These are the things that got me reading and thinking this week.
The Parable of the Unjust Judge or: Fear of a N***** Nation (The Toast)
I’m still following the protests in Ferguson and reading all I can about the situation. This piece, over at The Toast, should be your required reading for the week:
So let’s be clear about the stakes of this conflict: we are trying to decide whether or not Michael Brown was a nigger. A dead human being is a tragedy that needs to be investigated and accounted for. A dead nigger doesn’t even need to be mourned, much less its death justified.
This is a hard read, but it’s an important one. Eloquently and succinctly, Ezekiel Kweku breaks down the media’s narratives surrounding Michael Brown and respectability politics. Respectability politics provide a completely false narrative, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s the narrative we are fed.
The troubling scenes we’ve seen in Ferguson – of the abrogation of basic civil rights, of the lack of respect for the community being policed, of casual brutality and harassment of the citizenry, of a police force taking the aggressive crouch of an occupying army – these scenes might be new to many white Americans, but for black America, they are as old as Reconstruction and as familiar as Sunday. Our white allies can alleviate their fears by returning the country to some imagined golden age of the friendly neighborhood constable, whistling as he strolls his beat, idly swinging his baton. Black Americans don’t have to be civil rights scholars to know that there is no idyllic utopia there for us.
Please go read this.
Female Sexuality in YA Fiction: a Look at the Landscape (Stacked)
Jensen is a blogger to watch when it comes to books, YA, and social issues, and this piece about the holes in YA fiction is another standout post. In this post, she tackles the portrayal of female sexuality in YA:
The depictions of sexuality in YA matter because these are safe spaces for readers — teen readers, especially — can think about, explore, and consider what it means to be a sexual being. We don’t talk openly or honestly about sex as a culture, and we certainly don’t talk about it in positive, affirming, and empowering ways with teenagers.
There is, of course, a book list and great discussion. Worth your time if you’re at all interested in YA fiction/feminism/female empowerment.
Why Female Writers Get Trolled the Worst (Salon)
There aren’t really any answers to the question posed by the article’s title, but it’s interesting to see another piece about this (and I will keep linking to these posts because it’s important) that takes a look at the results of a recent study about the amount of vitriol people get based on their sex (and, it seems, their profession):
According to new research released by the think tank Demos, which pored over more than 2 million online messages, one in 20 messages directed at a male public figure is abusive, while just one in 70 is for a female counterpart. That is, unless she’s a female journalist.
In that case, more than 5 percent of the messages a woman receives online will be abusive or derogatory in nature, on average.
Obviously, these negative comments often include rape threats and seriously violent threats, and if the woman is a feminist or is advocating for women? Expect an outpouring of vitriol. Because internet. Because misogyny.
What got you reading and thinking this week?