#5SmartReads - February 28, 2022
Hitha on Ukraine, the cost of a hip replacement, and the power of debate team
#StandWithUkraine (Santa Barbara Independent)
While I’m heartened that European countries and the United States have taken on a number of these recommendations over the weekend (and can and should still do more), so much of Oksana Yakushko’s brave essay must be taken.
This quote, in particular, explains why:
“Putin’s Russian government has participated in the worst atrocities and human rights violations for dozens of years and yet we also have done little. To remind: it was Putin’s government that influenced the presidential elections of 2016 and 2020 — and while routinely presenting America and the West as a great evil, the Kremlin has openly thrown its power behind groups with “America First” rhetoric. Putin’s government has been responsible for poisoning, imprisoning, and assassinating political leaders, journalists, and activists. Putin’s military has been behind supporting the Syrian regime as well as violently quelling democratic protests in Belarus and Kazakhstan. Under Putin’s draconian “gay propaganda” laws, untold number of LGBTQ Russians have been killed and assaulted. Even domestic violence laws were dissolved in Russia.”
Don’t just stand with Ukraine. Use your voice to advocate for more forceful action to be taken in support of the Ukrainian people and the country’s sovereignty.
In the continued coverage of the war waged against Ukraine, one thing stuck out a lot at me - the hypocrisy.
The internalized racism - as there is no other word for it - explains the sympathetic coverage and open arms given to Ukrainian refugees, and the utter lack of sympathy given to Palestinians, Afghani people, Syrians, and Somalians who are currently suffering from a similar situation.
Ukrainians do deserve the support and coverage they are getting from the press - as do the tens of millions of refugees whose skin is more melanated.
Both things can be true, and we all deserve dignity when facing the most challenging situations that many of us will never have to face.
How a High School Debate Team Shaped Ketanji Brown Jackson (New York Times)
As a high school speech & debate team alumna, I can say with confidence that it will change your life. And I’m honored to share the experience with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who I hope becomes our next associate justice on the Supreme Court.
I’m also a little bit envious that the late Fran Berger was not my coach.
Jackson is but one of Berger’s proteges who went on to succeed in the highest levels of law, academia, and medicine, as you’ll learn in this excellent piece.
And I feel very blessed for my own experience in speech and debate, and will Tiger Mom my children in giving it a try when they reach high school.
How much do you think a hip and knee replacement surgery costs?
$66,000? $71,000? $98,000?
If you’re insured through your employer, that’s how much your insurance will be billed for it. If you’re insured through Medicare, it’s $20,000.
I’ll wait as you let that sink in a bit.
Two things can be true and are true - healthcare is one of this country’s biggest employers and these varying costs do go towards paying wages and necessary costs to keep these 22 million folks employed, AND this billing discrepancy between private insurance and Medicare is unsustainable and takes us further from delivering quality healthcare to all.
I’m grateful that there is more transparency in health care costs, because it gives us a place to start in advocating for change. But we have a lot of work to do…
Why I Love Being A Bald Black Woman (Bustle)
“As women, our hair is so tied to our worth and how feminine we are, and it’s because of misogynist standards that have been put onto us. So when I first went bald, I remember people being like, “How is this affecting your love life?” There was this stigma about not being able to attract the same type of person that I would’ve when I used to have hair. But it’s made me feel so empowered because there’s nothing to hide behind.”
I loved this beautiful essay on what being bald means to Brennan Nevada Johnson. And I long for the day when we celebrate how each of us chooses to show up in the world, versus trying to adhere to Eurocentric standards of beauty.