Steve Rousseau, Digg
Digg has a weekly post called "What We Learned This Week" that rounds up articles from around the web, on interesting, important topics from the week—much like this reading list. This week, however, Digg rounded up 11 articles about the devastation that has resulted from firearms and a lack of gun restrictions. Just scrolling through and seeing headlines like "The President Has Addressed The Nation 11 Times This Year In Response To Mass Shootings," and "The Gun-Rights Lobby Spent Seven Times More Than The Gun-Control Lobby In 2015" is enough to make you lose your appetite (at the very least). Each of these articles is worth the read, and kudos to Digg for putting all of these crucial pieces in one place.
Rebecca Traister, The Cut
When a white man kills, the media tells us their story: they were troubled, lonely, soft-spoken, bullied in school, blah blah blah. But black kids shot in the back are described as having illiterate parents and girls who are gang-raped are accused of "asking for it." In this piece for The Cut, Rebecca Traister explains what shouldn't have to be explained: "To be sure, white men may be charged, tried and convicted; they may be regarded as brutish criminals. But they can be simultaneously understood as human beings, driven by conflicting emotions, able—even in their criminality—to have experienced loss and confusion and anger and love, emotions we do not imaginatively afford America’s poor and black, the men and women who often find their way into our news cycles simply by having the audacity to live in a world that was not built for and around them," she writes. Traister, with extraordinary compassion, lays down the facts, making it impossible not to see how horribly ass backwards and devastating it is that white male lives are valued above all others.
Liz Pelly, Dazed
There's a group of girls who call themselves the Brujas. They're based in the Bronx, and bonded by skateboarding, friendship, and the "radical potential of sisterhood to foster real support systems, outside the mainstream social norms," as Liz Pelly writes. In this piece, the Brujas talk to Pelly about how skateboarding transcends being a mere city sport. It's a getaway, it creates zen, disrupts ideas of private property, and, according to Brujas member and activist Natalie, is "really anti-systemic," but in a peaceful way. As Pelly writes, "skating allows the Brujas to push back and reclaim space for themselves and their friends, to create a culture and a city they want to exist within." Damn, Brujas.
Jeff Weiss, The FADER
ILoveMakonnen looks good. He's been working out. But he's also been doing a lot of thinking about #BlackLivesMatter, ethics in the music industry (and the rest of America), and what's next for his career. "As a culture, America needs to stop celebrating. We don't even know what the fuck we're celebrating anymore. People are out here lost and intoxicated," says Makonnen. Word. Read Weiss's full piece for more.
Doreen St. Felix, The FADER
"A cursory glance at the user-generated content rising to the top of the internet heap reveals how much of it is produced by black teens, members of a burgeoning Generation Z who experiment with the iPhone gaze," St. Felix writes in this piece on viral content and the problem of ownership. When corporations and companies like IHOP profit off of slang, dance, and other innovations that shape our culture but don't bother to give credit to the actual innovators, there's a problem. St. Felix's essay is important because, as @rawiya notes, "intellectual property is a civil rights issue."
Steven Thrasher, BuzzFeed
Michael Johnson, aka Tiger Mandingo, is currently serving 30 to life, convicted for failing to tell his sexual partners that he was HIV positive. At least, that's what he was officially on trial for, but as Steven Thrasher writes, "inside the courtroom, the man known as Tiger Mandingo was also up against America’s attitudes on race and sexuality." Johnson's sentence exceeds the average penalties for physical assault, forcible rape with a weapon, and second-degree murder. BuzzFeed has the full report from the Saint Charles, Missouri courtroom, where he was convicted by a completely heterosexual, all-but-one white jury.
Ron Hart, Pitchfork
In order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and the Vince Guaraldi Trio's iconic score (which reportedly the musicians "did the music in a day and a half, two days"), Pitchfork spoke with musicians from across all genres, who shared thoughts and memories about this evergreen gem of a film.