Josh Feigelson

Empathy and Advocacy

Like many other Americans, I went to bed early on the morning of November 9, shocked at an election outcome virtually no one had predicted. I knew I would have a hard time falling asleep, even at 1 a.m., so I turned on the light to read. The night before I had finished volume two of Taylor Branch’s epic history of the American Civil Rights Movement, so that night I began volume 3.

Far from settling me to fall asleep, it only raised more questions.

How to Build a Better Debate

Over a staff lunch on Tuesday, Team ABQ was debriefing the presidential debate when our Director of Assessment, Pablo Rangel, told us, “I actually started taking notes. I wrote down all the questions, their responses, and the questions I thought they could have asked.”

Pablo confessed he did this to keep himself from throwing something at the television. But that got us thinking about the questions and how they were crafted, and what the shape of the questions might teach us.

Why the Safe Space Debate is All Wrong

For the love of God, people: Can we please get pragmatic about the safe space debate? Let’s stop the posturing (yes, I believe the U of C letter was posturing). And let’s also stop the totally impractical approaches to policing speech that prompted it. Please, let’s argue less about our rights, and let’s start talking much more about our responsibilities—as educators and as students.

How Can We Bridge Our Divides?

Is it better to be a stay-at-home parent or to try and balance career and family?
That’s a hard question. Not just in the colloquial sense, but in the technical sense we use here at Ask Big Questions: This is a question that matters to many, many people (I hesitate to say everyone, since that’s not necessarily true), and the more you think you know about the question, the more likely you are to participate in a conversation about it.


It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver


I think a lot of us have been praying this week. These past few weeks. This whole summer.

Or maybe now, in retrospect, we realize we were praying. Or we should have been.

What If We Renamed Identity Politics, ‘Humility Politics?’

During a recent encounter on social media, a friend of mine, who is a brilliant professor at a leading American law school, was trying to think about two legal stories in the news media: Donald Trump’s statement that the judge in a civil case against him should recuse himself because of his Mexican heritage; and calls for the removal of a judge who gave a short sentence to Brock Turner, a Stanford University student convicted of rape.