What I’m Reading and Thinking About This Week

Happy Friday, readers! I hope you are awakening out of your turkey/food comas and are ready for some links to read and think about while you digest.  It’s not going to be an easy week for reads:

Why Were Three Teenage Rape Victims Bullied Out of School in Oklahoma? (Jezebel)

I tweeted about this article earlier this week (you guys are all glued to my Twitter TL, right?  Right…?), but it bears repeating it here: you need to be paying attention to what is happening to a group of teenage girls at a high school in Oklahoma.  The students at the school organized a massive walkout protest after three girls who were raped by the same student (who filmed himself raping them) were essentially forced to leave the school after being bullied mercilessly by classmates.

The administration sounds like a bunch of scared, clueless adults.  The story will make you very, very angry:

But even to call what allegedly happened at Norman “bullying” falls short. If the girls’ stories are accurate, their fellow students were engaged in a campaign of harassment, intimidation and silencing. Amber was specifically warned to “watch her back” if she talked about the rape, a statement that’s tantamount to witness tampering.

Meanwhile in America, Brown Girls are Still Dreaming (Buzzfeed)

This piece by Ashley C. Ford is absolutely beautiful.  It’s about her experiences with reading and trying to find books with protagonists who looked like her, and it’s about the amazing Jacqueline Woodson, whose book, Brown Girl Dreaming, is winning some much-deserved awards.  It’s also about Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) and his gross, completely inappropriate racist joke:

We forget how often carelessness is a kind of malicious behavior. Woodson was worth taking the time to consider if “the joke” would undercut her moment. She should not have to accept a National Book Award in one hand and Handler’s apology in the other. She was worth the time it would take to come up with a joke that was less lazy. Her story deserved better. A writer’s victory is also a victory for the many readers nourished by her work. Every brown girl watching, hoping, and writing deserved better.

For Tamir, Who Was Stolen (Stacia L. Brown)

Stacia L. Brown is an incredible writer, and this piece helps illustrate that.  While much of the country’s attention has been on the murder of Mike Brown and the injustice that has occurred in Ferguson, Missouri this week, it’s important to note that the police have shot and killed another child this week.  His name was Tamir Rice, and he was 12, and he is dead because the police shot him at a community center in front of his family. In America.

I will need to remember this, and it won’t be hard. I am sure you had heard of the boys and the girls before you, all gone before their time. I am sure that, by twelve, you may’ve had some sense that cops are not kind to black boys who are tall for their age. In death, you have joined an innumerable host of witnesses, carrying the truth of your final moments with you into eternity, while the rest of us spend years parsing speculation.

This is an incredibly beautiful and difficult read.  It’s also important.

Democracy, Thanksgiving, and Why You Shouldn’t Unfriend those Disagreeable Schmucks on Facebook (Pajiba)

The crux of this article is something I think about a lot and can’t come to a decision I’m wholly comfortable with.  On the one hand, I worry about how we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people, because like Wilson in this article, it means we’re missing out on hard, important conversations.  On the other hand, I’ve seen so much racist, hateful garbage spewed over the past few months that I no longer have the stomach for it.  I’m not going to change the minds of these monster garbage people, and at a certain point, I have to step away and choose to look away (I realize this is a privilege in and of itself) in order to preserve some part of myself.

But it’s not just about changing minds, it’s about ensuring that we see everyone as human beings instead of just faceless mobs on the other side of vast chasms. Democracy only works if we believe that no matter how repulsive another’s ideas, they have just as much right to them as we do. Democracy fails when we draw the lines of us and them, when we insist that there are people who agree with us, and there are people who shouldn’t be listened to nor trusted with power.

What are you reading and thinking about?

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