Our reading community is quite a bit bigger and stronger this week, thanks to the good word of loyal readers Luke and Bora (and likely others). If you’re new here, welcome! I’m Mark, and every week for the past five years, I’ve shared great articles on race, education, and culture, offering them to
Our reading community is quite a bit bigger and stronger this week, thanks to the good word of loyal readers Luke and Bora (and likely others). If you’re new here, welcome! I’m Mark, and every week for the past five years, I’ve shared great articles on race, education, and culture, offering them to you for reflection, conversation, and action.
This week’s articles center the ideas and lived experiences of kihana miraya ross, Michelle Alexander, Doreen Oliver, and Lauren Michele Jackson. All of them are great, but my personal favorite is the last piece, “What Is An Anti-Racism List For?” which helped interrogate my thinking on the purpose of reading.
+ I warmly invite you to join Article Club this month. We’re discussing “The Mountain,” by Andrew Marantz (#217), which follows a young woman named Samantha and her transformation from campaigning for President Obama to joining the alt-right.
+ Our gathering last Thursday evening was a big success. We met new people, talked about our world right now, and listened deeply to each other. Also, loyal readers Xuan-Vu, Salem, and Eunice won prizes! I’m thinking of doing this again soon. Hit reply and let me know if you’re interested.
Call It What It Is: Anti-Blackness
kihana miraya ross: “Mr. Floyd’s brutal killing is not an exception, but rather, it is the rule in a nation that literally made Black people into things. Black people were rendered as property, built this country, spilled literal blood, sweat, and tears into the soil from which we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. The thingification of Black people is a fundamental component of the identity of this nation.” (5 min)
America, This Is Your Chance
Michelle Alexander: “Too many citizens prefer to cling to brutal and unjust systems than to give up political power, the perceived benefits of white supremacy and an exploitative economic system. If we do not learn the lessons of history and choose a radically different path forward, we may lose our last chance at creating a truly inclusive, egalitarian democracy.” (12 min)
The Cold Of Winter
Doreen Oliver: “Taking medication because life was messed up was something I was raised to believe only white people did. Also in the ‘Things Only White People Do’ box was drunk dancing, yelling indignantly at police officers, kissing pets on the mouth, and that all-time white-woman favorite, crying at work. I mean, every now and again, for better or worse, we reveled in the status of doing things that once were deemed ‘white.’ But doing anything that appeared weak? Never.” (21 min)
What Is An Anti-Racism Reading List For?
Lauren Michele Jackson: “An anti-racist reading list means well. How could it not with some of the finest authors, scholars, poets, and critics of the twentieth century among its bullet points? Still, I am left to wonder: Who is this for? The syllabus, as these lists are sometimes called, seldom instructs or guides. It is no pedagogue. I suppose the anti-racism reading list is exactly for the person who asks for it. And yet the person who has to ask can hardly be trusted in a self-directed course of study.” (6 min)
+ Reader Annotations: Loyal reader Phillip bristled as he read “Kid Culture” (#244) because of its lazy, unspecific definition of the term “American,” which leads to centering affluent whiteness.
I think among liberal publications, “American” has become a placeholder for upper class, mostly white. The author expressed the difficulty of having a nanny only four hours a day. What a hard life! There is not one American way that kids are raised, and race and class are large determining factors in what families decide to provide for their kids. To end the article on a tirade against capitalist consumerism, while clearly being part of the problem, made her analysis seem more trendy than authentic, more of an act of what is believed to be the right line of thinking without any self-reflection. (That is probably the most “American” thing about the article! But then, I’m using the word in the same limited way.)
Thank you for your insightful thoughts, Phillip. If an article from today’s issue resonated with you, reach out and share your ideas!
It is unfortunate, I know, but you’ve reached the end of this week’s newsletter. Thank you for reading it. Let me know what you thought by hitting reply or by clicking on the thumbs below.
Also, let’s welcome our community’s 57 new subscribers, including Amy, Josh, Nora, Sam, Chris, Jessica, Elliot, Wes, Johan, Chevy, Nicci, Gordon, Ted, John, Tiff, Charlie, Chrisanne, Jen, Claire, Richard, Davin, Ken, Nate, Keeley, Max, Emily, Chris, Sabrina, Hudson, Kim, Louis, Wes, and 25 others. I hope that you find this newsletter a solid addition to your Thursday email inbox.
If you really like The Highlighter, please help it grow and get better. I appreciate your support. Here are a few ways you can help:
- Forward today’s issue to a friend and urge them to subscribe
- Share your appreciation by buying me a coffee
- Become a VIP member and experience large amounts of joy
On the other hand, if this newsletter isn’t something you look forward to every week, or if you read it only once in a while, please unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am PT!
Join the conversation