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24 Of The Most Thought-Provoking Pieces Of Writing By People Of Color In 2017

In a shocking turn of events, 2017 was even more of a dumpster fire of a year than 2016. While the political landscape burned to a crisp, actual Nazis proudly walked the streets of U.S. cities and a horrifying report on Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct ushered in a long overdue reckon in Hollywood and beyond.

This was a year of consistent bad news, a year that( for better or worse) was rife for poignant, thought-provoking and conversation-starting commentary from writers of all backgrounds. And so, for the third time, we’ve curated a listing of essays and articles that defined dialogues about race, pop culture, politics and identity in 2017.

These essays and articles embrace a wide array of topics, from the fascinating delusion of Rachel Dolezal to the horrors of brotherhood hazing to the complexities of Donald Trump’s presidency.

As ever, the criteria for this list is simple: All pieces must have been written by person or persons of coloring and been published online within the last year.

Like most year-end listings, this one may inspire some readers to complain or point out obvious omissions. You are encouraged to do so. It was curated with the aim of has become a comprehensive as is practicable, but it is by no means definitive — so comment away.

Without further ado, here is some of the best writing from people of color in 2017 😛 TAGEND

“The First White President”

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

Many people consider Ta-Nehisi Coates to be one of the greatest black thinkers of our times( this, however, has been heavily debated in recent weeks ), deftly examining the political and racial traumas that still plague America. In this brilliantly written essay published in October, Coates highlights the fact that “the foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.”

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Elle

Missy Elliott had something of a resurgence in 2017, after an exciting performance at the Super Bowl in November and subsequent new music including the single “WTF( Where They From ). ” In this profile from May, essayist Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah vividly illustrates the allure and legend of Elliott.

“What Harvey Weinstein Did To Me”

Lupita Nyong’o, The New York Times

The latter half of 2017 was a period of reckon, as reports about allegations regarding sexual misconduct against powerful men including Weinstein, Louis C.K ., Al Franken and Kevin Spacey helped focus attention on the #MeToo motion. Shortly after allegations against Weinstein first surfaced, actress Lupta Nyong’o published an incredibly candid and damning account of her own negative experiences with the Hollywood mogul. When Nyong’o became the only accuser whose accusations Weinstein publicly denied at the time, it shed light on the complexities of race and gender in the sexual harassment conversation.

“Going It Alone”

Rahwah Haile, Outside Online

The tradition of excellent traveling writing was alive and well in 2017. Case in degree: this essay by Rahwah Haile, which explores what happens when a faggot black lady hikes along the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine by herself “during a summer of bitter political upheaval.”

Doreen St. Felix, MTV News

How do you solve a problem like Omarosa? In this piece from January, Doreen St. Felix tries to make sense of the businesswoman, reality Tv starring and( now-former) Trump administration staffer who stood by the president even when those in the black community vehemently blamed him.

“My Father Spent 30 Times In Prison. Now He’s Out.”

Ashley C. Ford, Refinery2 9

In this poignant and deeply personal essay, Ashley C. Ford recounts the experience of reuniting with her father-god after his liberate from prison, coming to words with his past, and navigating the “monumental task of to know each other.”

“Getting In And Out( Who Owns Black Pain ?) ”

Zadie Smith, Harper’s Magazine

Some of the most fascinating publish is operated that one can truly engage with and even does not agree with, as well as admire. Here, Zadie Smith weighs in on a tricky issue, pegged to the backlash against the Whitney Museum of American Art after numerous critics called out white artist Dana Schutz’s portrait of Emmett Till for appropriating black sorenes for profit. Smith’s essay afterwards became the centre for human rights of its own interesting debate, as she was called out for her approach to appropriation and the concept of blackness.

“A Generation In Japan Faces A Lonely Death”

Norimitsu Onishi, The New York Times

This sobering report by Norimitsu Onishi unveils a concealed outbreak in Japan: Every year, thousands of elderly people succumb alone and unnoticed. The tale behind this phenomenon is both a heartbreaking and illuminating the representatives from modern life.

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, GQ

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah appears on this list for a second time( because she’s merely that good) with one of the best pieces of writing this year, interval. Ghansah takes a deep dive into the Dylann Roof trial, deconstructing the young domestic terrorist’s hateful past and investigating what went into creating him.

“On Transgender Storytelling, David France, and the Netflix Marsha P. Johnson Documentary”

Reina Gossett, Teen Vogue

After alleging in an Instagram post that the makers of Netflix’s “The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson” stole her intellectual property, filmmaker Reina Gossett expanded her supposes on who gets to tells stories about trans women( specially trans women working in colouring) in this article for Teen Vogue. “As[ the] documentary begin to make its lane to large audiences, I can’t stop thinking about the voices that have been pushed aside in the process, ” Gossett writes. “Too often, people with resources who already have a platform become the ones to tell the stories of those at the margins rather than people who themselves belong to these communities.”

“What A Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About The Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity”

Jay Kaspian Kang, The New York Times

Jay Kaspian Kang writes here about Michael Deng, an Asian-American college freshman who died as the outcomes of a horrifying fraternity hazing ritual. This part is an exploration of the toxic culture of fraternity hazing, but it’s likewise an exploration of the often undiscussed persecution of Asians in America, and how this history of repression contribute to a generation of young person grappling with who they are.

