#164: School Colors
Welcome, loyal readers! The Highlighter shies away from politics, but Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court will transform issues of race, education, and culture. This week’s edition focuses on affirmative action, support for abused women, voting rights, and public space — all critical issues that hang in the balance. Hope you’ll find time to read one or two of them!
Also: I love hearing from you. Reach out and share your thoughts. Let’s chat and build our reading community. Hit reply, leave a voice message, or give me a call at (415) 886-7475. Thank you!
The Rise and Fall of Affirmative Action
Affirmative action is about to die. If Edward Blum and Students for Fair Admissions get their way, colleges across the country will no longer be able to factor in race in their admissions decisions. For Michael Wang and many other high-achieving Chinese American students, elite schools like Harvard unfairly discriminate, admitting applicants with lower GPAs and test scores. But as this outstanding article explores, what we say is “fair” is complicated. Hua Hsu explains the origin of affirmative action, the history of Asian American immigration, and our country’s different notions of “justice for all.” (40 min)
+ What surprised you? This article definitely built my background knowledge on affirmative action. Hit reply and tell me what you learned!
Safe Homes: Secret Shelters for Abused Immigrant Women
Valentina (not her real name) opens her home to fellow Latina immigrant women whose partners have abused them. She’s done this for a long time, ever since her husband began to beat her. Many of the women she serves are undocumented, unsure whether to press charges, scared to leave their partners, worried about losing their children. Valentina listens, gives them shelter, and discusses their options. (17 min)
+ Read more from Lizzie Presser: #80, #96
Nugget (right), who belongs to loyal reader Nicki, relaxes with a friend. Want your pet to appear in The Highlighter? hltr.co/pets
A Glimmer of Hope? Restoring Voting Rights in Florida for Ex-Felons
Florida is one of four states that bars ex-felons from voting — yes, forever, even after they’ve served their time. Its law, passed in the Jim Crow era to block Black people from voting, now disenfranchises 1.69 million people. Since the presidential election of 2000, Desmond Meade has fought to reverse the ban, building an unlikely coalition with older white conservative Republicans. Polls say Florida Amendment 4 will pass next month. (14 min)
+ Read more on voting rights: #3, #24, #63, #116.
Libraries Are Palaces for the People: (Too Bad No One Ever Steps Inside.)
You like libraries, right? Me too. But when’s the last time you stepped foot inside one? This ode to libraries by NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg reminds us that libraries are one of the last bastions of public space in our increasingly isolated, lonely society. But I don’t buy his rosy statistics about overwhelming library usage. My theory is that we like that libraries exist. They make us feel good. But mostly we stay away. (12 min)
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