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Here’s our pick of news, writing, and research this week that investigates political questions at the intersections of gender, race, and region.

1. Laverne Cox reflects on Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover
“A year ago when my Time magazine cover came out I saw posts from many trans folks saying that I am “drop dead gorgeous” and that that doesn’t represent most trans people. … what I think they meant is that in certain lighting, at certain angles I am able to embody certain cisnormative beauty standards. Now, there are many trans folks because of genetics and/or lack of material access who will never be able to embody these standards. More importantly many trans folks don’t want to embody them and we shouldn’t have to to be seen as ourselves and respected as ourselves. It is important to note that these standards are also informed by race, class and ability among other intersections.”

2. “Addy Walker, American Girl
An essay on black dolls, childhood innocence, and American culture. “Dolls have never simply been toys, especially not throughout America’s racial history,” Brit Bennett writes in The Paris Review.

3. “Life and Death in Brownback’s Kansas
Kai Wright reports on the impact of states not expanding Medicaid under the ACA, tracing the human consequences through the stories of several families in Kansas. Currently 22 states have not expanded Medicaid.

4. “In Search Of The Red Cross’ $500 Million In Haiti Relief
An investigation by NPR and ProPublica about the uses and impact of the nearly $500 million donated to the Red Cross for aid to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. They report finding “a string of poorly managed projects, questionable spending and dubious claims of success, according to a review of hundreds of pages of the charity’s internal documents and emails, as well as interviews with a dozen current and former officials.”

5. “Race, Space, and Cumulative Disadvantage: A Case Study of the Subprime Lending Collapse
Jacob S. Rugh, Len Albright, and Douglas S. Massey analyze “the cumulative cost of predatory lending to black borrowers in terms of reduced disposable income and lost wealth” by investigating 3,027 matched records for loans made by Wells Fargo in Baltimore during 2000–2008. Their finding: “Black borrowers paid an estimated additional 5 to 11 percent in monthly payments and those that completed foreclosure in the sample lost an excess of $2 million in home equity.”

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