I work in fast food — cleaning, grilling, smiling — and I know why you don’t want me to earn $15 an hour

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Past midnight, or at 2 a.m. on the weekends, our fast-food place closes its doors and we use the next hour to clean up and put everything back in its place. Recently, we got an additional task, sorting through the trash to meet new recycling requirements: plastic in the yellow trash can, food in the red one. “We grill burgers, not the Earth” was the gist of the initiative, an effort to address the fast-food industry’s impact on the planet.

We’ve been working overtime ever since. The stacking of task on top of task takes its toll. No amount of…


The impulse to laugh at the expense of others is a white privilege that people of color inappropriately want to reach sometimes. Here’s how it manifested as a war was about to break out

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I learned the word ‘empathy’ in the third grade when my White teacher told us, “Do not waste food! Think about the poor little kids in Africa who don’t have any.” All of my classmates, who were all white, thought I was from there. I guess I fit the profile. It’s weird to think that when I was eight years old, my classmates were taught to pity kids from a far-away land whose only characteristic was poverty. Consequently, they must have pitied me, too.

Back at home, my brothers and I needed to eat everything on our plate before leaving…


A scathing indictment of white feminists’ perpetuation of racism proves that contributions to Black feminism are still relevant 40 years later

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In the early years of the Women’s Liberation Movement, Black lives didn’t exist. When they did, they were only used as props and disposable objects to further the ideologies of “universal” (read: white) feminism. Hazel V. Carby, scholar and pioneer of Black feminism, reflects this idea in an article appropriately entitled “White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood”, in which she calls for white feminists to consider race in their theorizing of women’s oppression in a patriarchal society. …


Countless spaces are labeled as ‘Black’ but they’re not entirely ours. How do we reclaim them?

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“Why is the African collection on the lowest floor?” I ask a security guard at the British Museum. Every other collection gets sunlight, but Africa is buried underground, hidden beneath the fire exits, accessible only if you want to look for it. The guard tells me it’s probably because the museum acquired this collection last, so instead of building a fourth floor, they dug deeper.

When I visit the National Museum of Scotland I wait for my group of friends to wander off so I can take a picture of the Art of African Metalwork exhibition. As the picture snaps…


February is a stressful month when you’re a Black writer. You want to honor Black History, but you don’t want to cannibalize yourself because people are suddenly interested in your…


Getting deep about dumb stuff

Here’s what science says about a topic we’d rather leave to 12-year-olds

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A friend’s birthday is January 1. At least, according to the Facebook notification I get every new year. And every new year, without fail, she laughs at those who don’t know that her birthday is actually February 17. She doesn’t care too much about her birthday.

Many, though, take their own birthday more seriously than they’d like to admit, so when you forget to wish your friends and lovers a happy birthday or anniversary, you’ll know about it one way or another. We’ve all been on the receiving end of a text saying, “Didn’t you forget anything today?”, …


Understanding the power of angry naps saves relationships, helps you be more in touch with yourself, and gives your anger the significance it deserves

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Anger was a key descriptor of our lives in 2020, and it’s not looking any better this year. The pandemic unmasked all the failing facets of our society, so we aimed our anger at Government, Police, Healthcare, and the other Big Issues we now suffer from in a more visceral way. This large-scale anger eventually infiltrates the more mundane events of our daily lives, like a heated work Zoom meeting or a fight with our close ones in perpetual isolation. Then anger gives way to fatigue, and that’s where the angry nap comes in. …


After agonizing writer’s block, this award-winning writer reminded me that our work allows us and our readers to be free

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I have a script in hand at all times. From my speech to become class rep in the first grade to the last presentation I gave in college, I’ve always followed my script. My off-beat details, spontaneity, jokes, and all the other features of great oratory skills are planned out, rehearsed and delivered with a script I’ve written with care. Improv isn’t my thing; I stammer halfway through a 30-second explanation of any topic I hold dear to my heart. …


Living and documenting Black pain is too much of an ask

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Black writers are expected to write about pain.

We’re regularly asked to suffer on the page for a voyeuristic White gaze, that feeds off cathartic writing from people of color.

It allows the reader to consume pain without feeling guilty. This is a trend. These are words on a page. This is not real. Our stories, and the trauma that births them, manufacture high demand for stories that only see us through the lens of pain.

It further incentivizes editors, publishers, and even Hollywood to demand people of color root out their pain and hold it up for everyone to…


Will more people start walking with their therapists?

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If you’ve ever taken a long walk with a close friend and talked about difficult personal problems, you get the gist of “walk and talk” therapy.

Denice Clark, PhD, a therapist based in Atlanta, has been providing walk-and-talk therapy professionally since 2015. She’s well known as Dr. Walk and Talk (her company is called Sole to Soul Therapy), and a few months after the pandemic hit, therapists started contacting her about how best to offer this kind of therapy to their clients. …

Assad Abderemane

English graduate student and freelance writer based in France. Words at Level, Elemental, Gen, Human Parts, etc. Email: abderemane.m.assad@gmail.com

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