Race

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Charleston and White Supremacy: A Reading List

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As many of us continue to reel from this week’s mass murder at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, there are many broader issues and histories we need to reflect on — to make sense of this crime and to help us see a better future ahead. We’ve curated a weekend reading list that offers context for everything from the history of the targeted church and Charleston, to media criticism, to an in-depth look at the faces of today’s organized white supremacy movement.
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Colbert’s ‘Late Show’ Bandleader Jon Batiste on How Music Can Unite America Right Now

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Perhaps even more than Michael McDonald, Jon Batiste’s whole thing revolves around taking it to the streets. The Stay Human bandleader and come September, the official “musical friend” on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show has built his career around the kinds of performances that are common in his hometown of New Orleans. But his spontaneous shows aren’t not some flashmob gimmick: Batiste grounds his approach in pure humanism, so much so that it borders on political.
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Rachel Dolezal Identifies as Black, Denounces Blackface in Confusing First Interviews

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Rachel Dolezal’s “silence-breaking” interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, along with a second series of interview excerpts with MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, didn’t reveal all that much we didn’t already know. So far, the biggest takeaway has been that Dolezal — in the cultural hot seat this week, to put it mildly — claims she has no deception to confess. She essentially ends up sticking to her story, saying she identifies as black. She even seems to give credence to the (widely criticized) theory that her identity is something akin to transgender, and that she experienced a sense of racial dysmorphia from an early age.
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Rue From ‘The Hunger Games’ Understands Something About Racism That So Many Americans Don’t

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Her gorgeous performance as Rue from The Hunger Games attracted a cascade of racist responses on social media, but now teenager Amandla Sternberg is becoming a public voice on the topics of race and culture, thanks to a Tumblr video that has gone viral. In a few short, well-produced moments, Sternberg answered one question that American media consumers and creators fail to understand, and raised another that we’d all do well to seriously consider. And she did it all as history class project, with the help of a friend.
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Reif Larsen’s ‘I Am Radar': Art and Race in 2015’s First Big, Messy Novel

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Am Radar begins in darkness: the title character, Radar Radmanovic, is born to his mother Charlene during a hospital blackout. Charlene’s husband, Kermin Radmanovic, is tinkering with a transceiver radio in the delivery room, waiting to “announce his child’s arrival to the world.” But when the lights come on the doctor is holding on to her newborn child, a baby “so dark it shimmered purple in the beam of light, like an eggplant.”
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‘Parks and Recreation’s’ Donna Meagle Is the Fat Heroine of My Dreams

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Parks and Recreation ends its seven-season run Tuesday night on NBC. To celebrate the show’s unforgettable characters, Flavorwire is publishing a series of tributes to our favorite Pawnee residents. Click here to follow our coverage.

The most shocking thing a fat woman can do is to have a loving boyfriend — especially a loving boyfriend who finds her genuinely attractive, instead of merely developing an affection for the quirks of her misshape in the way one finds a crooked nose or awkward birthmark sort of adorable over time.
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50 Essential African-American Independent Films

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While there are still too few African-American voices being recognized in Hollywood, recent films like Ava DuVernay’s Selma and Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus speak to a vital tradition of black independent filmmakers. Many pioneering African-American directors, like Melvin Van Peebles and Julie Dash, were trailblazers who found funding for their fiercely idiosyncratic visions. They defied expectations and proved that there was an audience for films about black characters as told by black artists. In celebration of Black History Month, Flavorwire has compiled a list of 50 essential African-American independent… Read More

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It’s Not Just About Beck and Beyoncé: Grammy Album of the Year Is a Flawed Award

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By now you may have heard Kanye West’s thoughts regarding last night’s Album of the Year Grammy win for Beck, that Beyoncé was robbed again at the hands of a white music industry that’s “disrespectful to inspiration,” that “smack[s] people in their face after they deliver monumental feats of music.” These are salacious sound bites indeed, and they’re only enhanced by Kim Kardashian’s, “Uh oh, don’t let this be another ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’ moment” face. And really, Kanye isn’t wrongnot even Beck thinks so.
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What Do We Really Know About Hae Min Lee, ‘Serial’s’ “Beautiful” Dead Korean Girl?

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Like countless other obsessed fans of Serial, the addictive true-crime podcast where This American Life host/producer Sarah Koenig investigates a murder, I was first drawn in by the dramatic possibility Koenig presented: Adnan Syed had been wrongfully accused and imprisoned for killing his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. With each episode, Koenig circles around the case. She paints a vivid portrait of Adnan’s life, presents conflicting reports of the events of the day Hae was killed, the strange turns of police investigation, missteps made by Adnan’s defense lawyer, and an entire episode devoted to Jay, the former friend whose testimony cemented Adnan’s fate.
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