Recent Must Reads: A Weekly Roundup

After a week of hate crimes fueled newspaper headlines, I’ve decided that my next Special Topics Must Reads Edition (to be published later this month) will explore the rise of, or the more arrogant open-expression of, recent fascism and white supremacy in the United States. Therefore, I’m saving articles on LeBron James and the murder of 3 black boys by police this month for the Special Topics issue. For now, I’ve begun this week’s list with a Washington Post article in which the author reminds readers of the latest atrocities and summons all people, but specifically white people, to take action. As Sethi states in his article, “We cannot and must not shoulder this burden alone.” He offers several suggestions for actions readers can take. Please take a look. An article from Huffington Post focuses on Micah Fletcher’s response to the Portland Train murders, noting that while the spotlight is on the “heroes”, it should be upon the targeted girls.

Two hours ago as of this writing, Trump opted out of the Paris Climate agreement. I’ve included a piece that discusses the ramifications of that choice, and the new position of the United States in world politics. Rebecca Solnit published her essay “The Loneliness of Donald Trump” to wide acclaim this week, and you’ll find the link to that below. In addition, Hillary Clinton gave a powerful interview that you can watch, as well as read highlights, in a Mother Jones publication.

Several articles this week focus and race and injustice. Some call out white women for not contributing enough or being involved as much as they could be. There’s a good lesson here for us white women who want to be allies, or who believe erroneously, that we already are allies. Time to let the ego go, and listen. And Act. So, if you’ve missed any of these stories, please READ ON. And remember, your comments are always welcome.

 


  1. We must acknowledge, condemn and combat white supremacy. The belief that white people are superior to other races is responsible for some of the greatest tragedies in modern history. Manifest destiny, the genocide of Native Americans, slavery, Jim Crow and even mass incarceration are inextricably rooted in white supremacy.
“Attacks Like Portland’s Will Keep Happening Unless We All Fight White Supremacy”/ by Arjun Singh Sethi/ The Washington Post/ May 29, 2017.

 


2.“This man is screaming at you. His face is a pile of knives. His body is a gun. Everything about him is cocked, loaded and ready to kill you,” he continued. “There is a history here with this. You can feel that this has happened before, and the only thing that was different was the names and faces.
“Portland Stabbing Victim Calls Out City’s ‘White Savior Complex’”/ by Rebecca Shapiro/ Huffington Post/ June 1, 2017

 


3. The Dakota people and their allies say “Scaffold” — based in part on the design of the gallows used to execute 38 Dakota men in Mankato in 1862 — is not art, and represents a painful history that Minnesotans have long ignored.
“’Scaffold’ Sculpture To Be Dismantled, Then Burned in a Dakota-led Ceremony”/ by Alicia Eler/ Star Tribune/ May 31, 2017

 


4. Star likes to wear lacy dresses, dramatic cat-eye makeup, and their hair styled in cascading curls. They like to date straight boys. This made coming out as nonbinary harder, more confusing. It took Star a long time to accept that it was okay to be feminine and not identify as a woman. It’s taken everyone else longer. But armed with the court order, they said, “Now no one can say I’m not nonbinary.”
“California Is Ready To Recognize A Third Gender. Is The Rest Of The Country?”/ by Jessica Testa/ BuzzFeed/ May 27, 2017

 


5. While white women are quick to rally against the injustices in rape cases where they’ve been or can see themselves being abused and experiencing institutional oppression — such as Brock Turner’s — they go silent when it comes to the violation of Native Women. When I’ve repeatedly raised the issue of the horrifically high rates of violence against Native Women I have either been ignored by the mainstream feminist organizations, such as Ultraviolet and the National Organization of Women, or have been told that we are somehow responsible for our assaults.
“How White Feminists Fail As Native Allies In The Trump Era”/ by Jen Deerinwater/ The Establishment/ May 23, 2017

 


6. “During this American history class there … was a video [shown] of back in slavery time when the KKK … would come into homes and kick the doors in and drag out the men, and the women just kind of cower in a corner and cry. … And that spoke to me on so many different levels,” said Laura Manning, a Georgia State University student who’s taken gun courses with Tigner in the past.
“Not Without a Fight: Black Women Are Taking Up Arms to Protect Themselves”/ by Breanna Edwards/ The Root/ May 27, 2017

 


7. If Trump goes ahead and pulls the United States out, it would be “a decision made for domestic political purposes that puts the livelihood and lives of millions of people in developing countries at risk,” said Trevor Houser, a former climate negotiator for the Obama administration, to Vox’s Jim Tankersley. “This is a craven, symbolic political move without any direct benefits for the constituents he’s targeting.”
“If Trump Quits the Paris Climate Accord, He Will Lead the U.S. into the Wilderness”/ by Ishaan Tharoor/ The Washington Post/ June 1, 2017

 


8. I have often run across men (and rarely, but not never, women) who have become so powerful in their lives that there is no one to tell them when they are cruel, wrong, foolish, absurd, repugnant. In the end there is no one else in their world, because when you are not willing to hear how others feel, what others need, when you do not care, you are not willing to acknowledge others’ existence. That’s how it’s lonely at the top. It is as if these petty tyrants live in a world without honest mirrors, without others, without gravity, and they are buffered from the consequences of their failures.
“The Loneliness of Donald Trump”/ by Rebecca Solnit/ LitHub/ May 30, 2017

 


9. Wonder Woman’s fate was one I had tried to avoid for years with a painful balancing act. Black women have long had to navigate stereotypes that create a similar sort of bind: Our reputed preternatural strength is used as a weapon to force us to withstand greater physical, emotional, and spiritual burdens. The stereotype of the “strong black woman” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the identity of black women becomes indistinguishable from our struggle.
“Imagining a Black Wonder Woman”/ by Maya Rupert/ The Atlantic/ May 29, 2017

 


10. We were on a real roll as a country despite assassinations, despite setbacks, expanding rights to people who never had them in any country was frankly thrilling. I believe then as I believe now that we’re never done with this work. Part of the challenge is to maintain the focus and energy to move forward but you have to understand the other side is never tired either.”
“Hillary Clinton is Out of Fucks”/ by Ben Dreyfuss/ Mother Jones/ May 31, 2017

 


11. But it’s not just watermelon. Members of marginalized communities have to constantly monitor their own behavior to avoid stepping into any racist tropes. These rules might seem silly, but they’re the IRL equivalent of not feeding the trolls. The fear is that if I’m seen eating watermelon, then a racist can go “Ah, so it is true that Black people love watermelon, and that means all these other bullshit stereotypes about Black people must be true too!” Again, this seems absurd, but the news is filled with headlines that use assumptions about Blackness to justify police brutality, particularly against Black children. Even making the choice to break the rule and snack on watermelon whenever and wherever still means acknowledging the existence of the rule first.
“Eating Watermelon in Public is White Privilege”/ by Minda Honey/ San Diego City Beat/ May 30, 2017

 


12. One of the biggest objections that activists have against SB4 is that the provision allowing police to demand proof of immigration status from any random person will encourage racial and ethnic profiling. This is part of the reason that the American Civil Liberties Union, along with the small Texas border city of El Cenizo, is suing the state over the law.
“A New Low in Attacks on Free Speech: Texas Republican Calls ICE on Pro-Immigrant Protesters”/ by Amanda Marcotte/ Salon/ May 31, 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 joycehayden.com. Joyce is available for commission art work, including celebration shrines for loved ones and pets.

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