Singling Out Homeless Status

Singling Out Homeless Status is a Double Standard that Unjustly Penalizes the Poor (Adam H. Johnson)

Leading with housing status for homeless people is a common trope in the news reporting business and one in urgent need of re-examining. In many cases, it is used as a rhetorical device to depict people experiencing homelessness as a threat to public safety, a common right-wing canard used to justify virulently anti-homeless policies and harsh policing of people perceived to be poor.

Detroit Homeowners Overtaxed

Detroit Homeowners Overtaxed $600 Million (Christine MacDonald)

Many who got inflated bills were unable to pay them, and now that debt is gathering interest. Others have fallen behind on recent taxes to pay past bills and avoid foreclosure. About 28,000 of the overtaxed homes The News identified have been foreclosed since 2013, the first year those inflated tax bills could have contributed to foreclosures.

Some housing activists have wanted more, including at least halting the tax auction until outstanding debt can be recalculated to reflect past home values. But city and county officials have dismissed that possibility.

The Conundrum of Privilege

White Progressive Parents and the Conundrum of Privilege (Margaret Hagerman)

Parents continue to make decisions…that extend the advantages of wealth. Those choices, however, have other consequences: They shape what children think about race, racism, inequality and privilege far more than anything parents say (or do not say).

Children reach their own conclusions about how society works, or should work, based on their observations of their social environment and interactions with others….So how their parents set up kids’ lives matters deeply.

If affluent, white parents hope to raise children who reject racial inequality, simply explaining that fairness and social justice are important values won’t do the trick. Instead, parents need to confront how their own decisions and behaviors reproduce patterns of privilege. They must actually advocate for the well-being, education and happiness of all children, not just their own.

When I Stopped Trying to Lose Weight

What I Gained When I Stopped Trying to Lose Weight (Reina Sultan)

I have the freedom to be who I am now — instead of being trapped in a mental prison that I wouldn’t free myself from until I lost weight.

There are so many things we cannot and should not try to control. When I accept those things, I can put my energy into focusing on the things I can change, making my relationships healthier and my work more fulfilling.

What is Whiteness?

What is Whiteness? (Nell Irvin Painter)

The useful part of white identity’s vagueness is that whites don’t have to shoulder the burden of race in America, which, at the least, is utterly exhausting. A neutral racial identity is blandly uninteresting.

We lack more meaningful senses of white identity, even though some whites, throughout history, have been committed to fighting racism and advocating for social justice.

Eliminating the binary definition of whiteness — the toggle between nothingness and awfulness — is essential for a new racial vision that ethical people can share across the color line.

It’s Not Too Soon

It’s Not ‘Too Soon’ to Talk About the Kobe Bryant Rape Case (Josh Levin, Stefan Fatsis, Joel Anderson)

The way that I think of it is that if your support and your admiration for Kobe is strong enough, like if you really loved Kobe, you idolized him, that should be real enough to sustain an analysis or review of his life as he lived it. Nobody is telling you how to mourn or that you can’t feel sorry for the fact that he died or that it was a tragedy, because it is. But that should not therefore dictate the way others choose to remember him or what we want to say about his death.

Victims everywhere are watching. Survivors in your life right now are listening to this and reading this and hearing all the dismissals. Survivors aren’t in a community all to themselves. They’re part of all these other communities.

Elizabeth Warren and DNA Testing

Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee Citizenship, and DNA Testing (Adrienne Keene, Rebecca Nagle, Joseph M. Pierce)

The goal of this syllabus is to frame the recent claims to Cherokee ancestry by US Senator Elizabeth Warren as part of a longer history of cultural appropriation, erasure, and settler colonialism. Warren’s claims reveal the pervasive influence of biological essentialism–through the supposed certainty of DNA testing–in the globalized present. As is documented in this syllabus, the juncture of culture, genetics, and Indigenous sovereignty has become a crucial domain of discursive and political contestation. At stake is the ability of sovereign Indigenous nations to determine citizenship and belonging according to their own cultural beliefs and historical understandings of community.

Why Can’t Men Just Say I’m Sorry?

Why Can’t Men Just Say I’m Sorry? (Sady Doyle)

Most women genuinely want to have good relationships with their male friends and colleagues. When someone presents himself as a “good,” feminist man, we want to believe it, because a life where you cannot trust half the planet is no life at all. Yet these unequal relationships—women with male friends, queer people with straight friends, people of color who socialize with white people—only work if the privileged party is willing to make themselves vulnerable and admit that there are things they don’t know. At the point where solidarity conflicts with self-interest, men routinely fall apart and blow up at women rather than admit they’ve made a mistake.

Hearing that you’ve messed up can be a way to understand the issues better, but only if you’re willing to learn from it. If someone close to you points out that you’ve said something sexist, you gain nothing by blowing up at them or calling them a liar. Only the hurt person knows for sure how damaging your comment was. You can shame that person, and thereby end or damage the relationship, or you can say you’re sorry. Even if you don’t fully comprehend how you hurt someone, the apology itself is an act of growth; it means you admit that your actions can have an impact you didn’t anticipate.

How I Learned to Embrace Calling Myself Fat

How I Learned to Embrace Calling Myself Fat (Samhita Mukhopadhyay)

Accepting that I am fat gave me the space to consider what care would look like for myself outside of the confining walls of self-hatred. Carving out a space that is rooted in dignity, in believing you deserve better and you deserve to be cared for. It’s recognizing that the world is horrible to fat people: openly discriminatory, hostile even, and understanding that you do not deserve that treatment. It’s understanding that everyone has internalized these toxic views of thinness and it impacts their behavior. It’s giving yourself a break from the pressure to feed into everyone else’s ideas of what your body should look like.

Are Asian Americans People of Color?

Are Asian Americans White? Or People of Color? (Naseem Bhangal and OiYan Poon)

Even though anti-Asian racism is not the same as anti-Black racism, both types of racism still reinforce and result from structures of white dominance. Systemic white supremacy affects different populations in different ways.

Identifying as Asian American is not a biological destiny or question of geography, which would suggest a passive orientation (i.e. individuals are born Asian) rather than an active choice to identify in solidarity against matrices of oppression—internal and external—to the Asian American community. For those drawn to the term as a political tool for organizing, solidarity is key and requires individuals to reflect on and claim “Asian American” as opposed to being defaulted into the racial category.

Answering whether Asian Americans identify with other solidarity terms is not simple and often reveals individual identity development, sociocultural politics, and availability of critical education.