Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

This week the conversation around the Whitney Biennial Emmitt Till painting continues. I’ve included an interview with one of the curators of the exhibit, Christopher Lew. Lew’s position focuses on his view of historical American events and the slippery slope danger of destroying artwork. Take a look at his arguments. And, in a case of life imitating art, while I haven’t included an article, there has been discussion this week of possibly re-opening the Emmitt Till case. Will keep an eye open as details develop.

You’ll also see articles in my list this week on various threats being forced upon immigrants by LA landlords, the wage gap, the limited dreams of African Americans as discussed by writer Ayana Mathis, and a tug of war between 45 and the Appeals Court regarding the rights of LBGT employees.

An article by Terese Mailhot, editor at the Rumpus, discusses the white constructs of self-help and its ineffective impact on Native women. I think the piece speaks brilliantly of the disconnect between white and Native culture and therapies, and the hollow-ness of treatment offered when Native women suffer from “historical trauma” that white doctors either do not understand, or do not factor into assessment. Mailhot’s discussion of what makes a community of “us” is both moving and insightful. For these and other articles, please Read On. Your comments are always welcome.


  1. “The bottom line is there is an anti-blackness, an anti-brownness that exists in every conversation you could ever have about social issues in our society,” said Tamika D. Mallory, a civil rights activist in New York who helped organize the Women’s March on Washington in January. “And if you allow white media to tell your story, it won’t be told.”

“Missing Girls in Washington DC Widen City’s Racial Divide’/ by Sheryl Gay Stolberg/ New York Times/ March 31, 2017


2. All she did was fire a warning shot aimed at the ceiling of her Jacksonville home, after she says her abusive ex-husband threatened to kill her. Despite Alexander’s defense that she was “Standing Her Ground,” using lethal force to protect herself, and despite no one being injured in the incident, she was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Florida carries a minimum sentence of 20 years for such a conviction. It took the jury only 12 minutes to decide.

“Marissa Alexander Fired a Warning Shot at Her Abusive Husband and Was Sentenced to 20 Years. Now She’s Free”/ by Lindsay Peoples/ The Cut/ March 29, 2017


3. It genuinely doesn’t occur to people who think of themselves as social justice activists that diversity and inclusion means everyone, not just a subset of humanity, nor does it occur to them that disability is an extremely highly intersectional identity — because most disabled people are disabled and. Disabled and queer. Disabled and trans. Disabled and Black. Disabled and Muslim. Disabled and female. Disabled and Latinx.

“On Disability and Emotional Labour”/ s.e. smith/ this ain’t livin’/ March 24, 2017


4. We made our way without a road map, or even a road, as is the case for those of us who were, by virtue of race and class and gender, barred from the paths to success. We have dreams aplenty, some realized and some not, but the manifestation of our ambitions is not a given. It isn’t even a given that we will recognize our right to have them.

“On Impractical Urges”/ by Ayana Mathis/ Guernica/ April 3, 2017


5. I think, until they experience the kind of genocide we did, they won’t know what ‘us’ is, or how deeply rooted we had to become to survive. My mother’s idea and center of joy rested in the idea that her people would not fall, not again, not ever.

“Self-Help Isn’t Enough For Native Women”/ by Terese Mailhot/ Indian Country Today/ April 1, 2017


6. Additionally, women have historically had to precariously balance speaking up for ourselves with staying safe. Proactively taking up more space will always be an uphill battle, as long as our very humanity is still up for debate. And yet, there’s something strangely clarifying about watching the most qualified and elite woman fall short after playing by the rules of the game. It almost gives us tacit permission to be bolder in our own quests toward a more free and equal society.

“What We Actually Gained From Hilary’s Loss”/ by Sarah Lerner/ Dame/ March 30, 2017


7. Certainly people of different races have different experiences, but this historic and contemporary violence is something that we all have to grapple with and confront. It is deeply painful and traumatic—more so for some than others, in unequal terms—but it is something that we all have to deal with, and I think if we don’t confront it, if we don’t have these kind of conversations, then we’re not getting anywhere.

“Why Dana Schutz’s Emmitt Till Painting Must Stay: A Q & A with the Whitney Biennial’s Christopher Lew”/ by Andrew Goldstein/ artnet/ March 30, 2017


8. Fresh off a humiliating and high-profile defeat, Donald Trump has done what any bona fide bigoted bully would do: He picked on gay people.

“Trump Quietly Went After LBGT Workers This Week”/ by David S. Cohen/ Rolling Stone/ March 30, 2017


9. “In this case, we have been asked to take a fresh look at our position in light of developments at the Supreme Court extending over two decades. We have done so, and we conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.”

“Federal Civil Rights Law Protects Gay Employees, Appeals Court Rules”/ by Ryan J. Reilly/ Huffington Post/ April 4, 2017


10. In rent-controlled jurisdictions where housing prices are skyrocketing, however, some landlords are now threatening to report undocumented tenants or mixed-status households to ICE in order to raise their rents. Or to evict tenants seen as undesirable, in the hopes of drawing a more affluent renter class in gentrifying neighborhoods.

“In California, Landlords Threaten Immigrant Tenants with Deportations”/ by Kriston Capps/ CITYLAB/ April 5, 2017


11. While women had been closing in on men in the gender wage gap, progress in recent years has stalled, and has barely budged during the past 20 years, according to the EPI.

“7 Ways People Try to Mansplain the Wage Gap”/ by Brandi Neal/ Bustle/ April 1, 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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