Michael Forbes Wilcox

Author's posts

The Origins of Critical Race Theory

Until a few months ago, I had never heard of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Then, references to CRT started to appear frequently in the news. There were, for example, reports coming out of Florida and Texas that CRT has been banned from public schools. As a result, I have been puzzling over the meaning of …

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Whitewash: Definition

The word “whitewash” has many meanings, which can be summarized as: Literal: a liquid composition for whitening a surface; to apply calcium carbonate ground into fine powder, washed, and used especially as a pigment Figurative: an act or instance of glossing over or of exonerating OR a defeat in a contest in which the loser …

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Over the Hill: Definition

In my studies of the Western Abenaki dialect of the Algonkian language, I came across a memorable word that I can use to describe myself (and my cohort of poker players). Pôzidôkiwi pronounced ~ pon-zee-DON-kee-wee It means “over the hill” — and the “wi” ending identifies its use as an adverb. Tôni alosaan? Nd’elosa pôzidôkiwi. …

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Woke: Definition

Woke was officially added into the Oxford English Dictionary as an adjective in June 2017. The dictionary defines it as “originally: well-informed, up-to-date. Now chiefly: alert to racial or social discrimination and injustice”. The Urban Dictionary, which published its original definition two years prior to the official dictionary, defines it as “being woke means being aware… knowing …

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The Association News

Here is a collection of historical trivia, collected as Volume XI Number 5 of The General Daniel Davidson Bidwell Memorial Association, dated October 1, 1935. At the end of page 4 (of 4) in the images below there is an explanation of the Association. There is also a pdf version filed here. I am a …

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Indigenous Resilience

In my studies of local indigenous culture, I have noticed a growing interest in this area among the general public. I’m not entirely sure how to explain this, but it’s a good thing, in my view. I think we are all aware that many vital systems are broken, and we search for new ways of …

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High Points in New England

The New England Historical Society (NEHS) has provided a somewhat light-hearted survey of the highest points in each of the New England states. The entry for Massachusetts, however, contains at least a couple of errors. One has to do with Herman Melville: The snow-covered mountain reminded Herman Melville of a great white sperm whale, which …

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True Story: The Lazarus File

Here’s a rather offbeat entry. I happened to come across an old (June 2011) issue of The Atlantic, and this article caught my eye. It is an intriguing tale of a 1986 murder case that gone “cold” in the LAPD, only to be revived after DNA evidence became a thing. The piece is well-written, and …

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Populating the Americas

Scientific American published an important article in the May 2021 issue (pages 26-33) entitled “Journey into the Americas: Genetic and archaeological discoveries tell a new story about how the continents were populated” — although not much of the story is “new” to those of us who have been following developments in academic research. See the …

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Freedom of the Will: Reason, Dualism, and Choice

My title here, as you might surmise, is, in part, a nod toward my hometown preacher, Jonathan Edwards, who thought and wrote about the issues mentioned, nearly 300 years ago (in 1754). An essay in The Atlantic issue of March 2014 by Paul Bloom has a more modern view, and also reveals that the controversies …

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