+ Two great podcasts, and our Article Club discussion is this weekend!
Hi there, loyal readers! Thank you very much for reading this week’s issue. It’ll be a shorter one than usual because I started my new job on Monday (haven’t been fired yet! 😀), which has significantly reduced my reading time.
But never fear! I’m pleased with this week’s selections and hope that you carve out some time to read (and listen) to them.
For our lead article this week, I’ve highlighted “Bro,” a short story about Greg, a white man in Canada who wants to do something to advance social justice after feeling sorry about police murders of unarmed Black men in the United States. His wife suggests volunteering or donating to a non-profit organization. That’s not enough for Greg. His goal? To make a Black friend.
Yes, the story is cringey — and absurd, and tragic, and sometimes funny. Most of all, though, the piece represents an unspoken truth embraced by some white people: that if they befriend Black people, then they can’t be racist, that they’re safe, that they’re “a good white person.”
Hope you enjoy the piece. I’d love to hear what you think! Does the story ring true for you? Leave a comment below – or if writing something isn’t your thing, leave me a tiny voice message.
Ian Williams: “Not counting the NBA, Greg saw very few — no — Black people on a daily basis. To his knowledge, his wife didn’t have any Black friends either, not even on Facebook. So, when he beheld a Black man at the Home Depot in the next town, he recognized the significance of the occasion. Greg didn’t know how to talk to the man. Before getting married, he had only ever thought about approaching women. All his lines seemed like pickup lines. He would have to build this friendship in stages. On the way in, he nodded at the man.” (11 min)
2️⃣ The Sum of Us
Last year, Heather McGhee published The Sum of Us, an outstanding book that clearly explains how racism hurts us all. Analyzing both historical and current examples of zero-sum thinking (one example: how communities drained public swimming pools rather than desegregating them), Ms. McGhee concludes that capitalism and white supremacy have taught us that one person’s progress must mean another person’s loss. But not all Americans embrace that view. In her new podcast, Ms. McGhee is hitting the road, telling hopeful stories of people figuring out how to overcome their differences. She’s spotlighting communities coming together: fighting for clean water, expanding voting rights, and making sure our multiracial society has a chance to survive. (3 min trailer, Spotify only)
Teenager Therapy has long been one of my favorite podcasts that I keep recommending to my friends. The premise is simple: Five teenagers (now out of high school) talk vulnerably and listen deeply to each other about issues they’re facing. In this week’s episode, they share their painful experience at the ritzy Aspen Ideas Festival, where they were invited to be speakers but treated like second-class presenters. After serving on a panel and meeting Hillary Clinton, Gael Aitor confronts a clueless and defensive representative from the festival, who clearly has missed trainings on equity and inclusion. (82 min)
Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter Article Club. Hope you liked it. Feel free to share your thoughts and feedback. All you need to do is hit reply, email me, or leave me a voice message.
To our four new subscribers – including Sol, Kiera, and Trisha – I hope you find the newsletter a solid addition to your email inbox. To our long-time subscribers (Sara! Shareen! Steve!), you’re pretty great, too. Loyal reader Marni, thank you for sharing the newsletter and getting the word out.
If you like The Highlighter Article Club, please help it grow. I appreciate your support. Look at these ways you can help out!
📬 Forward today’s issue to a friend and urge them to subscribe. If they use this sign-up form, they can say you referred them, and when I find out, I will shower you with thanks and praise (and maybe a prize).
☕️ Buy me a coffee to express your love of the newsletter
❤️ Become a VIP member for $3 a month, like Tony and Clare. You’ll join an esteemed group of readers who value the mission of The Highlighter.
On the other hand, if you no longer want to receive this newsletter, please feel free to unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am PT!