Loyal readers , I’m proud of today’s issue, and I hope you find at least one article that resonates with you or pushes your thinking. Like last week , pieces are paired and talk to each other. The first pairing explains how racial segregation became cemented in the 1950s and ’60s through the constru
Loyal readers, I’m proud of today’s issue, and I hope you find at least one article that resonates with you or pushes your thinking. Like last week, pieces are paired and talk to each other. The first pairing explains how racial segregation became cemented in the 1950s and ’60s through the construction of physical barriers to separate Black people from white people. After an interstitial GIF, the second pairing explores how our inequitable economy has led to a rise in hustle culture and the seemingly intractable housing crisis. (Now that I think of it, it’s possible to say that all four articles talk to one another and share a common theme. If you end up reading them all, by all means weigh in.) Please enjoy!
+ Highlighter Happy Hour #13 is coming up soon, and the world will be a better place if you are there. We’re gathering at Room 389 in Oakland on Thursday, March 5, beginning at 5:30 pm. Please get your free ticket so you can win the grand prize.
+ Question of the Week: What’s the last Highlighter article that you recommended to a friend? Hit reply and let me know!
By the 1950s, and especially after Brown v. Board, the national government could not legally segregate people by race. But the Interstate Highway Act did that very same thing. It displaced thousands of Black people across the country, destroyed thriving Black communities, erected permanent physical barriers that entrenched segregation, and protected white suburban spaces. In this comprehensive law journal article, Prof. Deborah N. Archer not only explains the racist impact of transportation policy but also suggests ways that we can advance racial equity through highway reconstruction. (~60 min)
+ Don’t feel like you need to read all 74 pages of this report. The introduction will be powerful enough.
In 1962, the mayor of Atlanta approved the construction of a concrete and steel barrier that separated the mostly white affluent neighborhood of Peyton Forest from the rest of Atlanta, in an effort to discourage Black people from purchasing homes there. In this braided essay, white Math teacher Jay Wamsted, who serves mostly Black students at Mays High School in Atlanta, explores this history and reflects on his role in supporting a former student. He writes, “We wrestle ghosts in southwest Atlanta, ghosts of slavery and Jim Crow that haunt our streets in ways both obvious and subtle.” (12 min)
Late stage capitalism forces all of us to hustle to make ends meet. But if hustling is “for surviving a rigged game,” as sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom writes, then our system requires Black people, especially women, to hustle harder, just to maintain their class status. Prof. Cottom argues that the 1970s offered a path for more economic equity, but since then, the trend toward private investment has hindered Black people’s access to social mobility. (12 min)
+ Last year I read Thick and recommend it highly.
California’s housing crisis is a disgrace, resulting in exorbitant rents, long commutes, increasing homelessness, and dire encampments. Most agree the answer is to build more housing — except not in their backyards. Suburban homeowners want to preserve their views; urban renters want to prevent gentrification. This article, about a Bay Area city manager who changes his mind about development, offers some hope for the future. (15 min)
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