sunday reading 9/20

inspired by the new inquiry’s weekly digest, i share here the things that made me stop and think. as a rule, in order to discipline my online reading habits, i will share only what i have read in its entirety. here is to reading and thinking more intentionally in the present.

cover of negroland, a memoir by margo jefferson (credit: penguin random house)
cover of negroland, a memoir by margo jefferson (credit: penguin random house)
pride, prejudice, and the provisions of privilege: margo jefferson on race, depression, and how we define ourselves (by maria popova, brain pickings)

One white female privilege had always been withheld from the girls of Negroland. Aside from the privilege of actually being white, they had been denied the privilege of freely yielding to depression, of flaunting neurosis as a mark of social and psychic complexity. A privilege that was glorified in the literature of white female suffering and resistance. A privilege Good Negro Girls had been denied by our history of duty, obligation, and discipline. Because our people had endured horrors and prevailed, even triumphed, their descendants should be too strong and too proud for such behavior. We were to be ladies, responsible Negro women, and indomitable Black Women. We were not to be depressed or unduly high-strung; we were not to have nervous collapses. We had a legacy. We were too strong for that.

*shamelessly eats leftovers from shophouse while digging up dirt on it* (credit: shophouse)
+ chipotle goes beyond burritos: adds asian, pizza outlets (by joan voigt, adweek)
+ why chipotle’s new asian eatery has missed the mark (by nadia arumugam, forbes)

The ShopHouse website traces the roots of the one-bowl meal to traditional Asian, “fast-food” eateries where “tiny kitchens turn[ing] out fresh rice and noodle bowls laced with spicy sauce, marinated meats and a flurry of herbs.” So an authentic Southeast Asian dining experience is what ShopHouse claims to present to its customers. Well, I’m not sure what Ells ate during his travels, but I can say with a degree of confidence that it would have been a far cry from the contents of my bowl of “slop.”

the beloved singer kalpana patowary surrounded by fans at a performance for migrant workers in ravindra kalashetra, bangalore (credit: maraa facebook)
the assamese singer kalpana patowary surrounded by fans at a performance for migrant workers in ravindra kalashetra, bangalore (credit: maraa facebook)
+ ‘i became used to the fact that when i sing, guns go off’: bhojpuri star kalpana patowary (by disha mullick, scroll.in)

So [the challenge is to ask] how I can take the feeling in these songs and tie it to other traditions with similar feelings? Last year I went to Trinidad and Tobago, where people who once migrated from Bihar are now running the government. It was a very emotional trip. People want to know about their ancestors. People welcomed me so warmly on each stage, you know, like in the old days, when you got a letter or a package from your village. That was what I saw in their eyes when they were listening to me sing. People gave me new songs and said, you sing these songs now, songs that our uncles and aunts sang, in your voice. It’s my duty now to do this.

president richard m. nixon, left, looks at daniel patrick moynihan, right, in confusion as moynihan attempts a special handshake. (credit: associated press)
+ the black family in the age of mass incarceration (by ta-nehisi coates, the atlantic)

In casting African Americans as beyond the purview of polite and civilized society, in referring to them as a race of criminals, Moynihan joined the long tradition of black criminalization. In so doing, he undermined his own stated aims in writing “The Negro Family” in the first place. One does not build a safety net for a race of predators. One builds a cage.

detail of a
detail of “constellation – mana,” a piece by japanese artist kumi yamashita, made by wounding a single sewing thread around nails on a wood panel. (credit: kumi yamashita)
+ fragility (by sara ahmed, feministkilljoys)

For queers to make things work can be pressure as well as a project. You know that if there is a break up it can fulfil an expectation that such relationships are less lasting, less secure; fragile. There is a kind of queer fatalism at stake here: that to be on a queer path is to hurtle toward a miserable fate; queer as self-shattering. And then if things do shatter (as they do tend to do) you have fulfilled an expectation that “this” is where being queer led you to.

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