Newsletter #153: While We Sleep


My whole life, I’ve been fascinated with sleep. How is it possible that we’re able to change consciousness within minutes (or if you’re advanced, within seconds) — and then to remain in that state for several hours? And what exactly is happening while we slumber? This week’s lead article explores the secrets of sleep and urges us to prioritize sleep for overall health.

Also check out great articles on how to deradicalize white supremacists, how the ACLU is changing its approach, and why school desegregation alone will not build a more equitable society. Read, enjoy, and leave a voice message with your thoughts! (Big thanks to loyal readers Lopez and Jamie!)

While We Sleep

For all you loungers out there, rest assured: Sleeping is popular again! That’s true even for ambitious, Type-A folks. The average American sleeps seven hours a night, two hours less than a century ago, and sleep deprivation correlates with diabetes, dementia, and heart disease. This article uncovers what happens while we sleep and encourages us not to curb our natural circadian rhythms. Bonus: Loyal reader Erin recommends Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker. I’m going to check it out! Not in this article: The power of micro naps, why I dream immediately after falling asleep, and why I have sleep paralysis. (19 min)

How to Reform a White Supremacist

I’m no longer as interested in stories of white men who become white supremacists (#81#117#119). Now I’m more interested in what to do about this repugnant problem. Reporter Wez Enzinna argues that denouncing white supremacists will not persuade them to change. Because most white supremacists have a history of isolation and abuse, they long to belong to a greater cause. Therefore, a successful deradicalization movement must offer empathy and a narrative of redemption — treating hate primarily as an addiction. (34 min)

The Twilight of Free Speech Liberalism

This excellent profile of the American Civil Liberties Union explains how the organization has shifted since the 2016 Election, modifying its stance on the First Amendment and investing more in grassroots advocacy. (Example: The ACLU will no longer defend the right of white supremacists to protest with guns.) Also please check out the ACLU’s new podcast, At Liberty, especially this outstanding episode featuring Patrisse Cullors (#143), cofounder of Black Lives Matter. (27 min)

The Limits of School Desegregation: The Goal Must Be to Redistribute Wealth

Loyal readers have challenged me on my unwavering belief in school desegregation (and my crush on Nikole Hannah-Jones) as the answer to inequitable educational outcomes. Isn’t there a better way? they ask. Besides, how can I advocate for integration when I’ve worked mostly in segregated schools? If you’re struggling with where you stand, this article offers a broader, nuanced case, from a socialist lens. (22 min)

With dedication and resolve, you’ve completed this week’s issue of The Highlighter! Tell me what you thought by using the thumbs below. Also, please welcome new subscribers Lisa and B! If you like the newsletter, please encourage a friend to subscribe. Or suggest an article! On the other hand, if you don’t look forward to receiving The Highlighter, please unsubscribe. I’ll see you back here next Thursday at 9:10 am. Have a great week!