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3 months ago

Irshad Manji
Here's a question to jump-start the week: What does it take to discuss faith, justice and politics without melting down? That's exactly what I'll be addressing tonight at @susquehannau. But instead of a lecture, this is going to be an unscripted, real-time, live-action experiment: three students will join me onstage. We'll be asking — and answering — taboo questions about identity. At certain points in our free-wheeling convo, I'll turn to the eavesdropping audience and offer tips on how to deal with moments of high anxiety, awkward tension, or outright division, so that everybody has a takeaway to practice later on.In the final phase of this experiment, the students and I will invite honest comments and questions from the audience. Emphasize: honest. It's all on the table.If our experiment succeeds, not only will everyone leave with more to think about, but they'll also feel better equipped to start necessary dialogues — on campus, at home, and beyond.And if our experiment fails? Simple: We'll learn. Which is exactly what college is for. ... See MoreSee Less
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4 months ago

Irshad Manji
Valentine’s Day can be tough when you’ve lost the love of your life, as I did almost 5 years ago.Her name was Lily, aka Lilybean, Ms. Lil, and Lilikoi (Hawaiian passion fruit). On this day, I press a memento of Lil’s against my chest because that’s I keep my shattered heart intact.The radiant graphic that you see here was created by @mbrown9401, a truly talented artist whom I met in #Kalamazoo, Michigan. Thank you for this gift, Maddy. You’ve captured my grief and gratitude in perfect proportion.To those who are mourning today, take strength: I have it on good authority that our beloveds, human and not, don’t actually go away when they die. They reappear in various forms to give us comfort and company. We must now relate to our beloveds differently, but relate we still can. How? By keeping our eyes peeled, our ears pricked, and the rest of our senses alert. The love of your life will show up again, just not in the way you’re used to. ❤️‍🩹 ... See MoreSee Less
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5 months ago

Irshad Manji
Ok, ok, I realize that the holidays are over. 😫 But that shouldn’t stop us from cherishing our latest, loveliest memories. To wit:1. With my little sis @fboorman enjoying a Hawai’i sunrise.2. With my big sis @ishmanji celebrating her birthday.3. With my tireless, peerless mama, who makes me crazy… about her, of course. 😉Each of you: Here’s to a 2023 that bursts with memories to be treasured. 😘 ... See MoreSee Less
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5 months ago

Irshad Manji
Santa’s real, I swear it. This pic features my high school theater teacher, @jajmartens, in all his bushy-bearded glory. I reconnected with him this past year, when my childhood school district invited me to lead a day-long @moral_courage workshop. Mr. Martens ("Sir," as I affectionately referred to him at school) is retired from the district, yet he made a special trip to meet with me — and he brought an unexpected gift. Sir presented me with a framed compilation of posters for all the high school productions that he cast me in. With that one gesture, he magically captured some of my favorite memories evah. But there's to this Santa look-alike than his presents. There's also his *presence*: As a teenager, I badly needed a positive male role-model. Sir stepped up, counseling me with empathy, respect, and dignity. He — an evangelical Christian — never preached. His deeds did the talking. That's called integrity.So is it any surprise that a man who brings such joy to kids should now play Santa in various @HallmarkChannel movies? (Swipe left to see him on set with the young stars of "Inventing the Christmas Prince," which will air throughout the Hallmark Christmas season.) At some point, I'm sure I'll have to get in touch with his agent if I want to speak directly with him. 😉On this Christmas Eve, I couldn't be more grateful to know the real Santa. Make that, Sir Santa. #santa #christmaseve#teachersmatter #studentsuccess ... See MoreSee Less
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6 months ago

