This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including labor exploitation, Black plantation interpreters, and a Chinese American war hero. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!
“Dear Disgruntled White Plantation Visitors, Sit Down.” by Michael W. Twitty for Afroculinaria: “I’m not a reenactor, because G-d forbid I reenact anything for the likes of you; but I am an interpreter, a modern person who is charged with educating you about the past. I take my job seriously because frankly you’re not the one I’m centering. I’m performing an act of devotion to my Ancestors. This is not about your comfort, it’s about honoring their story on it’s own terms in context.”
“The Most Dangerous American Idea” by Adam Serwer for The Atlantic: “The bald racism of the remarks makes it hard to look beyond the words themselves and focus on the worldview they expressed. Reagan and Nixon were declaring their belief that the African delegates were rendered unfit for participation in world affairs by virtue of their ethnic background, a perspective that inevitably reflects on the rights of black people in the United States. No belief in American history has been more threatening to democracy, or consumed more American lives, than the certainty that only white people are fit for self-government, and the corresponding determination to exclude other citizens from the polity.”
“They thought they were going to rehab. They ended up in chicken plants.” by Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter for RevealNews: “The worst day of Brad McGahey’s life was the day a judge decided to spare him from prison.”
“Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Bruce Lee Was My Friend, and Tarantino’s Movie Disrespects Him” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for The Hollywood Reporter: “That’s why it disturbs me that Tarantino chose to portray Bruce in such a one-dimensional way. The John Wayne machismo attitude of Cliff (Brad Pitt), an aging stuntman who defeats the arrogant, uppity Chinese guy harks back to the very stereotypes Bruce was trying to dismantle. Of course the blond, white beefcake American can beat your fancy Asian chopsocky dude because that foreign crap doesn’t fly here.”
“Overlooked No More: Lau Sing Kee, War Hero Jailed for Helping Immigrants” by Andrew R. Chow for New York Times: “Lau Sing Kee was an American war hero, but he was also mocked as a “Chinese boy.” He was a civic leader, but he also became a convicted criminal for skirting discriminatory immigration laws.
His path, from decorated soldier to prison inmate, was emblematic of how Chinese immigrants and their descendants struggled to find their footing in early 20th-century America.”
“Ignoring racism in America allows racist ideas to flourish. Here’s how to be antiracist.” by Noah Berlatsky for NBCNews: ““How to Be an Antiracist” is a more personal work — part memoir, part how-to guide. It chronicles Kendi’s efforts to overcome the racist ideas he himself inherited or picked up just by living in America. In doing so, Kendi also seeks to challenge his readers’ own racist preconceptions.”
“When Transgender Travelers Walk Into Scanners, Invasive Searches Sometimes Wait on the Other Side” by Lucas Waldron and Brenda Medina for ProPublica: “As a transgender woman, Olivia, 36, had faced additional TSA scrutiny before. On those occasions, a manual search at the checkpoint had been enough to assure TSA officers that there wasn’t a weapon or explosive hidden in her undergarments.
This encounter with the TSA went very differently.”