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In Honor of Juneteenth

Posted by Axis on June 21, 2021


1. A Safer Space?

What it is: Apple has updated their policy on what types of developer behavior will result in a ban from the company’s App Store. 

Why it’s supposed to make the App Store safer: Throughout the spring, tech publications were reporting that the App Store (which was already, supposedly, a tightly controlled ecosystem) hosts apps that scam hundreds of millions of dollars each year from customers. These new guidelines, along with a new set of consumer privacy protections, are aimed at restoring Apple’s good name among the tech-savvy. The App Store will now keep a closer eye on apps that fit their definition of being manipulative, misleading, or exploitative. There’s also new regulations banning apps that distribute pornography or encourage prostitution. For a quick second, it looked like Apple might actually be targeting hookup apps, such as Grindr and Scruff, but Apple has clarified that those apps are staying in the store. Explicit material and predatory behavior are still present in “safe” apps like Instagram and Twitter, so until Apple is ready to target the other tech giants, the actual outcome of updates like this is hazy. 

2. For Whom the Bell Trolls 

What it is: Chrissy Teigen, a model and television personality, has posted another apology for cyberbullying other celebrities in the past. 

Why it’s a part of the big conversation this week: Teigen posted a series of tweets in May in which she said, “I have tried so hard to give you guys joy and be beloved,” a poignant admission of what the performance of modern celebrity comes down to. She also wrote in a blog that in the past she “was a troll, full stop,” and asked her followers to understand that “we are all more than our worst moments.” This latter statement, while simple enough on its face, seems to be up for a wide and contentious discussion. Teigen’s cookware line, her Bloomingdales partnership, and a Netflix show became collateral damage in the wake of revelations that in 2011, Teigen directed vile comments toward others on her public Twitter and via private message, including one instance where she encouraged a young woman to seriously harm herself. So this week, Teigen apologized again. But the more mea culpas she offers, the more many of her critics seem to double down. It makes one wonder if there’s anything Teigen could really do to recapture her status as “beloved” and for her apology to be taken as sincere. And whether Teigen “deserves” to keep her platform or not, that question opens up a lot of other ones. As comedian Kevin Hart wondered in comments that spread far and wide this week, “When did we get to a point where life was supposed to be perfect? Where people were supposed to operate perfectly all the time?”

3. Queer Or Not Queer

What it is: Billie Eilish took heat this week for her music video for her new single, “Lost Cause.” Critics accused Eilish of “queerbaiting,” hinting at an interest in same-sex relationships as a cynical ploy to attract interest from the LGBTQ+ community. 

Why it’s confusing for fans: The “Lost Cause” video, directed by Billie herself, showed Eilish as many fans had not seen her before; happily frolicking around at a slumber party with lots of female friends. They’re doing slumber party things like TikTok dances and group selfies. They’re also playing Twister and snuggling, not wearing the most modest attire. The video contrasts water guns, popcorn and innocence with what could be interpreted as flirtation and same-sex attraction (or, at least, curiosity). #youlikegirls started trending, as Eilish’s younger fans wondered what they were supposed to make of her more explicitly sexual makeover. During Pride month, when issues around same-sex attraction are already at the forefront of so many young minds, these conversations are as important as ever. Check out our Parent’s Guide to LGBTQ+ and Your Teen for help framing these conversations. 

Slang of the Week: 

TikTok accountant (or just “accountant”: TikTok slang for an “adult content creator,” typically refers to a person who gets paid through an OnlyFans account or participates in real-life sex work. 

Ex: “I know it’s hard to make money these days, but I didn’t expect her to start working as a TikTok accountant.” 

In Honor of Juneteenth

In 1619, one year prior to the arrival of the Mayflower on Cape Cod, the first Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. Kidnapped by Portuguese sailors, these 20 or so individuals were bought by the English settlers and forced into servitude. In a little over 200 years, some 3,953,760 Blacks would be enslaved in the United States in what activist Jim Wallis calls “America’s original sin.”

What made slavery in the U.S. different from other historical forms of subjugation was that from the very beginning it was entrenched in Blackness. To be Black meant you were born inferior, born into social, personal, and spiritual chains. As the Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens once put it, “Our new government is founded upon… the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the White man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition.” 

Sadly, it would take the Civil War and the death of 620,000 Americans at one another’s hands to end chattel bondage. But even then, vestiges of slavery still existed in parts of the United States. Two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s "Emancipation Proclamation," on June 19, Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to officially free the remaining 250,000 slaves. Since then, Juneteenth has been celebrated in African American communities as the oldest official commemoration of the ending of slavery. And this week, it was given almost unanimous bipartisan support to become the first new federal holiday since MLK day. 

As parents, we have an incredible opportunity to use this day to educate our children on our nation’s past, and start conversations about slavery and the sin of racism. When YPulse asked 13- to 37-year-olds, “What do you think is the biggest problem for your generation?” the number one answer for Gen Z was “racism and discrimination.” We’d love to suggest our Conversation Kit on Racism and our Parent’s Guide to Racism in the U.S. for help framing these conversations. In addition, here are some questions you might ask your teens:

  • What do you think it took to convince people that slavery was wrong?
  • What do you think it means to be racist?
  • Do you think the Bible has anything to say about racism? If so, what? 

Keep the Faith!

- The Axis Team


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