Thank you to the 1,249 teenagers who participated in the seventh week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest, and congratulations to Amogh Dimri, our winner, as well as to our many runners-up and honorable mentions.
Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from magnetic liquid and mental health days to white privilege and tiny love stories — that caught the eyes of our participants this week. You can find the work of all our winners since 2017 in this column.
And please remember to always check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to participate, any week from now until Aug. 23.
Amogh Dimri from New York, N.Y., chose a Style piece headlined “Should Board Gamers Play the Roles of Racists, Slavers and Nazis?” and wrote:
Being the child of an Indian immigrant family raised in the multicultural New York, I do occasionally feel disconnected from my heritage. But Kevin Draper’s article showed me how dangerous that breed of complacency can be, especially for minorities.
While mainstream audiences see board games about the brutalization of entire peoples as no more than a history lesson that entertains, I recall that even my grandparents are survivors from an era of horrific British colonialism. I am no stranger to racism: I overhear slurs towards other minority students in the hallways and bathrooms of my high school. I often wonder if such language is directed towards me when I am not within earshot. Products like racist board games bring this sentiment into the light and create pride around defending it. Whether fans realize it or not, by playing the game, they legitimize the white supremacist fantasy of dominating savage peoples — peoples with rich cultures whose history is still a traumatic memory.
The sad reality is, minorities cannot afford to forget racism. We have to continually remind everyone of who we are so they do not imagine us as outsiders. As aliens. As savages. If society never meets anyone like us, our identities grow distant, and it becomes easier for us to be dehumanized. It should not be our responsibility to fight implicit bias but instances of latent racism, like the board games, tell me that it still is.
Melody Chen on “My Frantic Life as a Cab-Dodging, Tip-Chasing Food App Deliveryman”