Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

Though I’ve included none of the articles, it’s been a week in which Trump has spouted classified information regarding the location of US submarines; he and his cabinet have said it’s difficult to follow the Constitution; he has leaked the name of the Manchester terrorist against UK policy; and just today he physically pushed a foreign dignitary out of his way in order to place himself in front of others at a UN meeting. The humiliation never ends.

In other news, I’ve included an article that discusses the Manchester attack through a feminist lens, a personal piece written by Porochista Khakpour on Iranian-American life, a movie review that focuses on how the disabled are portrayed in pop culture, and an update on the legal cases of six Water Protectors.

While Richard Collins III, Say His Name, was killed on a University of Maryland campus for no other reason than being black and saying “No” to a white fascist student, while Miss Black Texas Ambassador 2016 spent a night in jail for passing a white cop on the road, Mississippi State Representative Karl Oliver demanded lynchings for politicians who support the Louisiana destruction of Confederate statues. He’s since apologized, but don’t miss the video embedded in the CNN article. Contrary to that hate rhetoric, in a speech last Friday (May 19), after the final Confederate Memorial in New Orleans had been demolished, Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke of the South as having been on the “wrong side of humanity.” You can read his full speech in the Slate article presented here. With the exception of Landrieu’s belief that Lincoln was our finest President, the arguments in the speech are powerful, leaving one with the overwhelming feeling of complete satisfaction that Finally this process has begun.

Connected ideologically to the dismantling of the Confederate symbols, I’ve included an article on Identity Politics and why women of color must be at the forefront of progressive change. A Buzzfeed piece by Aisha Merza is a smart read for white women, to better understand how white female behavior further oppresses women of color. So, for these stories and more, in case you missed it, READ ON! Your comments are always welcome.

  1. Carmen S. Ponder, Miss Black Texas U.S. ambassador 2016 and an intern with the Hunt County, Texas, District Attorney’s Office, is fighting for police accountability and justice after Commerce, Texas, Police Chief Kerry Crews reportedly called her a “black bitch” and then forced her to spend a night in jail.
“ ‘Whatever, You Black Bitch: Police Chief to Miss Black Texas US Ambassador Before Having Her Arrested for Being a Responsible Driver”/ by Kirsten West Savali/ The Root/ May 24, 2017


2. Last week, Mississippi State Representative Karl Oliver called for the lynching of the politicians who support the dismantling of Confederate monuments in neighboring Louisiana. The Koch-funded Republican freshman represents a district where Emmett Till, 14, was lynched in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
“Lynching Re-emerges in New Rhetoric of Hate”/ by David Love/ May 23, 2017


3. After the Civil War, these statues were a part of that terrorism as much as a burning cross on someone’s lawn; they were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in their shadows about who was still in charge in this city. Should you have further doubt about the true goals of the Confederacy, in the very weeks before the war broke out, the Vice President of the Confederacy, Alexander Stephens, made it clear that the Confederate cause was about maintaining slavery and white supremacy.
“New Orleans Mayor Denounces Confederate Nostalgia in Stirring Speech Defending Monument Removal”/ by Matthew Dessem/ Slate/ May 23, 2017


4. When they ask you to represent the Iranian diaspora in Los Angeles, start by explaining you grew up a half hour and many realities away from Tehrangeles, that your family could never afford those areas, that you were raised in a tiny apartment in the low-income district of a small suburb, with no Iranian people.
“How to Write Iranian-America, Or The Last Essay”/ by Porochista Khakpour/ Catapult/ May 18, 2017


5. But water protectors and their advocates point out that the real criminals at Standing Rock were the police and the oil companies’ private security firms, who consistently used violent repression to sabotage constitutionally-protected political activity.
“The Federal Government Wants to Imprison These Six Water Protectors”/ by Will Parish/ Mint Press News/ May 22, 2017


6. The truth is that we would probably have never heard Vikki’s story if she hadn’t died in prison, but Britain is full of Vikki Thompsons – thousands of young trans people up and down the country missing out on fulfilling their potential because of prejudice, ignorance and discrimination. Nearly half of young trans people in Britain have attempted suicide. Why aren’t we having a public debate about that?
“While You Debate Toilet Etiquette, Trans Women like Vikki Thompson are Dying in the Dark”/ by Paris Lees/ The Guardian/ May 23, 2017


7. But “the defining moments in our lives often don’t come with advance warning,” she said. “They can arise in scenarios we would have never expected, and don’t come with the luxury of a lot of time for you to go inside yourself for some serious introspection.”
“Sally Yates Tells Harvard Students Why She Defied Trump”/ by Anemona Hartocollis/ New York Times/ May 24, 2017


8. These girls and women weren’t just listening to any music, either – this was feminist music. Through her songs and public statements, Ariana Grande has taken a strong stand against sexism and the objectification of women, and she does so kindly, joyfully and without apology.
“Why Manchester Bomber Targeted Girls”/ by Emily Crockett/ Rolling Stone”/ May 23, 2017


9. Allowing single people to have the autonomy to decide whether to marry and whom to marry, the Taiwanese court said in a news release, “is vital to the sound development of personality and safeguarding of human dignity, and therefore is a fundamental right.”
“Taiwan’s High Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage is Legal, In a First For Asia”/ by Bill Chappell/ National Public Radio/ May 24, 2017


10. According to the report, “Racism and sexism, like many other forms of discrimination, have been baked into our social and economic systems and will not simply fall away as a fairer economy emerges.” And it added, “The recent calls to abandon identity politics in favor of a race- and gender-neutral approach” would “simply exacerbate race and gender inequities and injustices.”
“Should Progressives Abandon Identity Politics? No, a New Report Suggests Women of Color Should Lead the Movement”/ by Amanda Marcotte/ Salon/ May 24, 2017


11. We are taught to walk home with our keys between our fingers for protection from men in the night, but no one tells us how to defend ourselves from the white women who will try to ravage us from the inside out, with a smile, a comment, a betrayal, a vital inaction, a look. How they will choose comfort over effort, how they will read this and think I am talking about someone else, another pardon. And even if we are told, even if our mothers tuck us into bed with a warning, we won’t truly hear it, because white women are innocent until proven innocent until proven innocent.
“White Women Drive Me Crazy”/ by Aisha Mirza/ Buzzfeed/ May 23, 2017


12. Keah Brown, a writer, journalist, and all around badass, is a black disabled woman who has always wanted to see herself represented on screen. “‘You’re not really disabled’ narratives treat disability as a punishment, a terrible thing to be grateful to rid yourself of,” Keah tells Teen Vogue. “My hope is that disabled representation in the future is less about how we suffer and more about how we live.” She also stresses the importance of stories of disabled people of color, and disabled non-binary or gender nonconforming people.
“What ‘Everything, Everything’ Gets Wrong About Living as a Disabled Person”/ by Alaina Leary/ Teen Vogue/ May 22, 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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