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7 Essays To Read: Blaxicans, Text Flirting, And "Doing It For The 'Gram"

This week, Walter Thompson-Hernandez interviewed a handful of South L.A. residents about the complexity of identifying a Blaxican. Read that and other essays from Refinery 29, The Cut, Rookie, and more.

Posted on October 30, 2015, at 3:42 p.m. ET

1. "Meet The Blaxicans Of Los Angeles" — BuzzFeed Ideas

Walter Thompson-Hernandez

Can you be both black and Mexican at the same time in South L.A.? For BuzzFeed Ideas, Walter Thompson-Hernandez interviewed a handful of Blaxicans from Los Angeles about the complexity of identifying as both black and Mexican. In his essay, he retraces the history of the term and describes the challenges of those who have embraced both cultures. Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.

2. "Dressing Myself for the First Time" — Refinery 29

David Cortes / Via

For a few years of her life, Michele Filgate wanted to be ugly. As a teen, she thought that girls who dressed up and tried to make themselves look pretty were "vapid, anti-intellectual, and narcissistic," she explains in an essay for Refinery 29. That's why she actively rejected trendy clothing, arming herself with ill-fitting sweaters and old jeans and wanting her appearance to match how she felt on the inside. It wasn't until recently that Filgate has started to confront these self-esteem issues. Read her essay at Refinery 29.

3. "Stop Flirting by Committee" — The Cut

Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller/IMAGNO/Austrian Archives / Getty Images / Via

We're all guilty of flirting by committee — sharing screenshots of conversations with potential suitors and consulting on how best to respond to a text with a horde of friends. For The Cut, Alana Massey makes the case for an end to this habit, and she explains why we do it in the first place. "When we rely on them to conduct our personal communication, we’re trying to absolve ourselves of responsibility for things not working out — which can be comforting in the face of romantic disappointment ... It means withholding our emotions and sabotaging opportunities to be forthright and vulnerable in the ways that actually endear us to people." Read it at The Cut.

4. "How Sexism in the Church Almost Ruined My Life" — Jezebel

Illustration by Jim Cooke / Via

Jennifer C. Martin and her husband have always had an egalitarian marriage, a bond in which the partners treat each other as equals. But after her husband was fired from his job as a teacher at a Christian school, Martin realized that many Christians are raised with a complementarian view of marriage. "It’s a relatively positive spin on a patriarchal relationship—God loves you and your husband equally, women!," she explains in a Jezebel piece. "It’s just that one of you is going to stay home with the babies and let your spouse be in charge whether you like it or not." In her essay, she explains how sexism in church nearly ruined her life. Read it at Jezebel.

5. "I Went to an HBCU Because of A Different World" — BuzzFeed Ideas

NBC / Via

A Different World holds a special place in Mark S. Luckie's heart. The show, which featured fictional HBCU Hillman College, is the very reason he decided to attend Bethune-Cookman. For BuzzFeed Ideas, Luckie reminisces on his college-bound years and describes the lasting significance of the sit-com. "The show introduced Americans to versions of blackness beyond the walls of the Huxtables’ brownstone," he writes. Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.

6. "Has ‘Diversity’ Lost Its Meaning?" — The New York Times Magazine

Illustration by Javier Jaén / Via

With all this talk of diversity in the past year, the word has come to lose its meaning. "It has become both euphemism and cliché, a convenient shorthand that gestures at inclusivity and representation without actually taking them seriously," Anna Holmes writes in a piece for The New York Times Magazine. She argues that though various industries have made efforts to focus on diversity, women and minorities still make up a small number and those in the workforce. Read her essay on "diversity" at The New York Times Magazine.

7. "On 'Doing It for the ’Gram'" — Rookie

Illustration by Mithsuca Berry / Via

Recently, young people on Instagram have been getting a lot of flak for taking selfies and putting their best moments on display. But Hazel Cills argues that the staging of a photo doesn't make the moment captured any less significant or real. "If we’re going to talk about how sharing photos and experiences online is coded with happiness, that only the gold gets posted, then we need to talk about how keeping memories in general is coded with happiness," she writes. Read her essay in defense of "doing it for the 'gram" at Rookie.

Want to read more?

Neil Strauss shares how he learned that to stop cheating, he needed to stop being so cynical. Michael Seidlinger writes about drowning in the anxiety created by Twitter and Facebook and, ultimately, quitting social media. Ramona Emerson shares what she learned about herself after moving back into her parents' house at 29. Ben Henry writes about his hair and his blackness. Kirsten King breaks down what's it's actually like to live as an anxious person, with illustrations by Haejin Park. Daysha Edewi performs a spoken-word poem about what she wishes someone would have told her about having sex. Susie Armitage writes about overcoming her fear through acrobatics. And finally, Ella Sackville Adjei recalls an awful one-night stand she had with a racist.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.