Read & Resist: W’s Daily Briefing For June 8th

From the dangers of so-called “less lethal” weapons to surfers’ and skaters’ spins on protesting, here’s what to read today.

Cops and National Guard at a protest
Nate Palmer

Back in the day, W started off the morning with a quick round-up of links to that day’s fashion- and culture-related news. Times have changed; in the week since a white police officer named Derek Chauvin killed an unarmed black man named George Floyd, protests have erupted across the country, which seems to be devolving more into a police state by the day. Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay up to date, which is why we’re reviving “Chic in Review” as the slightly more radical “Read & Resist.” Here are the stories, videos, and tweets we’re hoping you don’t miss this Monday:

“America, This Is Your Chance,” by Michelle Alexander for the New York Times

Ten years after it was first published, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness has shot to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list. Now, the book’s author, Michelle Alexander, is back with a call to action: “We must reimagine justice. The days of pretending that tinkering with our criminal injustice system will ‘fix it’ are over. The system is not broken; it is functioning according to its design.”

“Tear Gas Is Way More Dangerous Than Police Let On—Especially During the Coronavirus Pandemic,” by Lisa Song for Mother Jones

Law enforcement has long touted tear gas as a safe solution to diffusing protests, especially when they seem to be taking a violent turn. But tear gas is known to have long-term, harmful effects on health—to the point that it’s banned in international warfare. The pandemic, of course, only makes matters worse—especially since the coronavirus has hit black Americans the hardest. “I worry that one of the compounding effects of structural racism is you’ll see a second wave of black patients, including those who were out there defending their lives,” one researcher told ProPublica and Mother Jones.

“A Guide to the Less-Lethal Weapons That Law Enforcement Uses Against Protesters,” by Alyssa Fowers, Aaron Steckelberg, and Bonnie Berkowitz for the Washington Post

The “less lethal”—formerly known as “nonlethal”—components of law enforcement’s arsenals can be just as harmful. See: the beanbag bullets that fractured a 20-year-old peaceful protester’s skull, to the point that doctors anticipate he won’t be able to tell his right from his left.

“Levi Ayala Went to an Austin Protest to Watch History and Instead Became a Tragic Part of It,” by Michael Hall for Texas Monthly

Another instance of why “less lethal” is a misnomer: Levi Ayala was all of 16—and just beginning to learn about social movements—when police in Texas shot and killed him with beanbag bullets.

“Bill de Blasio Faces the Fury of New Yorkers, On and Off The Brian Lehrer Show,” by Alexandra Schwartz for the New Yorker

While diving into the New York City mayor’s shortcomings, Alexandra Schwartz aptly sums up the atmosphere of this spring: “To see the city transform, essentially overnight, from a ghost town to one exploding with life and righteous anger has been overwhelming, in every sense. It is frightening to think that after so much sacrifice to keep the virus at bay, we may be helping to usher it back in. But it is galvanizing, and beautiful, to feel united with our neighbors in a new way: to come together not for the sake of pleasure but for shared purpose.”

“How Do You Sign ‘Black Lives Matter’ in ASL? For Black Deaf Angelenos, It’s Complicated,” by Sonja Sharp in the L.A. Times

The death of George Floyd, and the national uprising that has followed, has some black deaf Angelenos turning to the phrase “Black. Life. Cherish.”

“Why the Small Protests in Small Towns Across America Matter,” by Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed News

Protests are popping up in unexpected places—like Tyler, Texas, a town with a long history of lynching. Anne Helen Petersen explains why they’re important, and has also chronicled many of them in a lengthy Twitter thread. (You can see it by clicking the below tweet.)


Food For Thought

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