Good morning! Welcome to our weekly reading roundup.
In case you missed it, our most popular post last week was Erika Heidewald on why everyone should be worried about what happened to the LA Weekly, and what it means for the future of free press in the United States.
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Without further ado, here’s what we’re reading…
‘Conservative Evangelicals Have Shown Me Who They Really Are‘ (Tomi Obaro for Buzzfeed)
There’s a quiet crisis of faith happening in the United States as Christian Evangelicals — who have historically been heavily conservative — are forced to confront the fact that the leader of conservative politics in the United States is a hypocritical, sexist, racist, deeply hateful man. While Trump tried to pander to evangelicals during the election, he’s long since abandoned any pretense, and this is leading some Christians to wonder what, exactly, they’re faithful to.
And yet this massive change of heart among evangelicals in the moral standard they hold political leaders to, and the unseemly compromises they seem willing to make for political power, feels almost like a personal betrayal to me. And I’m not alone in this. Though younger evangelicals were already leaving the church before the 2016 election, the results of the election in some ways became merely an irrevocable turning point, the latest proof confirming that a significant portion of evangelicals appear to have lost their way.
‘Will Women In Low-Wage Jobs Get Their #MeToo Moment?‘ (Clare Malone for FiveThirtyEight)
Women in low-wage jobs, like housekeepers, nannies, and food service workers, have been fighting sexual harassment and abuse for years. Some are even winning major victories, though you wouldn’t know it if you just looked at the news. Now, some are wondering if it’s finally time to see their stories in the mainstream, and for the US to confront its complicity with the abuse of women who make the country tick.
Since the Diallo-Strauss-Kahn case made headlines six years ago, parts of American society now seem more inclined to “believe women.” 2011 came close to having a sexual misconduct moment, one that was started by a low-wage woman’s complaint — the crucial element of rapt media attention was certainly there. But the culture wasn’t primed for it; the time wasn’t yet ripe.
‘“We’ll Deal with the Consequences Later”: The Cajun Navy and the Vigilante Future of Disaster Relief‘ (Miriam Markowitz for GQ)
We can’t stop thinking about this piece: In a nation with stark inequalities, it’s not surprising that assistance during disaster recovery is contingent on race, class, disability status, and citizenship, rather than need. Some people have given up on waiting, and they’re forming their own vigilante rescue squads who swoop in to save lives and support communities. Is this the future of disaster response in the US?
Ben told me the story of a nursing home in Port Arthur he and the Cajun Navy helped evacuate. When a staff member let them in to the facility, they found an older woman sitting in a wheelchair, her legs covered by a foot and a half of fetid water. “Why is she shaking?” Ben asked. “How long has she been here?” The staffer didn’t know.
‘This is How a Woman is Erased From Her Job‘ (A.N. Devers for Longreads)
This is a story of such sweeping, mindboggling sexism that it’s almost unbelievable: The history of the second-ever editor of the Paris Review has been systematically erased, repeatedly, and the only logical reason why is that she’s a woman, and some people apparently experience deep discomfort with this fact. This is one journalist’s deep, thoughtful look at sexism in media.
The Review’s Wikipedia page was also edited to remove her multiple times, as I saw in screenshots forwarded to me. A particularly interesting example of this occurred in 2005, when a user removed Hughes from the magazine’s expanded page. The reasoning? “For clarity,” the user posted. A month later, another user at a different IP address overturned that change and reinstated Hughes. She remained in the Review‘s Wiki annals until early 2011, when yet another user at yet another IP address struck her from the page. She wouldn’t return until November 2017, one month before Stein’s resignation. Hughes didn’t even have her own Wikipedia entry noting her role or the fact that she publishes an 11-year-old magazine called A Public Space, which has debuted many writers who have gone on to have incredible careers, including Leslie Jamison, Nam Le and MacArthur Fellow and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.
‘Nothing Protects Black Women From Dying in Pregnancy and Childbirth‘ (Nina Martin and ProPublica and Renee Montagne for NPR)
The disparities in outcomes for Black and white parents when it comes to pregnancy, labour and delivery, and maternal mortality are stark. Some might attribute this to the class inequality that comes with race in the US, with Black parents more likely to be low-income, and more likely to struggle with access to health care and safe places to live. This story shows that there’s something at deeper at work: When a highly educated Black women who also happens to be a public health professional dies of childbirth-related complications, this is about race, not class.
Underneath the numb despair was a profound sense of failure — and an acute understanding of what Shalon’s death represented. The researcher working to eradicate disparities in health access and outcomes had become a symbol of one of the most troublesome health disparities facing black women in the U.S. today, disproportionately high rates of maternal mortality. The main federal agency seeking to understand why so many American women — especially black women — die and nearly die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth had lost one of its own.
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