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racism

Transit [private]

At Heathrow, three hours before her flight to Boston, Thandi was in one of the shower rooms below the Galleries lounge in Terminal 5. A previous tenant—someone who, at some point in the day, had been in there before her, before every inch of the shower room was cleaned, its towels and various amenities replaced—had left a trace of themselves; the radio on, the dial turned to Classic FM. 

The 2020 [private]

We were passengers forced to jump into the water when our ship, the 2020, after years of creaking, cracked in half and sank down into the darkness. The ship was long thought to be beautiful. For it gleamed in the sunlight. And it gleamed in the moonlight. It throbbed like a beacon, could be seen across great distances. And since it was like a beacon it was taken for a beacon. 

Southside

Bile-colored flutes survive along bog rock,
red-veined with a fine fuzz:
canebrake pitchers
hooded against the good rain.

Illustration by Lauren Simkin Berke

Civility vs. Decency

A spokesperson for a divisive president is turned away from a restaurant. That president delights in dog-whistle insults that fall just short of outright ethnic slurs—usually. A white woman calls the police on a black child selling water on a city street on a beastly hot day. A patron who hasn’t been turned away from a restaurant leaves a note for the server, who bears an Arabic name, saying, “We don’t tip terrorist [sic].”

Illustration by Anna Sudit

The News From the World of Beauty

In late summer of 2017 I was at an artists’ colony in rural Virginia. A hot topic of conversation among the artists there was how we were reading the news, and how often. Some of the artists at the colony were reading the news obsessively every morning, either because they were addicted to it or because they felt it was their social responsibility to stay informed about the invariably breathtaking choices of our current president and those who surround and respond to him. Some artists were ignoring the news altogether—every headline, every scandal, every tweet—choosing to entirely suppress the outside world during the span of the residency. The rest of the artists stayed lightly informed, but consciously attempted to prevent the news of the world from gaining much purchase on their inner lives.

Go Set a Watchman. By Harper Lee. Harper, 2015. 278p. HB, $27.99.

Scout Comes Home Again

As admirable and courageous as the film’s Atticus is, this lionization goes way too far in construing the novel’s Atticus in our memory as some sort of social reformer. 

The arrival of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) and Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) in a Frisian village in the Netherlands on November 24, 2012. (Patrick Post / Hollandse Hoogte)

Who Is Zwarte Piet?

A holiday tradition in the Netherlands involving blackface has sparked a debate about race, the legacy of slavery, and the vestiges of colonialism. Emily Raboteau told the story in our Winter 2014 magazine.

Ed Harris (as Dr. Bill Perch) and Amy Madigan (as Susan Perch) in The Jacksonian, which premiered in February 2012, at the Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, directed by Robert Falls. (All photographs by Michael Lamont)

The Jacksonian [private]

CHARACTERS (In order of appearance) BILL PERCH, a dentist and motel resident  ROSY PERCH, daughter of Bill and Susan Perch  EVA WHITE, a waitress and motel maid FRED WEBER, a motel bartender SUSAN PERCH, wife of Bill Perch, mother o [...]

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