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  • This survivor of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School says his own father has been indoctrinated by QAnon conspiracies about the tragedy. David Gilbert corroborated the story, first posted on a Reddit channel for family members and friends of QAnon supporters. It’s heartbreaking:

[…] Bill also had to deal with his father’s daily accusations that the shooting was a hoax and that the shooter, Bill, and all his classmates were paid pawns in a grand conspiracy orchestrated by some shadowy force. 

Bill had worked hard to get over his survivor’s guilt after the shooting, but for the past five months, his own father has been triggering it all over again. 

“He’ll say stuff like this straight to my face whenever he’s drinking: ‘You’re a real piece of work to be able to sit here and act like nothing ever happened if it wasn’t a hoax. Shame on you for being part of it and putting your family through it too,” Bill said in an anonymous post on Reddit last week.

Part of the reason queer sex thrives online is because of the internet’s covert nature. Prior to the web’s easy anonymity, queer people had to seek sly ways to court sex in front of other people without being detected. The hanky code of the ’70s and ’80s, an elaborate system of discreet communication wherein people put different colored hankerchiefs in their right or left pockets to indicate sexual interests, allowed queer people to speak about kink in plain sight without words. Craigslist, which most people know as a place to find an apartment or a piece of furniture, was for many queer people a vibrant place to find sex before the Fight Online Sex Trafficking and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Acts of 2018. The list of ways to hook up goes on: sultry personal ads in the back pages of gay publications such as XY and Têtu, dating sites such as Grindr, and now, the Zoom sex parties of the coronavirus era.

  • For the Los Angeles Times, Anh Do delved into the history of anti-Asian racism in California, particularly a horrifying arson in Antioch’s Chinatown, which decimated the community of immigrants (many of whom had already been driven out of town by racist threats). The fires left behind a secret system of tunnels, built by Chinatown residents to allow movement in spite of laws that prohibited Chinese folks from walking outside after sundown. It’s a ghastly history, for which the City Council and recently appointed mayor have now apologized:

When the Palace Hotel was demolished in 1926 to make way for a new theater, a section of the Chinese tunnels was uncovered, according to the [Antioch Historical Society].

The tunnel remnants, in the basements of Reign and other downtown businesses, including a cafe, are a reminder of the hard lives that Chinese immigrants led long ago.

“Customers are drinking coffee and tea in the same room where people hid from their fellow residents. Imagine that,” said May Hong, a Chinese American secretary from San Jose who visited Antioch after reading about the city’s apology online. “When I told my relatives about the earlier discrimination, they were grateful to hear that public leaders are taking steps to say sorry.”

“I think it’s high time that athletes start putting their physical and mental health ahead of the sort of arbitrary ideas of national greatness,” said Faye Linda Wachs, professor of sociology at California State Polytechnic University. 

Many people consider it an “honor to represent your country” in the Olympics, Wachs said, but athletes are people who have earned their achievements and have the right to withdraw from competition like any worker, especially when the safety risks are high. 

  • Read about the problem with carbon offsets (and how they’re going up in smoke), explained by Dharna Noor for Gizmodo:

Offset projects allow polluting corporations to purchase credits for carbon sequestered by those projects so that corporations can continue polluting. In the U.S., the majority of offsets are based on reforestation. All kinds of highly polluting businesses, from cryptocurrency businesses to energy giants, favor these schemes. Yet the issues with these forest offset programs are manifold. Globally, projects have displaced Indigenous populations who use forests, to make space to plant trees. They also do not undo pollution and can, in fact, lead to increased emissions.

California began its forest offsets program in 2013 and it now constitutes a major part the state’s strategy for reducing climate pollution. Yet an April report from CarbonPlan, ProPublica, and MIT Technology Review found that because of crucial mathematical errors in accounting, the scheme has actually increased greenhouse gas emissions. The authors estimate that nearly 30% of the offsets in the program are overvalued for the amount of carbon they sequester.

Wildfires take that problem from bad to worse. When they burn, trees release all the carbon they’ve removed from the atmosphere over their lifetimes.

  • A study by the Urban Institute posits that the US poverty rate will be cut nearly in half as a result of increased government aid during the pandemic. The New York Times breaks it down:

While poverty has fallen most among children, its retreat is remarkably broad: It has dropped among Americans who are white, Black, Latino and Asian, and among Americans of every age group and residents of every state.

[…] The Biden administration has started making monthly payments to most families with children through an expansion of the child tax credit. Democrats want to make the yearlong effort permanent, which would reduce child poverty on a continuing basis by giving their families an income guarantee.

  • For the Rolling Stone, EJ Dickson interviewed dommes contributing to global vaccination efforts by requiring their subs to be vaccinated:

[…] the dommes I spoke with didn’t see instituting vaccine requirements as a political issue at all, or even an ethical one; rather, they see it both as a self-protective measure (indeed, most sex workers are independent contractors, and thus risk having to pay exorbitant amounts for health care out-of-pocket if they get sick). It’s also a concrete way to measure subs’ devotion. “Someone who’s in service to us should respect our boundaries,” says Daddy An Li, a domme based in Los Angeles who requires proof of vaccination from subs. “Either you want to serve us and you respect us, or you don’t.”

  • Frito-Lay workers have been speaking out against horrifying conditions in their workplace and the consequences of speaking out against such a huge corporation:

Required Reading is published every Saturday, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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Jasmine Weber

Jasmine Weber is Hyperallergic's news editor. She is an artist and writer based in Brooklyn, particularly interested in Black art histories and visual culture. She received her B.A. in Ethnic Studies...

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