Design

Have a Beautiful Weekend.

tawny chatmon redemption

What are you up to this weekend? We are having important conversations with the boys and it’s been interesting how they bring things up and ask questions at random times, like when we’re on a walk or in the car. They’re really thinking things over. The pacing of the conversations — in snippets here and there — reminds me of talking to kids about deaths in the family. They absorb these larger issues slowly throughout the day. Hope you have a restful one, and here are a few links from around the web…

Oh my gosh, these beautiful portraits.

A short history of housing segregation in America.

Unfinished portraits of Black people killed by police officers.

A 400-square-foot London loft. The mirror makes it look so much bigger!

The trailer for Pete Davidson’s new movie, The King of Staten Island.

How to raise anti-racist kids.

What ‘defund the police’ really means.

What happens to all the unhugged hugs? (New Yorker)

Beautiful bathing suits.

The secrets to Carla Hall’s buttermilk biscuits.

Plus, two reader comments:

Says RA on how I feel right now as a Black woman: “I can’t explain how much I relate to this as a black woman who also grew up in predominately white spaces with predominately white friends. Finding myself reflected in (both black and white) stories has been so hard, but I felt like I was reading my own thoughts when reading your essay. Thank you.”

Says Calla on how I feel right now as a Black woman: “I’m embarrassed to say I did not know anything about the Tulsa Race Massacre until watching The Watchmen. It was touched upon very briefly (maybe a paragraph) in my American history high school textbook but I’m pretty sure it was branded a ‘riot’ not a ‘massacre.’ Incredible the difference a single word can make in terms of how you instantly perceive an event.”

(Portrait by Tawny Chatmon.)

  1. beth says...

    the model in that bathing suit companies photos looks all of about 14. :(

    • CAT says...

      My thoughts too :(

  2. Amy says...

    Loved your article club idea a while back. Wondered if you’d consider bringing it back. Seems like such a good time with so many big issues for ppl to digest.

  3. Lauren E. says...

    Would love bathing suit recommendations for a big-bottomed girl. The current style of high-cut legs and teeny tiny backsides are not gonna cut it on my family beach trip in November :)

    • Amber says...

      I like Athleta swim bottoms… I haven’t checked the site this year, but in the past you could search by amt of coverage!

  4. Lauren says...

    I am getting VERY strong Klimt vibes from the picture at the top of this page!

    • Kim says...

      The artist did say that she was intentionally referencing Klimt’s Golden Phase. So beautiful.

  5. Justine says...

    Those portraits are so beautiful – they remind me of Gustav Klimt’s paintings.

  6. Julie says...

    The girl modeling the bathing suits is very pretty but so incredibly young. Is she even fifteen? Isn’t it strange to see someone so young posing like this and think “I should buy that?”

    • Betsy says...

      Age is hard to guess – especially in edited photos. Someone last year said I look like I could be in high school, and … I’m in my early 40s.

    • Kim says...

      Julie, I had the same reaction to those photos.

  7. beth says...

    Finding myself surprisingly jarred by the swimsuit spread. Those suits are lovely, and the model is stunning, but that is a child. She is clearly not even done with puberty.

    • Kim says...

      Why can’t a young woman be shown modeling swimsuits? I’m confused. I don’t find these inappropriate or to exploit her in any way. Per the post, the collection, “Italiana, is a dip into a teenager’s 1990s summer spent on the beach”.

    • Liz S says...

      The swim suit spread had a “Lolita” feel to me, don’t know why, it just did. I yearn for the day that grown woman don’t hold that type of body as the ideal.

  8. Thanks for the links, Jo. And I am simply in LOVE with the little girl and her beautiful dress in the photo!

  9. Sasha F. says...

    So frightening to see how quickly it went from “we need to hold police accountable” to “defund them all”. I wonder if that was always the goal?

    Also chanting “defund the police” and then saying that defunding = reallocating is gaslighting of the highest order.

    • Amanda says...

      Sasha – is it the terminology or the concept that makes it frightening?

    • Sara says...

