Happy Thursday! I’m happy to report that our reading community continues to grow. For the second week in a row, last week’s issue was the most popular in Highlighter history. Thank you to new subscribers, old subscribers, and everyone in between!
One reason we’re becoming stronger is that we’re having more dialogue about the articles. If you want to share your thoughts, email me, leave a voice memo, follow The Highlighter Forum, or join our WhatsApp group chat. I’d love to hear from you!
You’re going to enjoy this week’s issue, which includes articles on college surveillance, the #MeToo movement, our racist health care system, and the perils of sunscreen and cauliflower puffs. If you don’t have two hours to read everything, I recommend you peruse “When Being the Valedictorian Isn’t Enough,” which will evoke alternating emotions of anger and despair. (You’re free to have other feelings, too.) Have a great week!
We know that hard work and good grades don’t always guarantee upward mobility and the American Dream. But surely valedictorians do well in life, right? Sort of—if you went to a suburban high school. But if you graduated top of your class at a Boston public school, most likely things didn’t pan out. This Boston Globe special report follows 113 valedictorians and tells their stories through articles, photos, videos, data, and next steps. (~60 min)
+ Start by reading “An Epidemic of Untapped Potential.” You’ll meet Michael Blackwood, who got into Boston College on a full scholarship, felt lost on campus, had to drop out, and now makes $30,000 a year, at age 30.
+ Alert: You’ll want to click on everything, but The Boston Globe has a tight paywall. Choose wisely—or subscribe (99 cents for 4 weeks).
Maybe those Boston valedictorians would have succeeded had they attended Georgia State University. GSU predicts how likely its students will graduate by tracking their academic progress, financial status, and 800 other data points. The results are positive: The graduation rate has risen to 55%, up 7% since 2012, and GSU now awards degrees to more Black students than any other university in the nation. But the program’s surveillance raises privacy concerns and changes students’ course schedules if the computer deems them too challenging. (18 min)
Loyal reader Monica loves her husband and all five of her wonderful human children, but puppy Zuzu is now Monica’s favorite family member. Want your pet to achieve large amounts of fame? hltr.co/pets
In America, far too many Black women die giving birth. Far too many Black babies die before their first birthday. When Tressie McMillan Cottom, a college professor and bestselling author of Thick: And Other Essays, complained of pains and bleeding late in her pregnancy, doctors didn’t believe she might be in labor. Instead, they scolded her, calling her too fat and too loud. The result was tragic. (8 min)
Critics of last Saturday’s Women’s March argue that mainstream feminism does not adequately embrace issues of race and class and does not include the experiences of trans-women. In this essay, Madeline Lane-McKinley attacks the capitalist roots of Lean In feminism and wonders whether the #MeToo movement will break “the silent ceiling,” growing t
Slather on sunscreen, loyal readers, or risk skin cancer. But be sure to get enough sunlight, or else you’ll be deficient in Vitamin D, increasing your chances for cancer, diabetes, and stroke. So many health decisions! Lower your anxiety and read this article, which reminds us that the sun is good for us, and that dying from skin cancer is very rare. (15 min)
You heard it here first: Vegetable-themed snacks are not good for you. No matter how charming Vegan Rob is, the main ingredient of his Probiotic Cauliflower Puffs is not cauliflower. Also, please don’t think you’re making a healthy choice when you reach for Fiery Hot Peatos instead of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. If you want a chip, grab a chip. (Whatever you do, don’t wash it down with juice.) (10 min)
Thank you for reading today’s issue of The Highlighter! Hit reply or use the thumbs below to tell me what you thought. Also, let’s welcome this week’s 18 new subscribers: Shana, Cait, Jan, Elian, Robert, Xuan-Vu, Nicole, Jesse, and 10 others. If you like The Highlighter, please encourage a friend to subscribe. The best way is to keep talking about the newsletter nonstop until they succumb. Or if you want to do even more, become a VIP member! On the other hand, if you don’t have time for The Highlighter, please unsubscribe. See you next Thursday at 9:10 am!