Wandering Eye: White privilege in Baltimore's music scene, slave labor on Thai fishing boats, and more

Where does your cat food come from? If it's seafood, it could be caught by men enslaved on deep-sea fishing boats from Thailand. The New York Times' Ian Urbina reports on the horrifying conditions of laborers on deep-sea fishing boats, many of whom are undocumented Cambodian or Myanma immigrants who are sold into labor by human traffickers. The workers must labor up to 18 or 20 hours a day in dangerous conditions, Urbina reports. Workers who repair nets too slowly or incorrectly sort the fish are beaten or shackled by the captain. And they might be out at sea for years, as "mothership" boats come to and from the deep-sea boats to pick up the fish and provide supplies. The Thai government is unable (and unwilling) to track and prevent these labor abuses, leaving it to human rights organizations to try and rescue enslaved men via an underground railroad-type system. All of this to catch cheap fish that are used to feed livestock and farmed fish and to make pet food. (Anna Walsh)


Jana Hunter of Lower Dens writes in Pitchfork about Baltimore's racial segregation and how, as a white artist, she is both complicit in it and in some ways dependent on it. "Increasingly I saw my life here as parasitic," she writes. "I find the rent to be cheap here because I am white in an oppressed black city. The feelings of lawlessness and freedom exist for me because I am white in an oppressed black city." The segregation is most baffling in the city's music scene, which exists seemingly on two completely separate, equally vibrant tracks—one white, one black. She quotes Baltimore's club rapper Abdu Ali, who says, "You would think that people be running into each other all the time and connecting and vibing with each other all the time but they don't." Meanwhile, the standout white artists get deals, tours, even (eventually) some money. The African-American artists mostly don't. So they move (and maybe come back). Or they stagnate. Or something else happens to them. Lower Dens put Hunter's full interview with Ali up here. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


Murders continue to happen in Baltimore at an alarming rate, but most people on social media were broken up yesterday about a Minnesota dentist who went to Zimbabwe and killed a lion. But not just any lion—it was Cecil the Lion, a resident at Hwange National Park that was known for being especially friendly to humans. The dentist, Walter Palmer, went on a hunting trip with two guides, and they reportely lured the lion from the safe sanctuary of the park so Palmer could kill Cecil with a bow and arrow. Palmer says he thought he had all the permits to do what he was doing; the two guides are scheduled to appear in court. People got plenty pissed, mostly at Palmer. Yelp users slammed Palmer's practice on Yelp. Celebrities got upset, including Jimmy Kimmel, who choked up on the air. Cecil's death is certainly sad, but the way it became a cause célèbre while so many deaths of our fellow humans went unnoticed is upsetting in its own right. (Brandon Weigel)

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