#85: Fighting to Get into Bathrooms
Hi there and good morning! How are you? This 85th issue of The Highlighter is filled with six articles that I’m confident you’ll enjoy. It’s all here — the right to use a public bathroom, the fight against an oil pipeline, the role of reading in our society, the way we see the world, and why people do not email us back. If you’re advanced and adventurous, read all six articles, and you’ll receive a prize!
I’m Trans, Disabled, And Tired of Fighting To Get Into Bathrooms
Christian McMahon, who grew up disabled before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, thought it was normal not to be able to use the bathroom when other kids could. Now as a trans adult, again he is finding that he is not welcome in bathrooms, a public space. He writes: “I am tired of people in positions of authority excluding other people because they seem too disabled or too queer to be considered fully human. I am tired of having to know when to hide my gender identity or de-emphasize my disability. I am tired of the idea that going about my life fully hydrated is an unreasonable expectation.”
The Gentrification of Standing Rock
Where’s the line between being an ally and being a colonizer? Author Jake Friedler, a white man who went to Standing Rock to protest the Dakota Access pipeline, noticed how white people tried to “improve the protest” through domination and control. He writes: “White people had arrived in a space that was not our own and tried to improve it according to our standards. We ate foods cooked by our poorer, browner neighbors and learned a few words in their language. We improved the housing stock and brought newer, greener technologies. But as we tried to help, we simply got in the way.”
Bulletin board at City Arts and Technology High School, San Francisco.
The Rising Tide of Educated Aliteracy
Alex Good argues that the problem of our time is not illiteracy but rather aliteracy — in other words, people know how to read but choose not to. Mr. Good, who is Canadian, focuses mostly on the reading of fiction — and whether “distant reading” (snippets from tons of books) or “close reading” (deep study of fewer books) is preferable. My take is that the issue not illiteracy vs. aliteracy but rather different literacies based on social inequities.
Books N Bros’ 11-year-old founder wants to help boys love reading at an age when they often don’t
Following in the footsteps of Marley Davis, the 12-year-old girl who last year founded 1,000 Black Girl Books, here is 11-year-old Sidney Keys III, who started Book N Bros, a book club in St. Louis dedicated to boys and African American literature. Recent books include Hidden Figures and The News Crew, by Walter Dean Myers. This article comes with an 18-minute podcast.
Boo, who belongs to loyal subscriber Jessica, likes Ta-Nehisi Coates, too.
Boston Public Schools Map Switch Aims to Amend 500 Years of Distortion
I like this move from the Boston public schools to replace the traditional (and Eurocentric) Mercator projection, whose map distorts the size of Europe and the United States, with the Peters projection, which more accurately sizes South America and Africa. “This is the start of a three-year effort to decolonize the curriculum in our public schools,” said Colin Rose, assistant superintendent of opportunity and achievement gaps. Thank you to loyal subscriber Heidi for submitting this article.
Sorry for the Delayed Response
Since I’ve left teaching, I’ve spent way too much time worrying needlessly about inconsequential things, like why some people do not respond to my (brilliant, clever, important) email. In this hilarious piece, Susannah Wolff talks me down from the ledge and reminds me to get over myself. After all, there are many reasons people fail to answer email.
Thank you for reading The Highlighter #85, and thank you for being a loyal subscriber. Please welcome new subscriber Tyler! As always, feel free to let me know what you think of the digest by replying to this email. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am!
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