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MinnPost Picks: Racism in America, Octavia E. Butler’s literary legacy, and living the American scam

Our weekly roundup of recommended reading, listening or viewing by MinnPost’s staff and contributing journalists.

The July 4, 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly illustrating slaves escaping to a Union ship on the Combahee River, as buildings burn in the distance.
The July 4, 1863 issue of Harper's Weekly illustrating slaves escaping to a Union ship on the Combahee River, as buildings burn in the distance.
Library of Congress

The Who We Are Project, Netflix

The question is will we roll back as we have in times past or will we finally, finally push forward? The tipping point? Racism in America. And to move forward we must first confront our past. But to confront the past we must know the past. Criminal defense attorney turned historian and instructor, Jeffrey Robinson offers up a powerful, yet digestible dose of our nation’s troubled, dubious past in this lecture-style documentary. — Harry Colbert, Jr., managing editor

Octavia E. Butler: The Next 75 Years, Public Books

Scholar Gerry Canavan wrote, for what would have been Octavia E. Butler’s 75th birthday, about what her stories will continue to do. He writes about some of the characters and works that impacted his life, why they continue to feel contemporary, and ways that her work is being adapted for new formats. — Jonathan Stegall, user experience engineer

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“It’s Time to Stop Living the American Scam,” New York Times

Essayist Tim Kreider, who wrote about the curse of “busyness” a decade ago, looks at what faces millennials, a generation that has “never known capitalism as a functioning economic system. My generation, X, was the first postwar cohort to be downwardly mobile, but millennials were the first to know it going in. Our country’s oligarchs forgot to maintain the crucial Horatio Alger fiction that anyone can get ahead with hard work — or maybe they just dropped it, figuring we no longer had any choice.” — Corey Anderson, creative director