Your week in review in haiku:
Punt or punch: Who cares
That "pre-existing" is a
condition we share?
Sean? Hey, Sean? Wait. SEAN!
Is it a fence or a wall?
Oh, now we’re talking.
Happy day filled with
Trump Tower Grill taco bowls!
Such a sticky race,
Running for those roses with
Mick and dead flowers
When Adam Jones speaks,
headlines abound. Where’s the grief
for Jordan Edwards? *
Have a poetically stereotype-free weekend.
*inspired by raceAhead reader Mike Spinney
Flint files notice for tax liens on 8,000 residents for unpaid water bills
The city says it’s strapped for cash, but thousands of people who are struggling to manage an ongoing lead-poisoned drinking water crisis are now facing possible foreclosure. Melissa Mays, a mother and water activist who received a notice told NBC 25 News, "I got scared, for probably the first time since this all started this actually scared me.” The residents have until May 19 to pay their bills. Congressman Dan Kildee from Michigan’s Fifth District said, “Flint families should not have to pay for water that they still cannot drink, and they certainly should not lose their homes over this ongoing water crisis that was caused by the callous decisions of state government.” Click through to read the entire lien notice.
Georgia’s Karen Handel is in trouble for offensive tweet
Karen Handel is the Republican in the hotly contested runoff race for Georgia’s sixth district seat. Her husband, however, is not helping. Steve Handel shared a campaign ad on Twitter that cast the Republican party as the savior of black people. “Criticizing Black kids for obeying the law, studying in school, and being ambitious as ‘acting White’ is a trick the Democrats play on Black people to keep them poor, ignorant, and dependent,” it said, with the kicker that Handel would “free the Black slaves from the Democratic Party plantation.” The tweet was deleted, but writer Imani Gandy unpacks the insidious implications behind the image. “It’s an old canard that plays on the rank ignorance of a shocking number of conservatives who claim that Lincoln—a Republican—freed the slaves, that Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan, and that Martin Luther King was a Republican in order to make some observation about the political landscape as it exists today,” she writes.
A rare look at a deadly archive: The final resting place for border crossers
It is, at best, an uncertain journey. But more often than we would like to think about, the crossing from Mexico into the U.S. turns out to be a deadly one. Most succumb to the elements - heatstroke, hypothermia, or dehydration - their names lost along with their lives. Of the hundreds who have died in the attempt to enter Texas in the last few years, the remains and belongings of 212 of them are being stored at a border-crossers’ morgue at a Texas State University lab. In South Texas, the discovery of decomposing bodies is a regular occurrence. Mark W. White Jr., a former Texas governor, found a human skull on a hunting trip near a border crossing in 2014. When he called for help, a woman answering the phone told him, “We can’t pick him up today because we have three fresh ones we have to pick up today.”
The truth about transitioning as an athlete
Transgender women were, until recently, uniformly banned from competitive sport. Though the International Olympic Committee helped widen the door in 2004, athletes still face humiliating testing procedures and serious misconceptions about what it means to be transgender. (For starters, transgender women are not men in disguise, aiming to colonize the medal stands in female-focused competitions.) This profile of Natalie Washington, a seventh division soccer/football player in England, helps illuminate the truth of transitioning while athletic. In addition to managing her hormonal health, she had to deal with her changing capacity. “I'm much less able to compete physically than I was. I was never strong before, but I have even less upper body strength now," she says.
A controversial Op-Ed about Haiti’s future spurs angry dialog
Richard Albert, a visiting Yale professor with no shortage of credentials, published an opinion piece that has been generating plenty of opinions. He starts by saying that the thirty years since Haiti has adopted their constitution have been a disappointment. “The truth is that the constitution has not made much of a difference because the country needs a far more dramatic intervention,” he says. Blaming corrupt, self-interested leadership, he calls for a dramatic solution. “The new Haitian Constitution should do something virtually unprecedented: renounce the power of self-governance and assign it for a term of years, say 50, to a country that can be trusted to act in Haiti’s long-term interests.” The public reaction to his piece was swift and clear: A country that can be trusted to act in Haiti’s long-term interests has never existed. The first free sovereign black republic should become a ward of the same “civilized” world which has abused it for centuries? Oh no, said Twitter.
The Woke Leader
How the Haitian Revolution made America possible
It's not a happy story. Slate has done us a great service by putting together a series exploring the history of American slavery, complete with references for more reading. In this installment, they explore the details of the Haitian Revolution of 1791, which in its violence and success, shocked the wider white world. It’s worth a read when you’ve got time; every great white hero from Napoleon to Thomas Jefferson is implicated, and solidly on the wrong side of history. A sovereign Haiti, which persisted for years, inspired anti-slavery activism in Europe, while making slavery more entrenched in the New World. From Edward Baptist’s book, “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism”: “Haitians had opened 1804 by announcing their grand experiment of a society whose basis for citizenship was literally the renunciation of white privilege, but their revolution’s success had at the same time delivered the Mississippi Valley to a new empire of slavery.”
The women who died for your glow-in-the-dark watch faces
In the late 1910’s, radium was a newly discovered element which quickly became all the rage, showing up in cosmetics, cleaning fluids, even radioactive "health" water. But one commercial application completely transformed the watch industry: By painting the tiny numbers on watch faces with radium paint, they would glow in the dark. Companies hired scores of working-class teen girls to do the delicate work, which required them to shape the brush into a fine point by dabbing it against their lips, a technique called “lip pointing.” As the girls began to die horrible deaths - their jaws literally rotting away - their pleas for help and justice were ignored by employers and the powerful radium industry. This extraordinary story is the basis of a new book by Kate Moore, The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women. Click through for Jezebel’s interview with the author and lots of horrifying examples of deadly entrepreneurialism now lost to history.
When the world is your art museum
If you, like me, are in the mood to silently wander the world and take heartfelt Instagram photos of poignant street art while looking for meaning in the madness, then Lonely Planet has the guide for you. Click through for their list of eight amazing cities for street art - Lisbon, São Paulo, Berlin and my native NYC all make the cut - but I’d add Florence and Lagos to the list if you’re asking. If you’re in the mood to start making street art on your own, here are some interesting tips and suggestions. Among my favorites: Spray paint is really toxic, get used to working in bad weather, and you’re not going to be Banksy no matter how hard you try.