Monday Reading List: #NoConfederate, Back to School Photos, and Youth Activism

In response to HBO's decision to greenlight production on an alternate history program focused on the idea that the South won the Civil War, a group of activists, including #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign, decided to push back. Monique Judge of The Root has the story:

Now Theodore-Vachon, #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign, screenwriter and filmmaker Lauren Warren, Shanelle Little, and Black Girl Nerds founder and managing editor Jamie Broadnax have formed a black woman Voltron and started the hashtag #NoConfederate to send a message to HBO and let them know how many people are against this show ever happening ... “The five of us came together and wanted to do something targeted about Confederate because we are concerned that there is going to be yet another show that monetizes the pain of black people, and we have truly had enough,” Reign told The Root.

I'm biased on this issue, as I shared my own thoughts about why this program is a terrible idea in a satirical article last week. A lot of people have pushed back on the preemptive protest, including my own friends, who think we ought to give the showrunners "a chance" to produce this show. The problem with that idea is that it ignores the process of creating a substantive television series. By the time Confederate reaches the masses, tens of millions of dollars will have been spent, and thousands of consequential decisions about story, hiring, and casting will have been made.

Elsewhere, The New York Times has a new photo journal with a schooling theme, and they're asking for your submissions:

As the 2017-18 academic year approaches, we invite you to submit a photo that represents this time of transition, be it to kindergarten, college or grad school. Parents, show us your children as you let them go; students, show us the opposite. No need to be literal. Express yourself. Use this form to upload your photos.

Send your photos, and make sure that your story is represented!

In other news, Linda Flanagan of The Atlantic looks at the gender dynamics of sports coaching:

[Maggie] Moriarty estimated that as many as 20 coaches guided her various sports teams before college. What united all her head coaches, across sports, was gender: All were male. Much attention and worry has been devoted to the decline of female coaches at the collegiate level since Title IX was passed in 1972. This landmark legislation prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in all educational programs that receive federal funds, and its passage compelled colleges to ramp up the number of athletic teams for girls to stay on par with what they offered boys. While nudging a record number of girls into athletics, Title IX also contributed to an unexpected and steady drop in the number of female collegiate coaches of women’s teams, from 90 percent in 1972 to 43 percent in 2014.

There are some terrific historical anecdotes in this piece, so even if you're not as troubled by the disparities as I am, you should check it out. In the same way that the racial background of teachers sends messages to children about their own identities, so does the gender of a sports coach have an influence on young athletes's sense of self.

Finally today, Christina Veiga of Chalkbeat looks at a new effort to get young people involved in politics:

Founded by educators, organizers and members of the media, YVote plans to work backwards from issues that teens are passionate about to answer the question: “Why vote?” The aim is to recruit students who will be “18 in ’18” — in other words, old enough to vote in the next election cycle — to head to the polls and become the next generation of community activists ... About 50 teens from every borough and more than 20 different schools make up the first YVote class. They are an intentionally diverse group of various political stripes, economic backgrounds and countries of origin. Using the Freedom Summer of 1964 and other case studies, students will work throughout the year to design and test their own campaigns. The goal: to encourage civic engagement while learning to listen to others — even when they disagree.

Full disclosure: I am involved with YVote, mostly in my capacity as a hobbyist photographer. Veiga interviews students from different backgrounds, and their perspectives are worth reading. The complexity and nuance of their capacity to understand politics is striking. Their energy makes me hopeful.

Have a great week!