Welcome to The Highlighter #127! This week’s articles span a variety of topics. Read about how trans people are fighting for health care, how pencils are made, how Cops was revolutionary (and racist), and how Minority Report is becoming a reality. Aren’t you impressed with my knowl
Welcome to The Highlighter #127! This week’s articles span a variety of topics. Read about how trans people are fighting for health care, how pencils are made, how Cops was revolutionary (and racist), and how Minority Report is becoming a reality. Aren’t you impressed with my knowledge of old TV shows and movies?
Before you dive in, please welcome new subscribers Tucci, Aniket, Aubrey, Kimberly, D. L., Angie, and Jessica. Thank you for allowing The Highlighter into your Thursday morning reading routine. I hope you find the newsletter to be a valuable collection of articles on race, education, and culture. Let’s get to it!
Within Reach: The Transgender Community Fights for Health Care
Some of my cis friends say they’re open to trans issues — that is, until they misgender someone or stumble over the singular they. Sometimes the problem is a lack of background knowledge. This article by Nicole Pasulka offers several entry points to learn more about the transgender community. Tip: If you hit a paywall, copy and paste the link into incognito mode. ⏳⏳
An Ode to Pencils
Unless you’re a Millennial (#124), in which case you may not care about the pencil’s imminent extinction, you’ll suffer pangs of nostalgia while taking in this essay’s stunning images by photographer Christopher Payne. Are you sad to see pencils disappear forever? Share your thoughts on The Highlighter Forum! ⏳
Bad Boys: What ”Cops” Says About America
This well-written and comprehensive history of Cops explains how the television show nailed the zeitgeist of the 1990s. The formula of white police officers valiantly apprehending criminals of color was irresistible to many Americans. But before you relegate Cops to the ash heap of old racist shows, consider (a) it’s still on the air (here’s Episode 3,023) and (b) it’s still offering moral high ground to an audience who thinks they deserve better in life. ⏳⏳⏳
Minority Report Is Near: Can You Arrest People Before They Commit Crimes?
Crime in America is down. But do the ends justify the means? Proponents of predictive policing (#28) say yes. Sacrificing a potential criminal’s privacy to ensure our safety seems like a good deal. But no data set is neutral, this special report suggests, and no algorithm can prevent institutional racism. ⏳⏳
Anne-otations: Fresh Air, “Making China Great Again,” with Evan Osnos
From Anne: Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States has been the undisputed superpower of the world. Evan Osnos (a favorite of mine) argues it will be a short-lived reign since President Trump is easy for China to manipulate. Does the world benefit from having America lead, or would it be best for all to have the United States take a step back? Imagine we’re all sitting in a room chatting about this and jump into the conversation over on The Highlighter Forum. ⏳⏳
Podcast #26: Vox’s Alvin Chang
It was great to have Alvin Chang (#125, #126) on the show to talk about school resegregation. In his role at Vox as senior graphics reporter, Mr. Chang creates explainers that include data, cartoons, and history. He believes that our society's most challenging problems emerge from the everyday decisions that we make. Listen and subscribe! ⏳
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