Author: Maria-Jose Soerens

Why Helping Should Hurt

When it comes to assisting our neighbors, vulnerability is better than ‘empowerment.’  I remember attending a justice conference in Portland in early 2010 and taking note of my surroundings. The first thing that struck me was the ubiquity of one word: “Empowerment.” It was everywhere – on banners and posters and pamphlets. I was so intrigued by the prevalence of the word I played a little game, trying to snap a picture of each time I spotted it. There were that many! The visual cues were just as interesting. I found myself surrounded by images of gorgeous African children....

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Portlandia and White Dominance in Cascadia: A Latina Rebuttal

Cascadia is a progressive paradise with a race problem. The genius and self-awareness of the television show Portlandia clashes with our region’s secret history of covert racism. If we look at Portlandia’s representations of regional culture, we’d think we live in white country! The truth, however, is much more complex. How do we characterize “Cascadian culture” while keeping a decent level of multiculturalism and complexity? The journal Christ & Cascadia finds itself caught in these very same dynamics and, as we try to break them, the question is how? How do we characterize “Cascadian culture” while keeping a decent level of multiculturalism and...

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