Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

As I prepare to submit my Must Reads for the week, another white male terrorist is in police custody after he murdered a homeless black man in NYC. He traveled from Baltimore to New York with the clear intent of killing black men. There’s been a postponement on the vote for Trumpcare as of this writing; maybe you saw the pictures of a room full of men determining women’s health rights? At the same time, most of the girls from DC, mentioned in last week’s article, are still missing, and another transgender woman has been murdered. One of the most disturbing headlines of the week: “While Black Women are Missing—The FBI Searched Day and Night to Find Tom Brady’s Missing Super Bowl Jersey.” Just in case you weren’t sure what this country defines as important.

In other news, Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, donated $50,000.00 to Meals on Wheels and was criticized by both Trump and Sarah Palin, and the Texas Senate saw Handmaids in red robes protesting the latest abortion bill. Earlier this week several media sources posted pieces on a controversial painting at the Whitney. A painting by a white female artist depicts Emmitt Till’s ruptured body in an open casket. Since the show opened earlier this month, protesters have stood in front of the painting to block viewers from seeing it. One protestor wore a shirt that read: Black Death Spectacle. The article in artnet describes the outcry from people of color regarding white artists profiting off black pain. Protestors are demanding the artwork not only be removed from the show, but destroyed. A response from the artist appeared in a letter published in The Huffington Post, but was later taken off the site when it was determined that the artist herself was not aware of and did not in fact write the letter.

I’ve included articles this week that show what it’s like to be a black driver in the United States; two articles that focus on the experience of feeling unwanted in America if you’re not white; a story of a young Native American girl being propositioned in front of police, with no action taken; and, for some good news, a new trend in Young Adult Novels: books that cover themes of injustices in the black community (racial targeting and shootings by police).So, for this and more, and in case you missed it: Read On!!

1. The painting should not be acceptable to anyone who cares or pretends to care about Black people because it is not acceptable for a white person to transmute Black suffering into profit and fun, though the practice has been normalized for a long time.

“Dana Schutz’s Painting of Emmitt Till at Whitney Biennial Sparks Protest”/ by Lorena Munoz-Alonso/ artnet/ March 21, 2017


2. Who is heard and who is not defines the status quo. Those who embody it, often at the cost of extraordinary silences with themselves, move to the center; those who embody what is not heard or what violates those who rise on silence are cast out. By redefining whose voice is valued, we redefine our society and its values.

“Rebecca Solnit on Breaking Silence as Our Mightiest Weapon Against Oppression”/ by Maria Popova/ brainpickings/ March 20, 2017


3. “I say, ‘It probably will make you uncomfortable,’” she said. “I’m not here to give you comfort.’”

“New Crop of Young Adult Novels Explores Race and Police Brutality”/ by Alexandra Alter/ New York Times/ March 19, 2017


4. I frowned, but that didn’t feel right, and then I smiled, but that didn’t feel right either. I didn’t know what not guilty looked like. I didn’t know why I needed to know that.

“My History of Driving While Black”/ by Bryan Washington/ BuzzFeed/ March 20, 2017


5. The Handmaid’s Tale is a fitting cautionary tale for our times, reproductive rights advocates argue, given the Trump-Pence’s administration’s stated commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade and outlawing abortion. That move would inevitably “punish” many women, as Trump put it once — either by forcing women to give birth against their will or subjecting them to both medical risk and criminal prosecution for seeking an illegal abortion.

“Why Women Wore Handmaid’s Tale Robes in the Texas Senate”/ by Emily Crockett/ Vox/ March 21, 2017


6. The widespread claim is that none of us people of color belong here—this is not our country. But, our research forces us to reject these ridiculous notions. For the United States was built on the backs of all marginalized groups who have been displaced, enslaved, raped, lynched, and exploited.

“An Open Letter to White People From Two Professors of Color: Step Up!”/ by Koritha Mitchell and Alex E. Chavez/ Huffington Post/ March 21, 2017


7. Footage clearly reveals a man calling out to her, “How much for the little girl?” His audacity, in the face of cameras, protesters, and on-hand law enforcement, conveys his awareness this violence has been long tolerated. Marisa Cummings’ inability to make law enforcement hold him accountable for violating Iowa’s street harassment laws, shows us we’ve moved beyond tolerance, and now tread open acceptance.

“Follow the Oil Trail and You’ll Find the Girls”/ by Riayn Fergins,/ Longreads/ March 2017.


8. As it turns out, there’s a potentially good reason for that excitement: Julia, as you may have gathered, is a girl. And some researchers who study autism argue that the condition may be underdiagnosed in girls, which could help explain why the disorder is five times more common in boys.

“Why it Matters that Sesame Street’s New Character With Autism is a Girl”/ by Melissa Dahl/ NYMag/ March 20, 2017


9. Another woman tweeted that, while waiting to make a presentation at Pubcon, a prestigious conference, she was told by a male attendee, “Don’t be nervous. You’re hot! No one expects you to do well.”

“Why is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?”/ by Liza Mundy/ The Atlantic/ April 2017 Issue


10. “Transgender women are often targeted by law enforcement for a variety of reasons, and as a result are deterred from seeking help when they are targets of violence or harassment,” they wrote. “Transgender Americans deserve to have these attacks investigated as hate crimes.”

“Seven Transgender Women Have Been Killed This Year. Democrats Want Jeff Sessions to Investigate”/ by Avi Selk/ The Washington Post/ March 16, 2017


11. In order for people of color to exist in this country—and to be seen as fully American—we are often forced to denounce parts of our identities. That might explain why my mother hadn’t been back to Colombia in 42 years.

“Trying to be a Proud Latina When People Prefer Whiteness—Even in My Mother’s Homeland”/ by Stephanie Jimenez/ yesmagazine/ March 14, 2017


12. “Our children and grandchildren will look back on the climate deniers and ask how they could have sacrificed the planet for the sake of cheap fossil fuel energy, when the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of a transition to a low-carbon economy,” Watson said.

“Record-Breaking Climate Change Pushes World into ‘Uncharted Territory’”/ by Damian Carrington/ The Guardian/ March 20, 2017


Joyce Hayden left her university teaching job two years ago in order to pursue her own artistic work. An assemblage artist, painter, and writer, Joyce is currently in the process of acquiring an agent to represent her memoir, The Out of Body Girl, which describes her 8 year relationship with a charismatic gambler and the dangerous road that eventually led to her freedom. Her chapbook of poems, Lost Handprint, is forthcoming from Dandelion Review. A freelance editor and writing coach, Joyce’s writing services and a selection of her artwork can be found at her website Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

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