This piece is a part of our series, Women We Watch, which examines celebrity women as archetypal models of American femininity. The series also includes the story, “The Celebrity Life Cycle of the ‘Messy White Woman’”, “The Reign of the Pristine White Woman”, and “Twice as Good: The Perils of Flawless Black Women”.

With #FreeBritney now rising to the top of folks’ Twitter feeds, celebrities and lay people alike are reflecting on 20 years of our societal treatment of Britney Spears. What’s curious about this moment is that, in many ways, nothing new is happening with Britney Spears; the circumstances…


To those of you who pray: did you pray for justice?

I don’t have a God, but I know I hoped for it. To have to hope so hard made me sad. Did you ever think, “what a weird thing to have to pray for?”

Justice 1a: the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments

What is impartial here? In this place that relies on suppression to thrive? On dominance to have identity?

Derek Chauvin already decided George Floyd’s “merited punishment”. And now, we…


Despite children’s books, essay collections, and a Solange song, somehow folks have still not learned that they can not just touch Black people’s hair. My hair is a topic of conversation almost daily, and I have written before about how unwelcome much of the commentary and attention is.

But earlier today I was smiling and laughing with five kindergarten girls, who, one by one, asked if they could touch my hair. I let them, and watched their joy as we traded English and Spanish words to describe its texture: bouncy, muelle, esponjosa, fluffy.

When little kids ask to touch my…


Yesterday, video of new country music dynamo Morgan Wallen saying the N word flooded the internet.

The idea that non-Black people shouldn’t publicly say the N word has permeated our society, but that’s done nothing to eradicate non-Black people saying the N word. And while it’s nice that people generally don’t feel like they can yell “nigger” at me, White folks’ continued private comfort with the N word reveals how deep the roots of American racism go.

The gap is that folks do not truly believe in the humanity of Black people, do not see Black people as equally human…


In this morning’s inaugural address, President Joe Biden asked us to strive for unity by “open[ing] our souls instead of hardening our hearts” and “stand[ing] in each other’s shoes”. I listened to the news for hours, hearing folks laud this new era of rebuilding and togetherness Joe Biden and his moderate persona can usher in. I have, over the past two years in particular, heard innumerable White people, in person and on TV, talk about unification, decrying the “division” of our nation, wanting desperately for a return to “normalcy” and a harmony we apparently lost. When they’re talking, I’m wondering…


Like all races, Whiteness was socially constructed. It was invented alongside colonialism as a foundation for and rationalization of the assertion of superiority as Europeans extended their violent reach across the world. It has changed its shape and boundaries over the centuries, expanding to maintain control, but never so much as to not be exclusive. And today, in the United States, it exists as an almost material concept; Whiteness is now a set of ideas, a way of life, a belief system, a sensibility, an ethos. …


Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Hours ago, as I watched video of Trump supporters pushing past armed police and their barricades to break into the United States Capitol Building, the only thought I had was of protesting in Oakland this summer: flashbangs going off around me, riot gear, guns pointed at crowds. In this country, law enforcement shoot people of color for the faintest perception of a threat.

The people who breached the Capitol today with weapons, and launched an attack on a federal building in the middle of a joint session of Congress to incite fear and upend the democratic process. …


via NBC

by Lena Potts

I know I’m a little late, but today I binged the opening episodes of This Is Us’s fifth and penultimate season. The show, which as been holding down the “really good network TV” corner for a few years, deserves credit for a few things, including, integrating COVID fully into the daily lives of the characters, capturing this moment as opposed to glossing over it. But what I was most impressed with in the launch of this (thus far pretty weird) season was its POV on Black Lives Matter. For a show that has made one of its…


Note: This article is filled with links. The most important action you can take to move forward is to stay informed! I encourage you to click through and learn more!

I know many people who voted for the first time in this election. Some had been previously unable to vote, and some had felt, for many years, that politics simply wasn’t for them. And then there was Donald Trump. With the 2016 presidential election, many learned what the most disenfranchised folks in the U.S. already knew- prejudice is alive and thriving.

White nationalism, deeply rooted in our history of White…


I remember deciding, on November 9th, 2016, to go work. Many women, Black and Brown folks, and people from various other marginalized groups were staying home from work- withholding their labor- in protest. I do community education work with low-income youth of color. Withholding my labor didn’t feel like a protest- it just felt like more hurt to my kids. So I went to work. I remember hoping that I was modeling “strength” for them.

That strength is bullshit.

When we praise people who are facing violent oppression for continuing to show up, for operating business as usual, for their…

Lena Potts

My entire life is basically an audition for a yet undeveloped, very boring HBO show.

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