I am an honor student, turned gun shot victim, turned gun carrier/college student, turned a person who almost shot a neighbor's mother because her son "disrespected me" on my block. I did not pull the trigger, thanks to the words of a friend who would have supplied me the gun, but one year later I participated in an equally reprehensible act that included a gun and death.
If you walk down the avenue fast enough, you might think that today is an ordinary Easter Sunday, filled with joyous laughter and terrible church music. But if you are an observant individual who enjoys slow strides along the Brooklyn promenade, you may hear my friend Dolores's shrieks coming from the blue-fenced yellow house on the corner.
I'm not a doctor but I'm an expert. In the locker room, guys exchange a wealth of age-old wisdom. A couple of times, I reset broken noses. Usually my own, but once my friend Gabriel was in bed with my friend Josephine and accidentally kneed her, and I reset her broken nose. She's still complaining, but it would have worked if she'd kept the tape on.
I'm walking home after I fucked this guy who writes self-loathing poetry and has Yellow Fever, which is ridiculous because nobody walks in LA. Home is currently in Silver Lake, a neighborhood where there's a lot of new job openings for a position called Being Pretty and Prancing Around the Sidewalk. I make the walk halfway in my heels down Sunset Boulevard, in a dress that's debatably a shirt, and decide to haul-ass barefoot down the burning cement sidewalk. It might not be super-mentally healthy for me to be shapely, brown, average height, and live among tall, anorexic blondes so I can stare at them. But even if I don't fit in, I like being part of it. Sometimes I look around and it seems as if the Holocaust were successful or something.
When the police found me I was standing on a subway platform, somewhere in Brooklyn, barefoot, wearing only soccer shorts in October, and crying. My hands were folded behind my head like a captured soldier. For the previous 12 hours I had wandered the streets of New York, convinced that I was being videotaped, Truman Show-style, by hidden cameras. I made my living as a public defender in Brooklyn, but I did standup at night. I'd recently met with a network executive to discuss a pilot for a reality show based on my act; now I thought the city was my set.
Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic and Jonathan Chait of New York have, over the past week, been engaged in something equal parts duel and duet in the pixels of their respective magazine's websites. Their debate has plumbed the depths of race and racism in America, working out the questions of civic and historical responsibility in a public forum with respect and grace. As readers and citizens we are privileged to bear witness to this dialogue. They've also thrown some damn good shade at each other, so let's look at that.
Earlier this month, two young, beautiful Black women, Britney Cosby and Crystal Jackson, were left dead by a dumpster in Texas*. Their apparent crime? Being in a romantic love that by all friends' accounts was sweet and wonderful. Their apparent murderer? The father of one of the women didn't like her sexual orientation, her relationship, or her girlfriend, and he killed them both, leaving them to rot like garbage.
The New York Times had yet another of its delightful "Room for Debate" sessions, in which various experts throw quick-take opinions on a subject past one another. The subject: Was the College Board right to have decided to make the essay portion of future SAT tests optional? Or, more broadly, "Can Writing Be Assessed?" Although Gawker was not specifically invited to participate, below is our contribution to the conversation.