Consequences in Red

How Decades of Racist Policy Left Neighborhoods Sweltering (Brad Plumer, Nadja Popovich)

There are places like Gilpin all across the United States. In cities like Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Portland and New York, neighborhoods that are poorer and have more residents of color can be 5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit hotter in summer than wealthier, whiter parts of the same city.

And there’s growing evidence that this is no coincidence. In the 20th century, local and federal officials, usually white, enacted policies that reinforced racial segregation in cities and diverted investment away from minority neighborhoods in ways that created large disparities in the urban heat environment.

The consequences are being felt today.

Who’s Out?

The Twisted Racial Politics of Going Outside (s.e. smith)

There are loud echoes of racism and classism in these conversations for obvious reasons: After white people colonize environments, they’re swift to assert themselves as the arbiters of good, respectful behavior in said spaces.

While the stated goal may be to preserve the intrinsic beauty and worth of the wilderness, or to restore damaged land, it comes with loaded expectations about who can use that space and how. These conversations are not only racist, they’re also deeply classist and disablist.

Canada is Fake

Canada is Fake (Alex Verman)

The state itself is the best evidence we have for the claim that something can be both socially constructed and also terribly consequential — a border is an utterly unnatural thing, something that is so flimsy and nonsensical that states spend billions of dollars maintaining the illusion of their reality every year.

The eventual formation of Canada as “Canada” came about in the late 1800s for nakedly economic reasons, primarily to benefit the companies and conglomerates that were trading Canadian natural resources with the British, but also to facilitate railroad construction (using slave labor) in which civic leaders had investments.

The lands in question are technically unceded, meaning that they lie fully outside of the jurisdiction of the Canadian state — this land was never officially incorporated into the Canadian state, and the people there never entered into formal treaties with Canadian colonists.

Slavery’s Fierce Undertow

Africa, America, and Slavery’s Fierce Undertow (Jacqueline Woodson)

Almost two weeks into my time in Ghana, my heart remains in my throat. There is nowhere in this country where the eye can land and the body not feel, at once, both a deep pain and an immense joy.

I think about what I’ve asked myself since landing on African soil. Can I belong here? Has this country truly called me home?

As true as an undertow, I feel the water pulling me back across it, taking me to where it took my ancestors centuries ago. To a land as foreign to them as the African chiefs who offered brown bodies over for weapons, brass and cotton. As foreign as the white captors who raped, brutalized and enslaved those same bodies. I feel the pull of the history that brought me here. And the history that took me away. A feeling as old as my body itself overcomes me — that I have never felt whole in one place. In Africa, like America, I am only halfway home. My body belonging to both and neither place.

Half of Wisconsin’s Black Neighborhoods are Jails (Brentin Mock)

There are 56 of them, 31 of which are either jails or prisons. There are 15 cities where the only black neighborhood is a jail. The city of Winnebago claims it has an African-American population of more than19 percent, but most, if not all, of that black population is located among one of four correctional facilities there. It’s perhaps no wonder that Wisconsin perennially comes up as the worst place for African Americans to live in the country.

Despite this terrible epidemic, it seems that whenever people try to speak out against it, they are met with backlash and apathy. Whenever people failed by a racially disparate economic system, a business-as-usual governmental system, and a rooted-in-slavery police system demand much-needed, life-or-death systemic changes by marching in the streets and chanting “Black Lives Matter,” they are somehow met with disdain for simply fighting for their freedom and their right to self-determination.

The Midwest Has Meaning for More Than Just Whites (Morgan Jerkins)

Since 2016, our nation has been bombarded with profiles upon profiles of the Midwest that have been paradoxically both informative and narrow. The region itself has been the site for political fascination, most recently due to the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency. While it is true that Trump’s victories in the Midwest were crucial to him defeating Hillary Clinton, that is not the whole story. That is never the whole story. As Winfrey-Harris writes in her op-ed, “It is a bitter irony, then, that many of the arguments about Mr. Trump’s appeal to Midwesterners make sense only if you pretend Black people don’t exist in the middle of the country.”