Outside Reading — Too Damn High edition


Evicting the Landlord by Matthew Desmond

In a compelling, deeply considered piece in The New York Times Magazine, Matthew Desmond uses the experience of one group of renters in Minneapolis — and the organization that worked tirelessly on their behalf — to detail the plight of working class people during a public health emergency that has devastated many of their livelihoods. In this case, the landlord is especially immoral, brazenly lying at every opportunity and generally abandoning his basic obligation to those who live in his buildings. But the points the article raises are broader and more troubling, especially in a nation that coldly ignored the enacting bold, decisive measures to help those who need it the most while making sure massive corporations better equipped to weather hard times were coddled. Desmond boils it down to a basic question: “Who gets to decide what is workable and what is not? Don’t we have to admit that in America the dreams of the rich often become realities (carried interest, unlimited incomes), while the dreams of the poor are dismissed as outlandish?”

A Korean Store Owner. A Black Employee. A Tense Neighborhood. by Michael Corkery

There’s exceptional reporting and storytelling in this article from Michael Corkery, also published in The New York Times. It’s about one store that suffered damage when recent protests against police violence escalated, but it expands beyond the scope of that single incident to consider all the ways potential Black entrepreneurs are tacitly barred from creating businesses that serve their own communities.

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