On Madison Is A Great Small City, Unless You're Black

YESSSSSSS. So into this piece--which BTW is wonderfully written and succinctly powerful. I'm also a WOC who decamped from a fairly liberal town for New York and has never really looked back. Yeah, yeah, my cost of living would go down if I left the city, but surprisingly, your standard of living can be independent of cost but still dependent on race/ethnicity. (This is not actually surprising, but seems to be forgotten in a lot of discussions.) What's really hard to bear is well-meaning white people who insist that their cities/towns/wherever are "actually quite diverse and inclusive" because they personally aren't racist and have friends of color. Which is great. But their sphere of experience is not that of black, Asian, Latin@, Middle Eastern, etc., folk--which is absolutely not something they should apologize or feel guilty for, but which they should understand the limitations of. Also, as long as I'm on this rant, I'll mention that diversity in and of itself isn't great if places are largely segregated. So, cool, your town has black/brown people, but they've been ghettoized into "their" side of town. And again, just because you personally live/visit there doesn't mean there isn't a larger dynamic at play. NYC has far from figured out race relations, obviously. We have racial and economic fault lines that run deep. Structural racism is still a problem. But sadly POC do have a reason to celebrate a city where, at least, you're not just the "interracial couple," or complimented on your ability to "speak such nice English," or repeatedly asked if you're related to the other people of your race/ethnicity in town, or having your hair touched, or having having people pull back their eyes to look like yours, or having your ancestry collapsed into "Mexican" or "Chinese" because "well, it's so hard to tell you guys apart," or whatever. The list goes on. Yay NYC.

Posted on December 11, 2014 at 1:36 pm 0

On How Wizards Do Money: Susan Bones

@beastlyburden More substantively: this was really lovely, and unlike most of the news this week, did not make me want to jump off a cliff. Brava, Nicole.

Posted on December 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm 1

On How Wizards Do Money: Susan Bones


Posted on December 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm 0

On What We'll Do When We Stop Working

@ThatJenn We're planning on retiring outside of the US for that exact reason.

Posted on December 3, 2014 at 10:46 am 1

On What We'll Do When We Stop Working

Posted on December 3, 2014 at 10:46 am 0

On Chatting About A New Era

Many, many congrats! I'll really miss your wit and humor here, but I'm excited to read your new column at The Cut!

Posted on November 26, 2014 at 10:03 am 0

On Putting Your Money Where Your Apology Is

I was pretty repulsed by Daniel Handler’s comments, but his apology was solid. Side note: I’m surprised/disappointed that I didn’t hear about those comments until I read Nikky Finney’s piece on Gawker today, though. I follow a lot of lit types on Twitter, a bunch of whom were live-tweeting the whole thing, and none of them mentioned it. Nikky’s description of how the National Book Foundation’s initial response to her email was also depressing, although they’ve now backpedaled and issued a statement on their website. Your apology was very gracious, Ester.

Posted on November 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm 0

On Eating Thanksgiving Dinner in a Restaurant is Cheating Y/N

@fletchasketch Seconding this. Lately, it does feel like we're not getting a lot of real discussion, just one-off remarks or commentary without a lot of depth, or which functions less to educate the reader than to signal that the writer Knows What's Up. I'm sure part of that is just the reality of the editorial schedule here, where writers need to pump out a lot of content in not a lot of time, but personally, when I see these issues being invoked in what feels to me like a throwaway/parenthetical fashion, it feels less like a productive critique and more like a cheap rhetorical tool, aka snark.

Posted on November 20, 2014 at 11:39 am 3

On Eating Thanksgiving Dinner in a Restaurant is Cheating Y/N

@msperception My comment is more about the perhaps unintended effects of tilting the coverage here towards greater awareness of structural issues, which I agree is a good and needful thing (as long as it's done with the seriousness and thoughtfulness these issues deserve, which is a separate point). So, in this instance, what's the kerfuffle here really about? On the one hand, there's Ester making some of her readers feel bad because they don't act out her preferred vision of holiday domesticity, which connects into some problematic ideas about femininity (being the hostess with the mostess, making the holidays Pinterest-perfect for your family, etc.). There's also the idea that her vision of eating out on Thanksgiving is heavily classed--would she have ever suggested that someone who couldn't afford to make a full spread at home and instead ordered the Thanksgiving special at Popeye's is "cheating"? But really, how many of us would have considered those issues if we weren't primed to do so because it was on The Billfold? And that's my point. If the writers here keep reminding their readers how class, race, and gender underpin almost every facet of our lives, financial and otherwise, they have to expect that their readers will continue using that lense on pieces where they (the writers) didn't intend for that kind of scrutiny. Also, this may just be my bubble of reality, but I don't feel like the class, race, et al. are ignored at all in discussions of money on any significant platform. Income, racial, and gender inequality seem like they're part of the everyday media conversation at this point.

Posted on November 20, 2014 at 11:34 am 1

On Eating Thanksgiving Dinner in a Restaurant is Cheating Y/N

@TheDilettantista Haha, my pleasure! I think you articulated yourself plenty well, though.

Posted on November 19, 2014 at 4:37 pm 0