As discussed previously, this is my weekly Twitter roundup. Note that tweets of articles generally include header images from the articles, which are not included here unless they happen to be available under a free license. Most are not. But I now add most of my commentary here, where I’m not restricted by the message length.

diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week

I also don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.

9:04 – Mon 15 June 2020

White People: We Need To Talk To Our Kids About Racism from The UpTake

The short answer is yes, your kids are ready to learn about race and racism.

Speaking of talking out racism: Also: ‘Alien’ and ‘Illegal Immigrant’ Banned from Official NYC Documents from Documented

outdated and loaded words used to dehumanize the people they describe.

In a lot of circles, we’re far too attached to terminology and/or avoiding talking about certain issues, and that needs to change fast to make anything work.

12:05 – Mon 15 June 2020

He to whom the present is the only thing that is present, knows nothing of the age in which he lives.

Oscar Wilde

This is for those of you who have been trying to digest four centuries (and a year) of racist governance in the United States. It’s overwhelming, but today makes far less sense without understanding the background of (random examples) United States slavery pre-dating the Mayflower, the difference between Thomas Jefferson’s views on equality versus his ownership of human beings, Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, Juneteenth, the Tulsa race massacre, Ax Handle Saturday, the Stonewall uprising, the Kent State massacre, and so forth, this month seems like a mystery.

9:02 – Tue 09 June 2020

Minneapolis Police Union President: “I’ve Been Involved in Three Shootings Myself, and Not a One of Them Has Bothered Me” from The Intercept

…true blame rested with city attorneys, who didn’t properly defend police officers…

Related: Police brutality isn’t about ‘a few bad apples’ from Futurity

Siegel and colleagues found that racial residential segregation was the predominant factor explaining why some cities have greater black-white racial disparities in fatal police shootings—even after controlling for a city’s crime rate, median income, racial composition of its police force, and other factors.

The “bad apples” metaphor refers to the fact that you need to be vigilant and throw out bad apples, before they release enough ethylene to over-ripen the other apples in a barrel. In the case of police, the work of defending and protecting officers who don’t act in the best interests of their communities inherently corrupts the entire department, to the point where the police union’s president is proud of not thinking about the people he shoots.

12:02 – Tue 09 June 2020

Very simply, diverse personalities are to be found in the breast of each of us, and often the life of more than one superior man is nothing but the coexistence of a philosopher and a snob.

Marcel Proust

9:01 – Wed 10 June 2020

Racism is built into U.S. cities. Here’s how architects can fight back from Fast Company

…we can predict that a person from a zip code in a black or Latino community will have a lower life expectancy…

The article doesn’t get into this, but creation is always a political act, because anything we create encodes our values in it. If we don’t think about what values we want to express in our creation—whether that’s an invention or a city neighborhood—they’ll be the uninterrogated values of society. And since we know those are often fairly bad, working intentionally would obviously be more useful.

12:03 – Wed 10 June 2020

From the very nature of progress, all ages must be transitional.

Gertrude Stein

9:05 – Thu 11 June 2020

Corporations Stand In Solidarity With the Communities They Exploit from VICE Motherboard

Studies of Uber’s major markets (e.g. San Francisco and New York City) consistently find a majority non-white workforce that is economically exploited by sub-minimum wages.

Related: The Police Are Gaslighting Us also from VICE Motherboard

But justice, accountability, and even a basic acceptance of the truth has remained elusive on a large scale, even with video evidence.

The similarity in these stories isn’t an accident. Up until recently, capitalist economies—and the privatization of prisons and other systems makes police departments a part of the economy—has depended on convincing oppressed people that their oppression is good. This can be seen everywhere from the dehumanization of slaves to justify treating them as property, to the idea that poor people need the dignity of “a hard day’s work.” So of course, “in these unprecedented times” (with far too many precedents), everybody scrambles to convince protesters that they’re on the right side of history, even while they refuse to liberalize their policies.

12:01 – Thu 11 June 2020

Memory is a strange thing, so poignant and alive in its insistence, so dead and lifeless in its reality, so cruel and portentous in its regrets.

Mercedes de Acosta

9:03 – Fri 12 June 2020

There’s a simple way to reduce extreme political rhetoric on Facebook and Twitter from Fast Company

…remove the incentives for candidates to post content designed solely to stimulate an algorithm.

The sites are obviously not going to do that, because the companies have a vested interest in having the extreme political rhetoric available.

12:04 – Fri 12 June 2020

Many of the cleverest paragraphs have been omitted from this collection because–so rapidly does the world move, the subjects have passed away, or the incidents which gave them point are no longer in the public mind.

Ambrose E. Gonzales


Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, here’s a sixth article that didn’t fit into the week, but too weird to not mention.

Tree Roots

Making Swahili visible: Identity, language and the internet from Global Voices

Could this sharp drop be an indicator that people now favor their native languages online over English, considering that less than 15 percent of the world population speaks English as their first language?

Team finds the biggest, oldest Maya monument from Futurity

The fact that monumental buildings existed earlier than thought and when Maya society had less social inequality makes archaeologists rethink the construction process.

The monument story is like something out of a science-fiction movie, with the scientists realizing that the landscape is the monument. It happens in the Americas, occasionally.

Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty. Tree Roots by David Stanley is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.