      Holding the police accountable didn’t seem to work very well though, did it?

      I don’t agree with disbanding or completely defunding the police, but if cuts can be made and money reallocated to things like school and social work, hopefully there will be long term benefits. If not, budgeting will swing back the other way I’m sure. What has been happening recently is obviously not working however.

    • Sasha L says...

      Please research what is meant by “defund the police”, I don’t think you understand the concept.

      Because radical reform is necessary, radical reform rarely (never) comes from within powerful systems led by powerful people who befit from the corrupt system they exist within, and reform is often accomplished by staying again from the ground up, “defunding” the police is absolutely necessary. Read about the history of EMS and how change was brought about with that system for a good analogy.

    • mado says...

      The majority of activists who are working under the banner of “defund the police” have been working towards this for years. They didn’t just come up with it recently. I suggest you look up Mariame Kaba. What is new is the sheer numbers of people who are realizing that we’ve tried and tried to hold police accountable and they refuse to be held accountable.

  10. Caitlin says...

    Wow, well done on the links this week. Perfect mix of thought provoking, moving and smile inducing. And wow, the unfinished portraits…how heartbreaking and powerful.

  11. Amanda Luton says...

    Speaking of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Wondery podcast American History Tellers dedicated an entire season to the horrific event. I had never even heard of it before listening to the podcast. It’s excellent and certainly eye-opening.

    • Sasha L says...

      Thank you for this rec. Will listen.

  12. Nat says...

    It is terrifying for me and my neighbors to hear all these celebrities talking from their multi-million dollar homes about defunding the police. How many people who actually support this live in a predominantly Black neighborhood? Surely nobody is asking us for our opinion. Why aren’t they inviting their friends from that new “country” in the West Coast to their gated communities?

  13. MH says...

    I hope to see fewer examples of companies using exclusively skinny white women as models.

    • Lindsey says...

      yeah, I looked at that link like “well, the only reason the bathing suits look good is because they’re on a very specific type of woman…..”

  14. Agnès says...

    The post about all the hugs is so moving. From Paris, where we’re out again, can I tell you it all comes back very fast? You will hug stronger, the live music you will listen to will be so exciting, the cofee drank at the terrace of a café, such a party, the encounter with a true friend a very intense moment. Hold on to this hope (and this fact( that the joy you will experience will be stronger that the pain and will almost completely, erase the pain. Many thoughts your way, and these hugs are on hold.

    • Helen says...

      I live alone and long for the day when I can hug someone again. This comment lifted my spirits. Hope you are having a wonderful time living a normal life again, Agnes!

    • freya says...

      beautiful comment and something to look forward to!

  15. Tiffany Koyama Lane says...

    Glad you’re having important convos w your boys! In case it’s helpful, here’s how I talked to my littles about George Floyd’s murder and the protests dad and I have been going to!
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=OgJEX7_UaW8

  16. rachel simmons says...

    True privilege is being so far removed from crime you would even consider taking ANY funding away from law enforcement. Restructure, sure… change use of force tactics, sure…. but you do not have your hand on the pulse if you think taking ANYTHING away from police at this time is a wise idea. Just for example, during 3 months of covid shelter in place, shootings in our town went up 30%! That is MASSIVE! And now with this new movement our town is calling for the School resource officers to be “defunded”, altogether, which is exactly what this “defund” movement is calling for, more resources to get to the “root” of the problem. Its insanity! The school resource officers are NOT there to enforce laws as much as they are to focus on community oriented policing, the IDEA behind defunding the police… to involve themselves with community! its asinine. Also what no one is talking about is when you take funding away from the police depts, it will trickle down to non sworn members such as dispatchers and call takers, which means a 30 second or less hold time on 911, could turn into a 8-10 min hold time, do you know what people call 911 for?? Baby’s not breathing, drownings, shootings, stabbings… these kinds of life changing events in someones life depends on a closest officer or EMS to get there within MINUTES or someones life could end. Put yourself in their shoes! Officers do SO MUCH more then enforce the law. I am a police dispatcher, and I had a call from a woman who had 4-5 people banging on her door at 2 a.m… she was elderly, and all she and her husband had to defend herself was 911.

