This week marks the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Last summer’s large-scale protests have ended, calls to defund the police have subsided, and white Americans’ support for Black Lives Matter has declined. Then we have the absurd: Amy Cooper is suing her former employer for racial discri
This week marks the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. Last summer’s large-scale protests have ended, calls to defund the police have subsided, and white Americans’ support for Black Lives Matter has declined. Then we have the absurd: Amy Cooper is suing her former employer for racial discrimination. None of this, of course, is a surprise.
As you reflect and consider your next steps, please consider reading this week’s lead article, “Stop Hustling Black Death.” It’s a profile of Samaria Rice, mother of Tamir, who was murdered in 2014 when he was 12. Ms. Rice challenges the repetitive, performative actions taken by white journalists and Black national leaders (including BLM) after Black men and Black boys are killed by the police. She’s a mom, she says, and she has no desire being a “mother of the movement.”
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Imani Perry: “Samaria Rice is not inclined to speak in pious ways about a national movement for Black lives. She is sharp-tongued, if somewhat more profane. Over two hours one May afternoon — elegantly coiffed with swooping bangs, maroon lipstick, and a silk dress — she told me the story of how she had been cast into the center of the movement at the most tragic moment of her life.
“The mother figure in American culture, especially in Black communities, is expected to be self-effacing, long-suffering, enduring. To be good and dutiful mothers of the movement, they have been expected by the civil-rights Establishment to behave in ways that suppress the emotional turmoil that every mother of a murdered child experiences. Rice has no interest in playing that part.” (19 min)
In my humble opinion, this is the best new podcast of the year. Who needs 30 Under 30 when we can listen deeply to the wisdom of 70 people over 70 years old? Talented interviewer Max Linsky (from Longform) asks deep questions and knows how to get people to open up and have real conversations. So far I’ve listened to just two episodes — including a great one with Sister Helen Prejean — and I’m 100% hooked. Let me know if you listen. (44 min)
+ Later this season, Mr. Linsky will be interviewing Dionne Warwick. That’s all you need to know!
Jean Garnett loves her twin sister. It’s glorious, she says, to have a twin, to look at another person who shares your face, has the same laugh sounds and laugh lines, and the same wrinkles, and to say, “There I am.” But as she reveals in this raw essay, Ms. Garnett can’t escape having jealous feelings. “You want your identical twin to be beautiful, to confirm that you are beautiful,” she writes. “But you also want her to be ugly, to confirm that she is uglier than you.” (22 min)
+ Are you a twin? Does this resonate?
Your adorable pets have graced the pages of this newsletter (and calendar!) for many years. But what exactly makes a pet famous on Instagram? That’s the essential question Erica Lenti explores in this entertaining piece, in which she tries to convince the Internet that her one-eyed puppy Belle deserves pet influencer celebrity status (and therefore earn $2,000 per post). What do you think? Should Belle get a shot at stardom? (10 min)
+ Ms. Lenti last appeared in Issue #179, when she decided not to come out to her Italian grandmother.
+ Reader Annotations
: Several of you shared your appreciation for last week’s lead article, “I Feel Like I’m Just Drowning.” Unfortunately, loyal reader
, who was “so excited to get a break in the day while dinner was cooking” to read the piece, instead got hit with the tightfisted New York Times paywall. Drat. She wrote, “My heart was saddened when I clicked on the article and I had reached my limit of articles for the month. It’s such a tease!” I am very sorry about that, Alison. Maybe it’s time for me to raffle off another digital subscription. What do you think?
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