“My Family’s Slave”

Alex Tizon, The Atlantic

Controversy and heated debate fueled the conversation surrounding this posthumously written essay by Filipino writer Alex Tizon. Tizon tells the story of Lola, a woman who created him. She was also held by his family as a slave for 56 years. Tizon’s candid account of Lola’s life, his relationship with her, and the moral implications of their own lives as a slave is difficult and compelling.

“We Need To Talk About Digital Blackface In Reaction GIFs”

Lauren Michele Jackson, Teen Vogue

It’s something that many of us never actually should be considered: employing reaction GIFs of black people. The implications of this action are deep explored in this Teen Vogue essay that produced a lot of discussion in August. Writer Lauren Michele Jackson argues that GIF culture can unconsciously perpetuate harmful stereotypes about black people, and she investigates the ways in which we can be “cognizant of what we share, how we share, and to what extent that sharing dramatizes preexisting racial formulas inherited from’ real life.’”

“Where Millennials Come From”

Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

Millennials are selfish, millennials are too sensitive, millennials would rather buy avocado toast than a home — this was a big time for complaining about millennials. The New Yorker Jia Tolentino excellently explores the rise of the millennial and our culture advise to criticize them.

“The Making and Unmaking of Iggy Azalea”

Clover Hope, Jezebel

Iggy Azalea has had a tough couple of years. Once considers the next hot thing thanks to singles like “Fancy” and “Black Widow, ” the Australian rapper procured her career in a free fall as she made tone-deaf and ill-advised comments as a white lady in hip-hop. Talented culture novelist Clover Hope outlines how Iggy brought upon her own downfall.

“On Being Queer And Happily Single — Except When I’m Not”

Brandon Taylor, Them

The new online publication Them has offered up some of the best writing on LGBTQ identity this year. Brandon Taylor, a gay black writer, opens up about the tension of simultaneously craving but also rejecting romance. “What I crave is largely to be alone, ” Taylor writes. “And to not have to contextualize my loneliness in such a way that stimulates other people comfy with it.”

“How’ The Beguiled’ Tackles Race Even When You Don’t Appreciate It”

Angelica Jade Bastien, Vulture

Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” was one of the more divisive movies of 2017. Set in the South during the Civil War, the cinema received some backlash for the conspicuous is a lack of black people and general avoidance of race. Afro-Latina critic Angelica Jade Bastien makes a compelling argument about the ways in which the movie unconsciously navigates whiteness and the legacy of slavery. “Blackness and racism in general can never be fully removed from tales set in the South, ” Bastien writes, “even if black characters themselves are not present.”

“The Year In Tension”

Tommy Pico, Hazlitt

This year-in-review piece by poet and writer Tommy Pico is a profound exploration of the nervousness, obsessions and, most of all, tension of 2017. “Day-to-day, I, a faggot Native person leaping around this deeply stolen and homophobic land, try to mitigates the ambient tensions floating in my air, ” Pico explains. “Now I had to do the opposite.”

“Cardi B Was Stimulated To Be Famous”

Allison P. Davis, The Cut

Allison P. Davis adds to her excellent culture writing with this fun and perceptive profile of Cardi B, the breakout rapper of 2017. The piece is not only an excellent introduction to the “regular, degular, shmegular daughter from the Bronx, ” it’s also a sharp exploration of reputation and celebrity in the age of social media and reality TV.

“Colin Kaepernick Has A Job”

Rembert Browne, Bleacher Report

Colin Kaepernick was one of the biggest newsmakers in 2017, triggering passionate support( and dislike) after you chose to kneel during the national anthem at NFL games in demonstration of police brutality. Kaepernick’s protest led to him basically losing his football career. Rembert Browne writes here about what Kaepernick’s journey says about America as a whole.

“Dear Men of’ The Breakfast Club’: Trans Women Aren’t A Prop, Ploy, Or Sexual Predators”

Janet Mock, Allure

In July, activist and author Janet Mock was gracious enough to make an appearance on the popular “Breakfast Club” radio show to talk about her memoir, Surpassing Certainty. She was met with a barrage of tone-deaf and offensive questions about has become a trans woman, which she handled with her usual poise. In this essay for Allure, Mock perfectly tears down the harmful, hazardous and ignorant rhetoric surrounding trans girls that the hosts of the display perpetuated in a later interview with comedian Lil Duval.

“Coco” was one of the more popular animated cinemas released in 2017, with the usual stellar operate of Pixar Studios focused on a vibrant, heartbreaking tale of a Mexican household. The movie was praised for its representation, but Latinx writer Eren Cervantes explains in this blog post that it also erases the indigenous of Mexico.

“The Uncounted”

Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal, The New York Times Magazine

One of the most important reports written this year was this investigative part by Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal, which outlines the frightening death toll of Iraqi civilians in America’s fight against the self-described Islamic State.

Ijeoma Oluo, The Stranger

This subtle yet searing profile of Rachel Dolezal, the white wife who constructed headlines in 2015 for claiming she was black, is the definitive last word on the entire Dolezal debacle. Nothing needs to be written or to say something about the woman ever again. Ijeoma Oluo crafts a fascinating portrait of Dolezal, ultimately revealing the “overwhelming whiteness” of appropriating blackness.

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