A Baseball Umpire’s Guide to Neutrality

Be Invisible, Defuse Conflict, and Value Safety Above All Else

Can we, and should we, ever really be neutral? In a new series, Zócalo explores the idea of neutrality—in politics, sports, gender, journalism, international law, and more. In this essay, umpire Calvin Wells explains why his role is more than just calling balls and strikes.

Umpiring baseball games is the only job I’ve ever had where you’re expected to be absolutely perfect on day one and continuously get better each and every day after that.

That might sound like a paradox. But that pressure to be …

How Does a Therapist Stay Neutral?

Counseling Couples or Families Is About Empathy, Not Objectivity

Can we, and should we, ever really be neutral? In a new series, Zócalo explores the idea of neutrality—in politics, sports, gender, journalism, international …

Two people, Governor Gavin Newsom and Republican challenger state senator Brian Dahle sit at the desk to the left. The desk has the California state symbol in front. On the desk on the right is Scott Shafer and Marisa Lagos. Their desk has the letters "KQED" on the front. The background large digital screen reads "California Gubernatorial Debate."

For Political Journalists, Neutrality Isn’t the Goal

It’s Objectivity, and Being on the Side of the Truth in an Intellectually Dishonest Era

Can we, and should we, ever really be neutral? In a new series, Zócalo explores the idea of neutrality—in politics, sports, gender, journalism, international …

Why Sweden Stopped Pretending to Be Switzerland

My Two Home Countries Were Famously Neutral. But They Were Never the Same

Can we, and should we, ever really be neutral? In a new series, Zócalo explores the idea of neutrality—in politics, sports, gender, journalism, and …