A lunch counter, actually. It’s called Saartje, named after the given name of a South African woman who became better known as the Hottentot Venus, and it serves Nigerian fare, dishes like Woloff rice and fried plantains. But the chef, Tunde Wey, has bigger things in mind than just food.
The linked story, in the Washington Post, explains why Wey charges people of color $12 for lunch (and they can choose to take a percentage of the stand’s profits when the project is over, or not), and gives white people the option of paying $12 or $30, the larger figure representing the local income disparity between the races.
Wey is taking no profits from the stand, and has a Tulane student conducting post-lunch interviews, collecting data about why diners chose the option they did. He’s a cook, but this is also a sociological experiment.
Putting a face on the ways racial inequality persists seems pretty important, especially in a way that touches people emotionally. The story does a good job of amplifying those feelings, and where they come from.
Barack Obama was born in the US. We all knew it in 2004, in 2008, in 2012. Now, holy cow, even Donald Trump agrees that’s true. Boy genius!
But why did Trump spend seven years insinuating that Obama wasn’t born in the US?
Was it because there were legitimate questions? Or was it because Trump could gain political advantage by exploiting the prejudices of people who weren’t comfortable having a Black man with an unusual name as president?
Three authoritative pieces about Donald Trump have emerged in recent days. These are based on solid straight-forward reporting by Newsweek, The Atlantic and Washington Post, and are followed by Keith Olbermann’s oxygen depleting recitation of factual reasons Donald Trump shouldn’t be president.
Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. In this past Sunday’s New York Times he takes on the problem of polarization in the United States. This leads him from an old joke about two comedians in a boat, to the Dalai Lama, and a call for warmheartedness.
It’s well worth a read. I couldn’t agree with him more.
We’ve seen the posters in the subway. An exacto knife and some el Markos makes for something messed up. Not exactly art, but not—at least not always—mindless. The designer Lydia Cambron has made it art.
This is the powerful tale of some of the school girls who were kidnaped last year in Nigeria, but escaped. I had followed the news with some exasperation about the lack of details. Sarah Topol’s excellent story is full of details.
Richtel’s story is a reminder that our government gave up on a conscripted army after the Viet Nam war because it was an inefficient and politically troublesome way to wage war, especially unpopular wars that go on for a long time. Something our military seems to be very good at.
And our volunteer veterans are the citizens who face the consequences of this perpetual war, including deployment and redeployment, life and death risk, debilitating injury, and the prospect of facing a lifetime being reminded that service ends up being a democratic dividing line rather than an adhesive.
Richtel makes this point more lucidly than I ever could by telling the story of a hand shake, and what came after.
David Carr, who died last week, was a writer about media at the New York Times in recent years, which is a highly visible beat, but before that he had a colorful life as a journalist and editor and knucklehead and fuckup. Ta-Nehisi Coates met Carr when Coates was a knucklehead and Carr was an editor, an editor who hired him and who made a profound difference in the young man’s life. In this tribute Coates explains why, and also explains something deep and abiding about growing up and becoming a writer, explains the power of David Carr’s vision of journalism and reporting, and gives the George Polk award he won this week for his powerful reported story, The Case For Reparations, to Carr in honor of all his former editor taught and gave him. Beautiful.