IF THEY ARE SO SCARED, HOW COME WE'RE THE DEAD ONES?: I remember reading this piece when I first joined The Root team. At the time folks were still reeling about the acquittal of police who killed Sean Bell. Kai Wright was immediately able to broaden the scope.
The Sean Bell case wasn't just about one family's loss; it was–-and remains-–a trend of extinction. Kai explored the fear-and-paranoia excuse that's been used to explain the quick-draw killings of countless black men by NYPD, and called it what it is–-a "threadbare lie." This article is a definite must-read.
CHANGING BEAUTY: This piece is one of mine. Truth be told, I had several reservations going into the essay about the wave of transgender reality TV contestants. Inspiration for the piece came from a TV commercial for a new season of ANTM, salaciously—and perhaps exploitively—boasting about the show's first transgender contestant.
I thought, "this is the hook?" While delving into the research for my article, I learned a lot about newly redefined concepts of gender, identity and civil rights. Carrie Davis, the transgender community organizer and director of adult services at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City, told me about the many double standards that exist for members of the GLBT community. I have to agree, considering how everyone from Tyra Banks, the viewing public and fellow contestants saw Isis' identity—and even genitalia—as fair game for debate. In writing the essay I was wary of misrepresenting Isis. My aim was not to exploit, but to examine the fine line that every minority walks when becoming a public figure.
Saaret Yoseph is a writer and editorial assistant at The Root.