Irshad Manji
Hello my priends! You read that right. Today, you’re not my friends but my “priends,” in the spirit of the tiara-rockin’, masala-marinated TikTok comedian, @pinkypatelofficial..My sister, @ishmanji, and two of our priends went to see Ms. Pinky’s stand-up show in Vancouver. I, for one, had a fabulous time — until the show began. More about that in a moment.Let me say off the top that I’ll always 💚 Pinky. She’s a self-made talent who’s blazing trails for all kinds of people, young and old(er). Nobody coronated her the queen of chai-swillers like me. She came by that distinction in the most Indian-American of ways: through sheer hard work. BUT…During her show, I felt overwhelmed by lazy artistry. Almost from the get-ho, Pinky’s F-bombs flew fast and furious. Why?? She sooo doesn’t curse like a sailor in her videos and it’s those very videos that make her the sassy, sardonic success that she is! .Am I a prude? Maybe. And, hey, I grant that I didn’t get a lot of the voluminous, raunchy references to het sex, being a bit rusty in that department..But with or without a “forever peepee” (Pinky’s nickname for husbands), I think that potty-mouthing your way through a performance is reaching for the cheapest and lowest-hanging fruit, which in itself is a commentary on how intelligent (or not) you believe your audience is. .After the show, I profusely apologized to the priends who came with me. Both of them are leaders in education and I felt ashamed about having invited them..“Don’t worry about it,” one of them told me with a smile. “We’ve been high school principals. We’ve heard it all before.”.Which kind of reinforces my point about how an artist treats their audience. Are we still in high school?.Enough kvetching on my part. Pinky, thank you for giving my priends and me an occasion to gather while donning sparkly crowns. You remain the jewel in mine. ... See MoreSee Less
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6 months ago

Irshad Manji
A+ to any university or college that makes learning fun — especially when the fun involves putting bigshots in the hot seat! .Check out this imaginative event being held by the @leehonorscollege at Western Michigan University..The Dean, Dr. Irma Lopez, will be competing with the Assistant Dean, Anthony Helms, to answer trivia about my book, “Don’t Label Me: How to Do Diversity Without Inflaming the Culture Wars.” .Don’t tell anybody, but I plan to eavesdrop and possibly stump the players. Cuz I’m a sneaky geek (or a geeky sneak) that way. 🤫 .Why would @westernmichu do something like this? Because they’re at the forefront of reconciling social justice and free speech. Since my book discusses how to unify people in divided times, they’re using it, among other texts, to teach students that a suffocating either/or mindset really can be transcended by a liberating both/and paradigm..But rather than merely lecture students about this paradigm shift, WMU is cleverly gamifying the lesson… In doing so, it’s helping to change the game that bewilders so many campuses: eliciting honest yet respectful engagement in emotional yet nuanced issues. .Game on, good people! 👏🏽@wetalkwmu @wmuwsa @jentober ... See MoreSee Less
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Because Love (Poem)
Because Love (Poem)

posted on: February 14, 2021

Over this past year, I've had heartfelt conversations with friends and family. Those conversations have helped me crystallize three of the biggest mistakes that human beings make when we turn loving relationships into competitions about who's right and wrong. I've...Continue reading ...

The 9-Year-Old Grinch and the Muslim Who Saved Christmas
The 9-Year-Old Grinch and the Muslim Who Saved Christmas

posted on: December 24, 2020

When I was growing up in Canada, ho-ho-ho was a no-no-no — not because my parents said so, but because I did. At nine years old, I challenged my family's decision to put up a Christmas tree. The twinkle and...Continue reading ...

“I will never understand…”
“I will never understand…”

posted on: November 30, 2020

On November 4th, then again on the 5th, 6th, and 7th, I heard from friends around the world. They wanted to know one thing: How in the hell could so many Americans (at last count, 72 million) have voted for...Continue reading ...

The Star-Spangled mask
The Star-Spangled mask

posted on: November 14, 2020

I'm a Canadian who's been teaching leadership in the U.S. for almost 15 years. Yet this is the first election cycle in which I've been labeled a "foreigner" and told to stop "meddling." It happened more than once, each time...Continue reading ...

Diversity Dilemma #3
Diversity Dilemma #3

posted on: October 30, 2020

This is the third installment of a special series that I've contributed to "Modern Mentor," a podcast that explores what helps and hinders success in the workplace. If you've read the first and second installments, you know the context of...Continue reading ...

Diversity Dilemma #2
Diversity Dilemma #2

posted on: October 16, 2020

Welcome to the second installment of my series for "Modern Mentor," a podcast that explores what helps and hinders success in the workplace. In this post, I'll explain why we should avoid the kind of diversity that slices and dices...Continue reading ...

Diversity Dilemma #1
Diversity Dilemma #1

posted on: October 01, 2020

"Modern Mentor," a podcast that explores what helps and hinders success in the workplace, invited me to address several dilemmas that professionals experience when trying to practice diversity without being divisive. The catch? I'd have to address each dilemma in...Continue reading ...

Can democracy survive without religion?
Can democracy survive without religion?

posted on: September 17, 2020

In most of the world today, organized religion is being rejected. More and more young people are flipping the bird to theological authority, even in Muslim countries! At the same time, those who abuse political power appear to be filling...Continue reading ...