    • Portia says...

      So happy to see this comment here. Thank you for being a dispatcher… the first voice the helpless and frantic caller hears. The voice of hope and help. And in this case, a voice of REASON regarding the ridiculousness of “defunding the police”.

    • Emily says...

      The problems of brutality currently within our police departments are so deeply engrained that a simple “restructure” won’t do, an the entire thing has to be rebuilt. It can be done and it is successful. Just look at Camden, NJ. They had some of the highest crime rates for a city their size along with problems of police violence. In 2014 the City defunded their police department and worked with county authorities to have a new force take over. It has meant firing ALL officers and requiring retraining & reinterviewing for any that want to join the new force. They now require body cams on all officers, de-escalation training, a community-focus, and more. There are more officers on the ground than before, less than half the rate of homicides, and a 95% reduction in complaints of police brutality.

      Defunding and rebuilding from the ashes works.

    • Kara K says...

      Rachel, thank you for sharing an alternative perspective. We definitely don’t want long 911 hold times, but I have to say, if this country values quick response times, then we can find a way to fund it. We are a wealthy country, and we have yet to truly tap into the wealth of the 1%. As for #defundthepolice, I agree with the movement but, due to white fragility (myself included), I think it could use a rebrand. I think the point is to #supportthepolice. Police shouldn’t be dealing with non-violent homeless people or other non-violent situations on top of everything else; we need to reallocate those responsibilities to trained mental health professionals and programs that can be preventative and help keep people out of trouble all together. For instance, at the extremely high poverty high school I taught at in Brooklyn, we had several police officers but just one counselor. He was an awesome guy who lasted two years. His room was near mine and I checked on him one time to ask how he was doing. He sighed and said, “It’s like I’m always just doing triage–just trying to control the bleeding.” It’s true that we did use the police to prevent or deal with fights a few times a month. But to deal with the trauma these young adults came to school with we could’ve used ten full time counselors each day.

    • R says...

      Thank you for saying this!

    • Gracie says...

      Are you sure you read the whole article ?
      What is explained in the article is very different from what you are saying.

    • Ginger says...

      Thank you, Rachel. Anyone who doesn’t have personal experience with being a police officer, working with them, or having family/friends that are officers has no clue what the job is like, what it requires, or the toll it takes.

      I encourage everyone who has such strong opinions on what needs to be done to go for a ride along with your local police. Educate yourself on what they have to deal with on a daily basis. We want people who are moral, intelligent, compassionate, who can think on their feet and make split second life & death decisions. We want people who have more self control that most people could dream of. There are officers like that. If we want to keep them & get more we have to pay them what they’re worth. If we pay them peanuts, who is going to want to do an already thankless and dangerous job? Not the qualified people we want, that’s for sure. Bernie Sanders recently spoke about this.

      100% we need more mental health care. Most officers are ill-equipped to deal with that.

      Individual officers have zero control over their coworkers. Even if they speak out to their superiors, it usually falls on deaf ears. It’s the management & unions that make it impossible to fire the ones that should not be police officers.

      We as lay people have no idea what the job is like, why cops are trained the way they are or do things how they do. So telling them how we think they should work is ridiculous. Go for a ride along. Talk to your local police officers. EDUCATE YOURSELF.

    • Lindsey says...

      I feel like you have not actually read what any abolitionists are calling for. Many activists have done decades of research into abolition / defunding, and it does NOT call for cuts to 911 dispatch.

    • Deanna says...

      Hi Rachel, there’s no reason police should have access to military-style tanks and gear, to which much of their funding goes, not to mention very bloated overtime and pension payouts. Would love to see ay evidence or analysis to show that defunding and demilitarizing police will put an extra burden on 911 dispatchers. That’s a pretty big jump in logic.

    • Kate says...

      Hi Emily,

      Camden ended their police union. They actually hired more officers, which is the exact of opposite of defunding. Thanks.

