This Week in Essays


For the New Yorker, Danez Smith writes on feeling the pulse of Minneapolis and the many acts of care, beauty, and defiance taking place there.

“Oppressed citizens of that nation possess no country. The land below them is controlled by the state, so they become nomadic and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by delusional agents of the state. Black Americans have been citizens of a nation without a country for a very long time.” Venita Blackburn looks for a homeland that will fully acknowledge—but not live in—its past, at the Paris Review.

While juggling joy and concern, Ali Black finds herself swept into a protest in Cleveland, over at Lit Hub.

“I want white people to stop killing us, but I also want white people to stop watching us get killed—to disarm their emotional paralysis in the face of dehumanization or worse.” Rebecca Carroll recalls a racist attempt on her life and investigates white complicity for the Atlantic.

Saeed Jones writes for GQ on collective grief and the pervasiveness of sorrow.

“It is a peculiar truth about certain virulently hate-filled people—homophobes, transphobes, racists—that the groups they profess to despise are the very ones they seem unable to live without, their very identities—if not desires—held in orbit only by our existence.” Over at Catapult, Gabrielle Bellot examines the dependency of haters on that which is hated and the urgent truths in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.


Logo art by Max Winter.

Tamara Matthews is a Chicago-based freelance writer and editor. Visit or find her on Twitter: @writingtoatee. More from this author →