- "Can Whole Foods Change the Way Poor People Eat?" by Tracie McMillan — Slate/FERN
Whole Foods made a splash when it decided to open a store in Detroit. Many wondered if it would work for the company, especially in light of CEO Walter Robb's insistence that it would strive to be open to all Detroiters. But can Whole Foods, with its more costly produce and goods, achieve that goal in a city with a poverty rate like Detroit's? In a 7,000-word deep-dive by Tracie McMillan, the author checks in to see how that's turning out.
The result? It's a mixed-bag. McMillan does a fascinating price comparison for basic groceries between Whole Foods and a grocery store in Detroit's North End and finds that, if a Detroiter wants to do 100 percent of their shopping at the Midtown location, it would cost them, by definition, 29 percent more. But, even if Whole Foods isn't attracting a low-income clientele, McMillan shows that, contrary to some who believe poor people have no interest in eating healthy, that's not the case whatsoever. It's a balanced, fair, and enjoyable narrative to soak up.
- "Inside the Gay Wing of L.A. Men's Central Jail, It's Not Shanks and Muggings But Hand-Sewn Gowns and Tears" by Ani Ucar — LA Weekly
Weddings, drag shows, pole dancing — in L.A. Men's Central Jail exists a sanctuary unlike anything in the nation: A gay wing that was set up after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 1985 to shield gay inmates from bias-motivated violence. Over the last three decades, it's evolved into a community of sorts and it's incredible. As Slate summarizes, "Prison clothes are re-sewn into gowns, skirts, chic underwear, and hot pants. Correctional officers take a laissez-faire attitude toward harmless rule-bending." A snip:
The gay wing at Men’s Central Jail is an exceptionally rare, if not unique, subculture, the only environment of its kind in a major U.S. city. Nothing like it exists in America’s 21 largest urban jails, all contacted by the Weekly, where officials described in far more modest terms their own steps to deal with and house gay inmates. San Francisco has a transgender housing area, but gay inmates live among the general population. In New York’s Rikers Island, whose similar gay wing was shuttered in 2005, a jail spokesman laughed out loud, saying that whoever decides which men get placed in L.A. County’s gay jail wing “must have really good gay-dar.”
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