4 min read

Kerim’s Triptych for Sunday, July 16th, 2023

Kerim’s Triptych for Sunday, July 16th, 2023
Students at the Tulalip Indian Boarding School circa 1912

Welcome to Kerim's Triptych, a free newsletter that delivers 3 items to your email inbox, 3 times a month. If you didn't intend to subscribe, or you don't want to receive these anymore, there is an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. And, if you find yourself sharing a story you found here, please mention the newsletter as well. Thanks!

Item 1: ‘Kids Were Marched Everywhere. This Was a Concentration Camp.’

Students at the Tulalip Indian Boarding School circa 1912
“You know, most people in the U.S. have no idea about the damage that was done,” says Gobin, drawing in a deep breath and leaning back into her chair. Her grandfather attended the Tulalip boarding school and her father was shipped to the Chemawa Indian School in Oregon. Barely any family in Indian country was left untouched by this legacy of trauma. “It’s about time. Our history has been hidden — the attempted genocide of our people. We have been resilient and survived through it, but they’ve taken away so much. There’s still a lot of healing that needs to happen.”

From an in-depth account of the horrors of the US residential school system in Rolling Stone. The parallels with what is happening now to Uyghurs in Xinjiang, where thousands are in "re-education camps" is impossible to miss. Pro-Xi Jinping leftists (aka "tankies) like to point to the history of US treatment of Native Americans as a way of distracting from what is happening in Xinjiang. But the kind of intergenerational trauma reflected in this article shows just how badly such "whataboutism" falls short. True solidarity would mean addressing the reality of such shared histories of oppression. What this article makes clear is that the trauma from such policies will last for generations, which makes it all the more important to stop such things from happening again.

Item 2: Slave cases are still cited as good law across the U.S.

Slave cases are still cited as good law across the U.S.
“I’ve done some analysis just with a sample of cases and concluded that 18% of all published American cases are within two steps of a slave case, so they either cite the slave case or cite a case that cites a slave case," Simard tells NPR. "The influence is really, really extensive."

NPR story about the Citing Slavery Project, “a comprehensive online database (and map) of slave cases and the modern cases that cite them as precedent.” One of the things they’ve done is to advocate for style guides to make it explicit when slave law is being cited in a legal article or ruling.

Item 3: The women of Taipei's red light district

I don’t subscribe to that many newsletters myself (So I am all the more appreciative of each one of you who is subscribed to Triptych!) but one of my essential reads is A Broad and Ample Road by Albert Wu and Michelle Kuo. They regularly deliver wonderful in-depth reporting on Taiwan. In their latest issue they interview Sinee Teo, “a Singaporean missionary who has worked in Taipei’s red light district for fourteen years” and who was involved in producing a new book called Serving Tea: Stories from Wanhua’s Red Light District. An English version of the book will be published later this year.

This book particularly interests me because we live in this very neighborhood, and see these women every day when we walk our dog to the park. I’d like to know more about their stories. At the same time, it is important to note (as Albert and Michelle do), that these women are not exactly representative of all sex workers in Taiwan. From what I’ve read, the majority are younger Chinese or South East Asian women are brought to Taiwan for short periods of time on tourist visas. You won’t see these women in Wanhua’s (my neighborhood) traditional tea houses, and they generally won’t show up at community centers like the one Sinee Teo works at. Nonetheless, I think these women’s stories are still very important - especially for what they can tell us about gender and poverty in Taiwan. I look forward to reading the book.


Triptych will always remain free, but my hosting costs are not. If even a handful of subscribers choose to upgrade to paid accounts (just $1 per issue, or significantly less with a yearly plan) it will help cover my costs and also greatly encourage me to keep going with this. Thank you!