#145: Bach at the Burger King
Have you had a good morning so far, Loyal Readers? I hope so. This week’s issue focuses on the effects of gentrification, the challenges of integration, the complexities of appropriation, the horrors of elephant poaching, and the joys of succulents. Today’s lead article explores how a community group in San Francisco has weaponized Baroque music to drive away homeless people from a Burger King near City Hall. It should spur feelings.
Next Wednesday is HHH #6! Get your free ticket here. We’re meeting at Room 389 in Oakland beginning at 5:30 pm. Already 31 Loyal Readers are attending. Let’s reach 50, maybe?
Classical music is supposed to be for all of us. (Remember the “Ode to Joy” flash mob?) In recent years, however, as declining attendance at symphony halls suggest, the music of Bach and Mozart has become a class signifier. Now it’s worse: Classical music is being used as a weapon to repel the poor from city sidewalks and other public spaces. In this piece, Theodore Gioia explores this phenomenon outside a Burger King near San Francisco’s City Hall. (11 min)
The Racial Contours of Gentrification
What should be done about gentrification? One recent trend in San Francisco is the emergence of YIMBYs (Yes In Our Backyard), who want rapid construction of new housing, mostly at market rates. They argue that government regulations, like rent control, grow out of a paternalistic approach to protect poor people and people of color. Hogwash, say the authors of this academic article. Building more high rises won’t do anything to make the city more affordable for working class residents. In addition, the history of YIMBY in the Bay Area is not a racially inclusive one. Thank you to Loyal Reader Peter for suggesting this article. (46 min)
Loyal Reader #4 Erin taught at an elementary school in Morocco for two years. Here’s her favorite bookseller inside his used bookstore stall in the Medina of Rabat. (Erin reports that selling books wasn’t his top priority.)
Can Brown Deer, a Milwaukee Suburb, Stay Racially Integrated?
Brown Deer, Wisconsin (population: 12,000) is a quaint village outside of Milwaukee. Ever since a Brown-inspired busing program began 40 years ago, schools in Brown Deer have been racially diverse, with white students making up about 30% of the population. Recently, some white parents are complaining about “disruptive” classrooms and enrolling their children in a nearby school with fewer Black students. Will this integrated school system hold? (15 min)
Cultural Appropriation Articles Have Made Us Less Open
Connie Wang is tired of writing articles that condemn cultural appropriation. They’ve made people no less racist, she argues, as sides take turns pillorying each other on Twitter. Ms. Wang writes, “Talking about cultural appropriation the way that we have seems to have made us more callous and closed-off on all sides. It has simplified our differences instead of shining a light on our complexities.” (12 min)
Two issues ago, I asked you to answer, once and for all, the perennial question: How many spaces after a period? (It looks like the jury is still out.)
The Toll of Congo’s Elephant Wars
Poaching has killed about one-fourth of Africa’s elephants over the past decade. In Garamba National Park, in Democratic Republic of Congo, park rangers battle poachers with AK-47s and grenade launchers. But their enemies, mostly from South Sudan, keep coming, knowing one elephant’s tusks will fetch $14,500 in China. (12 min)
Everyone likes succulents now. You have a few, right? This article explains how Instagram, Amazon, climate change, and Millennials have made jade, aloe, and cactus the trendiest members of the plant kingdom — so much so, they’re being poached across California and shipped to Asia, sold for $50 a pop. (It helps that they’re mostly unkillable.) (29 min)
Six articles this week — who knew? Thank you for reading The Highlighter #145. Tell me what you thought by using the thumbs below. Also, let’s welcome new subscribers S, Elena, Courtney, and Ferryn! If you like reading this newsletter, please forward it to someone who might like it, too. If you think the newsletter is mostly meh, please unsubscribe. Also, please submit pet photos here and articles here. I’ll see you back here next Thursday at 9:10 am. Have a great week!
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