rode a horse-drawn carriage around the New Haven Green. We had seen it as we drove past the big Christmas tree and from their car seats in the back they had said, "Can we ride?"

  • Derek Jeter Is Still Playing The Game The Right Way

    August 29, 2012

    Once upon a time in baseball, it was easy to enjoy greatness.

  • Health Care Battle Reflects Slavery's Legacy

    July 3, 2012

    "If a Slave lives four years, he has earned his Purchase-money, consequently you may afford to work him to death in that time."

  • Speaking Up To Strangers Who Offend

    May 23, 2012

    In between the learning, there were a number of grade school pranks my classmates and I would play at Whittier Elementary in Waukegan, Ill. — like writing something clever on a small piece of paper, sticking tape or paste on the other side and discreetly placing it on the seat of the unsuspecting classmate who failed to look before sitting.

  • The Sooner Hayes Is Executed, The Better

    November 11, 2010

    The killer shall be killed — so said the jury in the Cheshire home invasion murder case.