“That racist thing where I touch your hair”: A links round-up

I could not be more excited about the new Lifetime show UnREAL.

“Now I’m going to do that racist thing where I touch your hair.” Saeed Jones on being black in the book world.

A moderate voice on trigger warnings for the classics. And another piece on trigger warnings generally, which makes the point that it’s not about whether to teach this or that troubling text, but how.

Brit Bennett of the Paris Review on Addy Walker and black dolls in American culture. No joke, y’all, I reread the Addy books recently and they are fucking brutal.

Gender differences in how we write on the internet. (Women do it better, but don’t be jealous.)

In the wake of that all-white New York Times summer reading list, Roxane Gay talks about conversations around diversity and how tired she is of having to have them (the same ones) (over and over).

These fresco portraits of black queer artists as saints are so beautiful. I couldn’t stop staring at the one of Julissa Rodriguez.

  • MumsyNK

    I know what they’re saying about Addy. But the problem with slavery is that it allows slave-owners – or people of the slave-owning class (white people) to objectify members of the slave class. To me, the Addy books were critical because they told their young readers how impossibly cruel that was. Addy is completely relatable; I can’t imagine any white girl reading about her and being able to ignore her humanity. Are we going to say that children should never read about the disgraceful moments of our nation’s history? Seems to me the answer is not about getting rid of Addy (whose story is critical to our understanding of the American character), but adding other African-American characters as well whose circumstances are not so brutal – like maybe a girl living in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. Or how about also adding a series about the wretched Irish immigrants?

    • Yep, and I think they suggest that, right? That there be a more representative bunch of girls of color. I would definitely be into that. (If I were still a kid. Since I am not, I object to them adding and subtracting American Girls away from my core group, which is Samantha, Felicity, Kirsten, Addy, and I GUESS MOLLY BUT WHATEVER MOLLY.)

      • MumsyNK

        Ish? They suggest that…ish? I got the distinct impression that she thinks Addy’s story is too brutal for young black girls to read. And l think (and l realize l may be speaking from a too-privileged place) that that disrespects both modern and ancestral girls. Addy’s story is an American story – a painful one but a true one -and it has lessons for all of us. ( Is what l am trying to say.)

  • Some great articles here! Love the one on women writing from NYMag. Thanks for the links!

  • james b chester

    Well, I just spent an hour lost in your links. Thanks a lot. ;-).

  • JENNY JENNY YOU CAN WATCH THE FIRST FOUR EPISODES OF unREAL ON LIFETIME’S WEBSITE GET ON IT

    • OMG WHAT I AM SO EXCITED! We watched the first episode on Crackle, which is a thing that exists apparently, and I loved how dark and miserable it was. I’m super looking forward to the season.

  • “it’s not about whetherto teach this or that troubling text, but how.” agreed! Great articles as always, Jenny!

  • Great links! Yes, that white list thing is a bummer. It’s similar to how most people end up reading white authors, if they aren’t paying attention. I am so not a fan of fixing racism by being more aware of race. I so want it to blend in the background, for it to be natural to pick any book without thinking about race and then at the end of year finding that we have read a very diverse list.

    • That would be wonderful! If that could happen. But it seems to me that we’ve done the experiment of eliminating racism by not talking about/being aware of race, and it didn’t work. Everyone stayed racist and just didn’t think they were. So I do support these conversations, and I think raising awareness of the fact that it’s problematic to have an all-white reading list will ultimately lead to a change in action, if not a change in how people think.

  • nikki

    Your link round-ups are always the best.

    I hadn’t remembered how brutal the Addy books were. Jesus.