#336: Turning Red



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Happy Thursday, loyal readers. Thank you very much for being here. If you’re new(ish), welcome! The Highlighter is all about reading the best articles on race, education, and culture. I hope you like what you read.
Last weekend, I watched “Turning Red” and found the movie delightful. So I was surprised that the Pixar and Disney film has received only a 73 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. The reason? Maybe nothing nowadays – not even a cute coming-of-age movie – can escape the scrutiny of the culture war. While critics claim that kids should not learn about menstruation in a feature film, I’m wondering if the race and the gender of the protagonist have something to do with the negative reviews. After all, some American adults may not appreciate watching a brash Asian girl who unabashedly likes boys and boy bands.
Today’s issue begins with a review of “Turning Red,” then follows with an article exploring the hubbub about the movie. Then after the break, we expand our view to consider the rise of anti-Asian hate crimes: increasing 73 percent in 2020 and then another 339 percent in 2021. If you have time to read just one article this week, make it “How The Atlanta Spa Shootings Tell A Story Of America,” by May Jeong. The last piece, “Asian Americans Have Always Lived With Fear,” is also very worth your time. I hope that this week’s selections resonate with you.
+ Have you seen the movie? If so, what did you think? Leave me a voicemail or hit reply to share your thoughts.

Turning Red Made Me Feel Understood As A Chinese-American Teen
Pixar’s Turning Red Is An Unlikely Culture War Battleground
How The Atlanta Spa Shootings Tell A Story Of America
Asian Americans Have Always Lived With Fear
+ Reader Annotations: Several of you shared your appreciation for last week’s issue focusing on education in the Bay Area. A former middle school principal in Oakland, VIP Jamie wrote, “Good collection of local ed stuff, Mark!” That’s kind of you, Jamie. VIP Clare was inspired by Prof. Scott Galloway’s piece on the conflict in Berkeley, writing that she’ll be adding “Life finds a way.” to her list of most useful phrases. “The rest of the articles,” Clare added, “made me sad and angry and also committed to doing what I do and always learning to do it better.” Thank you for your contributions, loyal readers. Please keep them coming.
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Mark Isero
Mark Isero @iserotope

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