In the wake of the Unite the Right rally in 2017—and even more so during the George Floyd protests of 2020—hundreds of Confederate monuments across the country were toppled, removed, or added to the agendas of countless city council meetings. Of course, thousands more remain, spread far and wide below the Mason Dixon line as well as stretching up through the North and as far west as Alaska. But for the cities that did remove these racist statues, the next issue has become: what to do with them? While supporters claim they’re historic pieces of artwork, activists believe that they are symbols of intimidation and remnants of treason against the United States. “I doubt that most people within their right mind would see [a Confederate statue] as a ‘fabulous piece of art,’” a pro-removal activist, Ashton Woods, said. “The reality is that it is a form of intimidation. It is representative of subjugation, hate, slavery.” Government officials have tried to grapple with the best course of … [Read more...] about What Happened to All Those Racist Statues We Took Down?
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Gabriella Santamaria, 9, holds up a picture of her uncle Stephen who died from a heroin overdose during a candlelight vigil on Staten Island. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images For the past few years, figures illustrating the nation’s overdose death toll, driven largely by opioids like Oxycontin and fentanyl, have been appearing in headlines with jaw-dropping frequency. In 2019, drug overdoses eclipsed car crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. For much of 2020 , the daily death toll surpassed that of car accidents and gun deaths combined. Then, at the end of 2021, the CDC released a study showing that the U.S. had officially surpassed 1 million overdose deaths since the agency began collecting such data in 1999. It was a grim milestone that passed unceremoniously, perhaps because it was overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic or because Americans are by now well-aware of the toll opioids have taken on the country. That awareness is thanks, in … [Read more...] about One Million Dead
The United States has a vexed relationship with immigration. A core narrative of our country is that it is a melting pot, even though our government has excluded different groups of migrants for centuries. The much-vaunted nickname “ nation of immigrants ” leaves out those who were here before colonization (Native peoples) and those who were brought here against their will (enslaved Africans). There’s a gap, in other words, between the romantic image of America many of us learn about as children and its grittier realities. “Arrivals,” a thought-provoking exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art , uses historical and contemporary art to probe that gap. Curated by the art historian Heather Ewing, the show considers how newcomers to this land have shaped it and been received. Notably, the exhibition dispenses with the word “immigration” in favor of something more capacious: “Arrivals” includes those who may not fit official terminology. In its own way, the show still upholds the idea … [Read more...] about The Much-Vaunted American Melting Pot, Cracks and All