    • “Defund the police” doesn’t mean take away all the money and leave a gaping hole where emergency response should be… it means reducing bloated police budgets (in my home town the police get fully 1/3 of the city budget), and replacing them with people who are better trained and equipped to handle non-violent situations, and also investing in community resources that will reduce the causes of lots of crimes in the first place. It’s not coming from a place of privilege, it’s coming directly from the places that have suffered decades of over-policing and unchecked police brutality. I encourage you to look up “8 can’t wait” and keep an open mind.

    • Emily says...

      Yes! Thank you for saying this.

  17. Farah Sanders says...

    Thank you for sharing Tawny Chatmon’s portraits. They are stunning!

  18. I’d add a pre-step to the raising anti-racist kids — start learning and addressing how white supremacy and racial hierarchy show up in YOUR mind, heart, life, instincts, relationships, choices, spaces, etc. Do some inner cleansing/inner inventory. It will make your answers to the questions more honest, and the whole process more effective. There are some very good resources for white parents, like Me and White Supremacy, or Robin Diangelo’s many books, that are designed to help white people with this very process.

    • Agnes says...

      Great point. Thanks for the recommendations. I will be getting Layla Saad’s book for sure. It looks very practical, and I really want to hear directly from people of colour about these things.

    • EC says...

      I think Savala and the anti-racist kids Instagram post are getting at a point I haven’t seen fully articulated in recent discussions around race-conscious parenting, so I’m grateful Jo is sharing these resources with her audience.

      Plenty of non-black adults have older people in their lives with racist and colorblind attitudes, and I gotta wonder if all of these kids we’re talking about feel the same way about us (or will soon). I think it’s worth remembering your kids aren’t going to stay kids for that long, that racial innocence is impossible to preserve, and– particularly if you are newly aware — a lot of this learning is probably going to happen alongside/from your children.

    • Sasha L says...

      EC, this is such a great point. I homeschooled my kids, and they had a better history education than most American school kids (I have an MA in history), but had I the chance to go back again I’d learn with them so much more about racism. My kids had enough that when they went to high school and had a teacher that pronounced “Andrew Jackson was the greatest president ever!!”, they called bull shit, loudly and with examples. For all I didn’t get to with them, they know better than me. Now 23 and 21, they have taught me so much and pushed me to be better (about sexism and antiLBGTQ as well as racism). I think it’s at least partly because I taught them to read, question and always think critically. I’m so grateful for what they are teaching me and their dad, and their grandparents too.

  19. Calla says...

    Wow, I love those Klimt-inspired portraits! Beautiful!

  20. AN says...

    Right after defunding police, the very next systemic move must be decoupling public school funding from property taxes. The feedback loop discussed in the housing segregation video is sickening. How can all kids have access to an equitable education when such structural racism still tied to redlining is alive and well, with all of us homeowners complicit in it?

    • Adrienne says...

      Yes! Part of being anti-racist is realizing how racist it is that your own kids might get the lion’s share of education dollars. No one wants their own kids to “suffer” so acknowledging that you don’t want your own kids to give up anything r he already have means we all demand more for our schools. How would funding change if suddenly districts across a state were all funded equitably?

    • Susan Y. says...

      Well said.

    • Sasha L says...

      Oh AMEN. We absolutely need a new funding system for education (and universal free University and college too, and loan forgiveness). It’s appalling that this incredibly unfair racist system still stands and that so many don’t even bother to question it, all while bragging about how they bought their house in the neighborhood with the “best schools”. Can we please all start calling this out????

    • Kristian says...

      While not decoupling public education from property taxes entirely, you might find Wyoming’s model of interest to look at how they fund all their schools equitably. You can read more here (https://www.wyofile.com/wyomings-k-12-education/), but the gist of it is that each district has a goal for its budget, based on number of students and other things like how much special ed. is required etc. They get money from their area’s taxes; those districts who do not meet that budget goal though those taxes alone, have the rest of their budget given to them by the state. Those districts whose taxes exceed their school district budget goal, have that excess “recaptured” by the state and redistributed to those other districts that needed more funding to get to their budget goal. This happened after the state’s supreme court ruled they needed too. It’s not perfect because Wyoming’s revenue stream is all oil and minerals which can go boom or bust. But when budgets are cut…. it is also equitable so across the state….

