• On the 20th anniversary of his influential book Freedom Dreams, scholar Robin G. Kelley talks with Omari Weekes for the Nation about his work since its publication and why it’s crucial to always be learning, and unlearning:

One of the things that I learned over the last 20 years was even how that conception of what it means to create a transformative politics around the question of identity and identification was still limited because we’re only talking about, as Indigenous groups might say, the human nation. This whole planet and all of life are relations. And when you start to think that way, then you are way beyond it. We see in the flowering of movements new visions coming forward for what the future can look like, what emancipation can look like, what abolition can actually look like. None of those terms can ever be codified. You can’t come up with a definition of abolition and then stick with it for the rest of your life. That’s impossible. But that’s our job as intellectuals, we’re supposed to define our terms, and I’m like, Why can’t they be more elastic?

  • During a segment on Al Jazeera, Hyperallergic Senior Editor Hakim Bishara shares his perspective about negotiations to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece — which, as he explains around the 22-minute mark, shouldn’t really be negotiations at all:
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Since her initial foray into baking that gravestone recipe a year ago, she has made several other recipes she found in cemeteries across the country. Baking delicacies by the deceased has become somewhat of a hobby for Grant. It’s unusual, to be sure, but fulfilling.

“Cooking these recipes has shown me an alternative side to death,” said Grant, 33. “It is a way to memorialize someone and celebrate their life.”

Before she stumbled upon her first recipe, she had never heard of cooking instructions on graves. It is not a commonplace sentiment for a headstone, she said, but there are certainly a sprinkling of them out there. And once she got a taste, she made it her mission to find more.

  • Need a clear take on cryptocurrency? Bloomberg‘s Matt Levine has written a comprehensive one-stop guide that includes some of the pitfalls, it’s a good read:

One way to think of money is that it’s a system of social credit. Society has mechanisms—capitalism, politics, etc.—to allocate resources, with a rough heuristic of: “The more good stuff you do for society, the more good stuff you get for yourself.” Money is a rough way of keeping track of that. If you do good stuff for other people, they give you money, which you can use to buy good stuff for yourself.

Another way to think about money is that it’s some sort of external objective fact. If you have money, it’s your money, and society has nothing to say about whether you can keep it or what you can do with it.

Crypto starts from the second view: Your Bitcoin are yours immutably; they’re controlled only by your private key, and no government or bank can take them away from you. But the history of crypto since Satoshi has undermined this view. If you got your Bitcoin illegitimately, the government can trace them and stop you from spending them. There are still gatekeepers—crypto exchanges and fiat off-ramps and banks—that decide what you can do with your money. Crypto might be immutable and “censorship-resistant,” but its interactions with the real world are not.

  • Following Liz Truss’s resignation, and victory for the lettuce that outlasted her term, Conservative leader Rishi Sunak took over as the UK’s Prime Minister and the reactions have left much to be desired — yes, WhatsApp family chats, I’m looking at you/us. Kehinde Andrews writes that Sunak’s appointment is far from a win for diversity:

This is the party that commissioned a report that claimed institutional racism no longer exists. This is the party that has brought in a policing bill that makes the maximum punishment for defacing a statue 10 years, more than some offenders have been sentenced to for rape, according to the Labour Party.

Sunak has not directly owned any of these policies, but he has fully supported them. In his failed leadership campaign, he reaffirmed the Rwanda policy and made a concerted effort to boost his anti-woke credentials by condemning those who he said were attempting to bulldoze traditional British values.

  • Journalist Bianca Graulau, who regularly covers Puerto Rico and created a short documentary for Bad Bunny’s latest music video “El Apagón / Aquí Vive Gente,” gives a run-down of attempts to privatize the island’s caves carved by underground rivers and waterways:
  • Speaking of TikTok news sources, NiemanLab noted that “26% of Americans under 30 say they regularly get news from TikTok”:

The increase comes as Americans’ use of most other social networks for news has declined over the past two years. Instagram is up too, but just a tiny bit. The use of Facebook for news has fallen the most over the last two years: Today, less than half of Americans say they regularly get news there.

  • The New York Times just reported that over 104,000 New York City students were homeless at some point last year. What will it take for the predatory and broken systems fueling the housing crisis to finally be addressed?

The number of students in temporary housing grew by 3 percent over the prior year and has surpassed six figures for seven consecutive school years, posing steep challenges for the administration of Mayor Eric Adams. The city is grappling with how to help its most vulnerable children recover from pandemic learning losses while also integrating the more than 6,000 additional homeless students who have enrolled in city schools over the past four months.

The vast majority of the newest group of students are immigrants from Central and South America who were bused to New York City from Texas after they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. They have strained a system where immigrant students have often struggled.

  • We’re about a month away from the first autumnal World Cup, and labor conditions in preparation for the event remain dire. Tom Ravenscroft writes for Dezeen about Amnesty International’s report on the situation:

The country has been widely criticised over the conditions experienced by migrant workers who are largely building the stadiums and other World Cup infrastructure. In 2016, Amnesty International highlighted the abuses experienced and accused Qatar of using forced labour on World Cup sites.

In 2021, the Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers had died in the county in the decade after it won the right to host the event in 2020. According to Amnesty International, thousands of these deaths remain uninvestigated.

For Ignatiev solidarity requires white people “to ‘lose’ their white-skin privileges, the prerequisites that separate them from the rest of the working class, that act as the material base for the split in the ranks of labor.” Race Traitor asks and interrogates the question: “What if the white skin lost its usefulness as a badge of loyalty? . . . . And if color no longer served as a handy guide to the dispensing of favors, so that ordinary whites began experiencing the sort of treatment to which they are normally immune, how would this affect their outlook?” In other words, what if people socially defined as white chose to reject their white identity in pursuit of a better society?

  • Dust-to-Digital featured this Brazilian man playing a cactus, part of its lovely Instagram series of unusual music-making around the world:

Required Reading is published every Thursday afternoon, 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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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

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Lakshmi Rivera Amin

Lakshmi Rivera Amin (she/her) is a writer and artist based in New York City. She currently works as Hyperallergic's editorial coordinator.

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