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7 Essays To Read This Week: Black Joy, God, And When You "Literally Can't Even"

This week, Alex Andreou wrote about caring for his mother with Alzheimer's for BuzzFeed Idea's Carers Issue. Read that and others from The New Inquiry, Hazlitt, The New Yorker, and more.

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1. "Caring for My Mother With Alzheimer’s Gave Me the Best Birthday I Ever Had" — BuzzFeed Ideas

Alex Andreou

Alex Andreou's mother has Alzheimer's disease, which has robbed her of many memories of her son. On his 44th birthday, Andreou chose to celebrate with his mother by helping her remember his childhood and their time together. He wrote about the experience in a moving essay for BuzzFeed Ideas' Carers Issue. Read the piece at BuzzFeed Ideas.

2. "Summer Heat" — The New Inquiry

Mariame Kaba dreads summer. She explains why in a piece for The New Inquiry. Simply put, "It’s the season of hyper-surveillance and even more aggressive policing of young people of color in my neighborhood." In her essay, she touches on the recent McKinney pool party chaos, the Baltimore riots, and past police aggressions. Read it at The New Inquiry.

3. "What Do Muslim Women Need?" — Hazlitt

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Growing up, Sarah Hagi rejected feminism because it didn't seem like something that included girls like her — black and Muslim. "Within mainstream feminism, the only time we seem to get attention is through the most extreme and rare stories ... honour killings, forced marriages, etc.," she writes in an essay for Hazlitt. "These things do happen, of course, but their pervasiveness in the discourse shows me we’ve been dehumanized; pawns in a political debate more than anything else." Read her piece at Hazlitt.


4. "How an Atheist Answered Her Daughter’s Question About God" — BuzzFeed Ideas

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

When you're an atheist, talking about God with your kid can be tricky. Prompted by her 9-year-old daughter's questions about God, Kate Cohen wrote about this conundrum, her own views on religion, and parenting. "The few books that offer advice to atheist parents counsel us not to be definitive. They tell us to let children decide for themselves what they do or do not believe," she writes. Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.

5. "I Got Maced at Summer Jam 2015" — The New Yorker

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When Nicolas Niarchos arrived at Summer Jam 2015, he'd expected to watch Kendrick Lamar perform. What he didn't anticipate was getting maced by the police, who'd arrived in riot gear. He wrote about his firsthand experience with police brutality for The New Yorker. Read it here.

6. "When You ‘Literally Can’t Even’ Understand Your Teenager" — The New York Times Magazine

Illustration by Javier Jaén. Shakespeare: Stocksnapper/iStock, via Getty Images. / Via

Amanda Hess wrote about the phenomenon that is "I can't even" slang, and what teens really mean. "Teenagers may not be able to drive or vote or stay out past curfew or use the bathroom during school hours without permission, but they can talk," Hess writes. "Their speech is the site of rebellion, and their slang provides shelter from adult scrutiny." Read her piece at The New York Times Magazine.

7. "Even Black Joy Is a Crime" — Dame Magazine

Racism runs deep. That much is evident in what happened to one black family, arrested for cheering at a high school graduation. Stacey Patton wrote a scathing condemnation of this recent event, touching on America's educational inequality and how little things have changed. Read it at Dame Magazine.

Want to read more? Here are some other essays BuzzFeed published this week.

Sarah Jones wrote about how TLC's fundamentalism-as-kitsch hurts women. Lucy McKeon recalled her brief career as a waitress dominatrix. Nell Zink explained why cultural significance is the best job ever. Mira Jacob documented and illustrated 37 difficult questions from her mixed-race son. Blanca Fernandez, a manicurist, explains why she's suing the salon where she worked for six years. Chelsea Martin wrote a funny essay about losing a tooth at work. Daniel Dalton wrote a hilarious guide to the 21st century for straight white men. And finally, for BuzzFeed UK's Carers Issue, professional carers and family members spoke honestly about the reality of what they do.

Susan Cheng is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Susan Cheng at

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