Welcome to October, loyal readers! Thank you for opening today’s issue of The Highlighter. It’s a good one. Don’t worry: This week’s lead article is not clickbait; rather, it’s an outstanding essay that explains why white people feel threatened when people of color gain freedom. I recommend it highl
Welcome to October, loyal readers! Thank you for opening today’s issue of The Highlighter. It’s a good one. Don’t worry: This week’s lead article is not clickbait; rather, it’s an outstanding essay that explains why white people feel threatened when people of color gain freedom. I recommend it highly, even if you’re not a history buff.
If you prefer less history, scroll down to read a strong argument to reopen schools, a clear justification for reparations, and a surprising connection between the wellness industry and QAnon. Please enjoy!
+ Sign up for Article Club this month and discuss “Miranda’s Rebellion,” one of our favorite articles so far this year. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Stephanie McCrummen (who also broke the Roy Moore story) will be answering our questions. In case you want to know what you’re getting yourself into, here’s a breakdown. If you join, you’ll get your first post this Sunday.
Is Freedom White?
Americans love freedom. But we don’t agree on a common definition. There are three types of freedom, according to sociologist Orlando Patterson: personal freedom (to do as we please), civic freedom (to participate in public life), and sovereign freedom (to exercise power over others). According to Jefferson Cowie, this third type of freedom — “the unrestrained capacity to dominate” — is the most dangerous, given our country’s racism.
Prof. Cowie writes, “Freedom was used to steal land from Native Americans, defend slavery, defeat Reconstruction, justify lynching, fight the New Deal, oppose civil rights, elect Trump, and label Black Lives Matter as seditious.”
The only way for all Americans to achieve equality, Prof. Cowie argues, is for white people to stop presuming that freedom means the right to dominate everyone else. (14 min)
The Students Left Behind By Remote Learning
Shemar is 12 years old, lives in East Baltimore, loves math, and hates remote learning. That’s because his Internet is spotty, his teacher quit, and his school doesn’t have enough laptops. Most of all, though, despite the hard work and dedication of teachers and school leaders, distance learning is just not as effective as the real thing. In this nuanced article, Alec MacGinnis makes the case that public schools should reopen as soon as possible, or else children will regress in their learning so much that “it will be virtually impossible to come back.” (39 min)
The Great White Heist
Michael Harriot: “The fantasy that we call the ‘American Dream’ isn’t solely funded by decency, hard work, or American exceptionalism. It comes from theft. Punishing a thief is not justice, it is retribution. For justice to exist, the victim must be made whole and their losses must be repaid. Justice demands restitution, and until there are reparations, there can be no justice. Until there are reparations, anyone who pledges their allegiance to the flag that stands for a country with ‘liberty and justice for all’ is a liar and a thief.” (10 min)
+ California will become the first state to consider reparations for descendants of enslaved people.
Eat, Pray, Conspiracy: How the Wellness World Embraced QAnon
If you’ve read this newsletter long enough, you know that I like to follow the pros and cons of the wellness industry. You may also know about my strange fascination with right-wing movements (like QAnon). But did you ever expect these two topics to intersect? Well, with the rise of #SaveTheChildren, all of a sudden Hala Khouri and other health practitioners, who find power in questioning science and the mainstream medical industry, are realizing how yoga, supplements, vaccines, masks, and child trafficking all lead to an overarching international conspiracy theory. “We want to wake up, we want to see the truth,” Ms. Khouri says. (10 min)
Thank you very much for reading yet another issue of The Highlighter. Do you have thoughts or feelings about one of the articles today? Let me know what you thought by hitting reply or by clicking on the thumbs below. I’m grateful for your feedback.
Also, let’s welcome our community’s 6 new members: Tom, Natasha, Elias, Yassine, Samurai, and Swordsman. I hope that you find this newsletter a solid addition to your Thursday email inbox.
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