—Hélène Barthélemy focuses on the criminal justice system, activism and culture.
“Facebook for Space? Airbnb’s Weird Corporate Nationhood,” by Kate Losse. Dissent, July 26, 2014.
This article in Dissent looks at the oddness of corporations’ constant appeal to emotional ties through the case of Airbnb: you no longer simply pay for a room, you actually belong to a community. The odd sense that you have to love the person you rent a room from hides the purely transactional nature of the company. It is not only tedious and slightly shallow, but it also makes bargaining harder and fundamentally transforms the way we think of payment, concealing it.
—Summer Concepcion focuses on race, gender and criminal justice.
“Whiteness is Still a Proxy for Being American,” by Peter Beinart. The Atlantic, July 27, 2014.
The thought that someone might mistake me for a foreigner has crossed my mind many, many times since I was a child. Despite my Filipino ethnicity, my nationality is American, since I was born and raised here. Although the dialogue of America as a “melting pot” is a well-known one, it seems that the default image of an American has always been that of a white person. White people are the “norm” in society, which is evident from beauty standards to the fact that they’re more likely to uphold the image of the “American dream.” Let’s make this clear: race and ethnicity don’t devalue how “American” someone is.
—Erin Corbett focuses on national security and reproductive rights.
“‘Water, Water Everywhere’: Racial Inequality and Reproductive Justice in Detroit,” by Cortney Bouse and Elizabeth Mosley. RH Reality Check, July 22, 2014.
This piece situates the water shutoff in Detroit in a larger sociopolitical context. The authors begin with the story of a woman named Kendra, who must push a cart several blocks every morning in order to access water, a basic human right, from a friend whose water hasn’t yet been shut off. They take this seemingly isolated story and draw connections to a rural area in Western Uganda where Mosley often saw women having to make these same daily trips for water. Mosley and Bouse also draw on the European colonization of East Africa in the twentieth century, “characterized by depletion of resources, exploitation of communities of color, and underinvestment in social infrastructure,” similar to what is currently happening in Detroit. And as if it wasn’t enough to make connections between the two “populations of color [facing] similarly devastating consequences from the inherently intertwined systems of capitalism and racism,” Mosley and Bouse tie the water shutoffs to reproductive health and justice.