      Basically tl;dr the state of Wyoming makes sure the same amount is being spent per student across the state, regardless of what school district they are in or what the taxes are there. If one state can do this, surely we can do it elsewhere. I hope so anyway! Kids deserve equitable and good educations!

  21. C says...

    Seems a bit hypocritical to quote reader RA as saying “I can’t explain how much I relate to this as a black woman who also grew up in predominately white spaces with predominately white friends. Finding myself reflected in (both black and white) stories has been so hard”, then proceed to post a link to an Italian bathing suit company with only white models…in the same post.

    • celeste says...

      I didn’t mind. Sometimes it is nice to think of less heavy things.

    • Molly says...

      Agree. While I don’t think that everything we do or say or share from here forward must be black-focused, I do think that everything we do moving forward should be vetted for inclusiveness/anti-racism. Yeah, a couple of those suits were pretty and a bit different than the average, but most are “beautiful” because they’re on skinny white girls. No diversity in age, body type, ethnicity, race, nothing….I would have passed on sharing that.

    • Leah says...

      The bathing suit link bothered me for a few reasons. First, coming off of a week of posts honoring diversity, slipping this one in there just felt wrong, out of place and out of touch. Secondly, agreeing with Molly that these suits are “beautiful” mainly owing to the 14 year old waif models displaying them. Maybe it’s just where my head is this week or maybe it’s just being tired of struggling to accept and love my body despite what the fashion industry tells me it should look like, but those models irritated the crap out of me.

    • Andrea says...

      Hello, the reason the “white models” show “no diversity in age, body type, ethnicity, race” is because they’re all one single white model! ;)

    • Sasha L says...

      It’s hopeful that many more of us are seeing the lack of diversity in places we may not have noticed it a few weeks ago. I honestly don’t want to see models that look like me anymore, anywhere. I want the whole beautiful spectrum of humanity from now on.

  22. EleanorFrances says...

    Let us not forget about the housing discrimination practiced by Donald Trump and his father.

    • Sasha L says...

      Let’s not forget to vote in November. ♥️

  23. Oh my goodness the pieces by Tawny Chatmon and Adrian Brandon are breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Omaya says...

    Just heard NPR perpetuate the word “riot” when referring to the Tulsa Race Massacre this morning! The network was questioning Trump’s recent decision to hold a rally in Tulsa (the site of the massacre) on Juneteenth (the day that marks the emancipation of enslaved African Americans). All of it is abhorrent. I will write to NPR, although I am unsure of what to do to combat the president’s campaign choices. Anyone have a good idea?

    • Samantha says...

      Don’t go to the campaign rally, don’t vote for him.

    • M says...

      Oh the irony…My great grandmother had a hotel that was burned to the ground during the Tulsa massacre. She took her 9 month old daughter (my grandmother) and fled. You know where they ended up? Minneapolis. If trump ends up in Tulsa he should be met by protestors.

    • celeste says...

      This was such a stupid choice and I want that person fired immediately. Suspected: Steven Miller.

    • Sherry says...

      Google Yvonne Reeves-Chong’s strategy.

      TLDR: Trump is using the Juneteenth rally to incite riots, create the narrative, and then step in as the Law and Order president to people’s relief. Her solution: NO ONE protest in Oklahoma that day, but in every other state have peaceful protests that call for media attention.

    • Colleen S says...

      The last I heard, he’s changed the date. Don’t quote me on that, though. Also, don’t give him the opportunity to play the hero. I don’t need another four years of this, especially with my sister hoping he’s re-elected just because she believes COVID-19 is a hoax.

  25. Leigh says...

    I have been surprised that at the protests I’ve been to no one is mentioning Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell.