Longform

A 9/11 Story

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Historical amnesia is dangerous. It’s a phenomenon that wreaked havoc in the immediate post-9/11 aftermath and continues to rear its ugly head in the current political climate. Today, we share with you a moving story by native New Yorker and psychology blogger Jessica Taylor on that fateful day sixteen years ago, when she was just seven years old. I think Jessica would agree that it’s important to remember these events not to incite fear and promote divisiveness, but rather to locate them in the larger narrative of history in order to move forward in a fruitful, generative manner—for all willing to contribute to the betterment of this country.

I just checked outside and the sky looks exactly as it did in 2001. Clear skies. Blue. Beautiful. 7 years old. Math lesson was in full effect. Before being sent off to our tables, the building shook and swayed, lights flickering quickly. Next thing I know, my dad is in the doorway of my classroom. Very confused, nobody told me I had a doctor’s appointment that day. Normally that’s what an early pickup means, right? Wrong. Paps was sweating. Nothing new. Frantic with fear gobbling up his eyes? Of course like most children being able to pick up feelings, and out of sheer curiosity, we begin to question everything in existence.

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Feminism

On Nia Ali and the Olympics

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Lilia is a former college cross-country runner from Tennessee. The following was originally published as a Facebook post on her personal page. The post has been reformatted and edited for publication on this site.

I wish I could watch the Olympics all year, every year, not only because it’s the only time I can see the sports I grew up training for on TV, but because of moments like this one.

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Social Justice

Guilt, Historical Amnesia, and the Question of Empathy: Appendix

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Talk is cheap. If we want change, we have to do something about it. Something substantive. Something that doesn’t co-opt the cause for our own benefit, even if it is unintentional. Something that doesn’t obscure the very reason why we fight but instead shines a light on the issues. Something that can be of help for those who need it the most. Here are some starting points…

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Social Justice

Guilt, Historical Amnesia, and the Question of Empathy

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Lately, I seem to hear the same voice every morning when I turn on the radio during my daily commute. I can practically feel the pent-up anger, like a suffocating cloud of smoke, filling up my car as Donald Trump’s gravelly voice huffs and puffs through another grandiose yet substantially wanting speech. A few weeks ago, he said he could “relate” to police brutality against black people. Yesterday, he rehashed the subject of building a wall to stop illegal immigrants. Today, the topic was tax reform.

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Pop Culture

Is It OK to Hate Taylor Swift? A Reflection, in List Form

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Let me start off by saying I don’t actually know Taylor Swift on a personal level. Granted, by sheer luck (or misfortune, depending on how you look at it), I have found myself within one or two degrees of separation from her by a) living in the Nashville metro area for four years, and b) inadvertently befriending several folks who do know her. Well, knew her I suppose, back when she was more #solo and less #squad. Thus, I’ve heard, maybe more than most, a somewhat absurd number of reasons why I should hate her.

“She’s stuck up.”

“She’s so fake.”

“She hardly writes any of her songs.”

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Longform

Let’s Talk About Gwyneth Attempting the Food Stamp Challenge

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Now, I don’t know Paltrow’s intentions with her picture or her participation in the #FoodBankNYCChallenge. She could have meant to start a real debate about food access, she could just be bored and want a new Goop entry. As someone who has tried and failed at the SNAP challenge, I believe her heart’s in the right place and, whether she meant to or not, her grocery cart was a well-timed commentary on food issues in the US. Call her participation patronizing, say that she bought the wrong type of food, say there wasn’t enough of it, claim it’s the “most Gwyneth thing ever,” but do not discount the fact that activism is taking place. People are taking this challenge, donating to a very important food bank in the community, and beginning a conversation on food.

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Longform

Whose Bass Is It Anyway? (Or, The Problem with Pop’s Empowerment Anthems)

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This article was originally written as a producer piece for Things Not Seen.

This summer, a wave of up-beat, supposedly empowering pop songs came out. A similar outpouring of self-esteem boosting anthems happened in 2011, with Lady Gaga’s “Born this Way,” Katy Perry’s “Fireworks,” and Pink’s “Perfect.” The music industry has apparently discovered that inspiring confidence is profitable, but like anything that is created to be sold, the message of these songs is often corrupted.

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