When corporate diversity programs are like chicken wings
When corporate diversity programs are like chicken wings

posted on: September 06, 2020

In America's transactional culture, workplace diversity often amounts to slapping labels on individuals. Professionals wind up being packaged like products. They're crammed into prefabricated molds ("Black woman," for example) and get showcased to make the company look cutting-edge. Emphasize look....Continue reading ...

AMERICA IS CHANGING. THE LEFT SHOULD, TOO
AMERICA IS CHANGING. THE LEFT SHOULD, TOO

posted on: August 16, 2020

Let's face it: For all our gushing about diversity, many advocates of it hold a hefty slice of America in contempt. We assume that Republicans despise difference, that Trump voters are lodged in a backward past, and that they plan...Continue reading ...

Never Again? It’s Happening Again — This Time, to China’s Muslims
Never Again? It’s Happening Again — This Time, to China’s Muslims

posted on: July 31, 2020

Imagine that millions of people of one faith, one heritage, and one community are being targeted by their government. Imagine that these people are being rounded up by the hundreds of thousands and forced into so-called "re-education camps," where they...Continue reading ...

SHAMING WHITE PEOPLE WILL NOT END RACISM
SHAMING WHITE PEOPLE WILL NOT END RACISM

posted on: July 22, 2020

Last year, an organization that promotes dialogue invited two authors to hold a "respectful exchange" about racism. I was one of them. The other was Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility. I accepted the invitation. DiAngelo declined. And that was...Continue reading ...

LIFE LESSONS 101
LIFE LESSONS 101

posted on: July 15, 2020

How do you avoid being manipulated -- whether it's by family, friends, bosses, politicians, or media pundits? You must always remember: If you don't have a vision for your life, someone else will have an agenda for it. I taught...Continue reading ...

LADY LIBERTY’S STRANGE STORY, AND MY STRANGER CONNECTION TO IT
LADY LIBERTY’S STRANGE STORY, AND MY STRANGER CONNECTION TO IT

posted on: July 04, 2020

What you're about to read is a journey -- and I launch it with the most famous line in the U.S. Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are...Continue reading ...

How #BLM Can Surprise its Detractors
How #BLM Can Surprise its Detractors

posted on: June 04, 2020

For most kids in America, the school year is coming to a close. But the civics lesson has only just begun. With protests against police brutality sweeping the nation, there's a lot to learn about how to be effective, engaged...Continue reading ...

Yes, And…
Yes, And…

posted on: May 10, 2020

In work and in life, one of the scariest things to do is negotiate with someone who disagrees with you. It takes moral courage to start, and sustain, that conversation. When I teach this skill, a crucial part of my...Continue reading ...

HEALING DOESN’T MEAN CHEERING UP
HEALING DOESN’T MEAN CHEERING UP

posted on: April 24, 2020

I teach courage for a living. Over the course of  20 years, I’ve researched, studied, written, filmed, and spoken about the skills needed to exercise “moral courage,” which means doing the right thing in the face of fear. For all...Continue reading ...

YOU WIN BY NOT STRIVING TO WIN
YOU WIN BY NOT STRIVING TO WIN

posted on: April 08, 2020

Bruce Lee, the martial arts master, would teach his students to "be like water." What he meant was, water always gets to where it needs to go -- even in the midst of obstacles. Water doesn't demand that those obstacles...Continue reading ...

Constructive Conflict
Constructive Conflict

posted on: March 02, 2020

Increasingly, I’m speaking at colleges and universities about the hottest topic going: how to achieve diversity and inclusion. Most educators see diversity as a matrix of skin colors, genders, religious affiliations and sexual orientations. But diversity is also about airing...Continue reading ...

MARTIN LUTHER KING: GUTSY GLOBAL CITIZEN
MARTIN LUTHER KING: GUTSY GLOBAL CITIZEN

posted on: February 03, 2020

On MKL Day 2020, I had the honor of speaking from the very pulpit that the man himself once did -- at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. The Rev. Dr. Bernice King, daughter of Martin and Coretta, invited me to...Continue reading ...

Divorcing courageously
Divorcing courageously

posted on: January 14, 2020

Without a doubt, it was the wrong thing to do. And I knew it. I did it anyway. “You think you can bulldoze anybody,” I sneered at her. “Nobody calls you out on your behavior, so you feel entitled to...Continue reading ...

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