U.S. Police Training, the African American History Museum, and More: This Week’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. This week, we recommend an extensive piece by Vann R Newkirk II about his visit to the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, a New Yorker humor piece that tops most prior NY v. LA articles, a look into a U.S. police training exercise, and more.

Vann R. Newkirk II writes in the Atlantic about his experience of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (which opens tomorrow) and the ways the architecture of the museum and layout of exhibits inform the histories both “triumphant and crushing” that it chronicles:

The British architect David Adjaye and museum director Lonnie Bunch, along with a small army of curators and contributors, attempted a monumental task. The history exhibit of the Smithsonian’s new memorial of blackness is triumphant and crushing at once, both a celebration of how far black people have come in an ongoing struggle for equality, and a reminder of the near impossibility of that struggle.

A.V. Club‘s column AVQ&A this week focused on actors who are so good that people will watch any of their projects, regardless of quality. For the column, a series of writers give their individual choices. Here’s a snippet of Kelsey J. Waite writing on Juliette Binoche:

Juliette Binoche first captivated me at 14, with the charm and whimsy of her mysterious chocolatier in Chocolat . This film is too saccharine for me now, but it says a lot that she drew me in with one of the dimmer titles in her filmography, opposite Johnny Depp’s ponytail and blues guitar.

And Alex McCown-Levy on Chiwetel Ejiofor:

I’ve been mildly obsessed with the British thespian ever since Stephen Frears’ moody and tense 2002 immigrant drama Dirty Pretty Things , where he managed the rare feat of making Audrey Tatou seem like just another actor. True, for a long time he was most recognized for the hokey Love Actually , but like any great character actor, he’s managed to elevate every project in which he’s involved.

There have been plenty of self-serious think pieces about LA/NY rivalry, but Susanna Woolf’s hilarious humor piece on it kind of settles the hackneyed “debate” once and for all:

No, I don’t need my parking validated. I didn’t drive here, because I’m from New York and I don’t know how to drive. I told you this already. You thought I was joking? I make much better jokes than that, because I’m from New York and we all have a dry, intellectual wit. I once saw “Much Ado About Nothing” performed entirely by rats and a pigeon on a G train that was being held by the dispatcher between stations. It was magnificent and repulsive.

This was another week in which shootings (of Terence Crutcher, in Tulsa, and Keith Lamont Scott, in Charlotte) yet again demonstrated the horrifying frequency with which police use killing as the first option for disarming (often…unarmed) black people they, through what can often be chalked up to engrained racist perceptions, find threatening. Fusion published a piece wherein writer Mary Noble attended the country’s largest police training exercise, and found it to be troublingly devoid of — and simply ignorant to — the changes that the public are demanding officers make:

This training exercise, like everything else at Urban Shield, seems to exist in a world where the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement never happened. The event has remained impervious to the national debate over lethal force in policing, and still promotes the militarized tactics for which it is often criticized. The 2016 training immersed officers in 48 hours of mass-casualty scenarios requiring use of force, and offered no discussion of de-escalation, mental health, or unconscious bias.