Commentary

Five Breaking News Haikus

May 12, 2017

Your week in review in haiku:

1.

With few exceptions,

glasnost is failing now. Such

a kick in the TASS.

2.

“Nothing’s wrong!” Angry

Marie Osmond wishes her

podium had wheels

3.

D.C. in the spring:

The Spice among the bushes,

masks the napalm smell.

4.

Occam’s shaving cream:

Good for your face. For your tweets?

Too close for comfort.

5.

You know things are bad

when sweet Harry Styles is the

hero that we need.

Have an effortlessly poetic weekend.

On Point

Want to avoid the next Pepsi ad debacle? Ask your chief diversity officer for help

Here’s one to bookmark and share: Creative agencies are increasingly relying on their diversity officers to help them vet and prevent unintentionally offensive ads from making it to the public. Diversity experts are able to identify subtle and often overlooked problems of dialog, dress, and framing that would be easy for dominant culture creatives to miss. "It would be hard to find a CDO who has not been involved with and a part of a creative review," said Tiffany Warren, chief diversity officer at Omnicom. "Everyone has a certain expertise, and my expertise is to develop and nurture culture. I’m not a creative per se, but I have an eye for cultural nuance." Food for thought: Most products in all industries could use a fresh side-eye now and then.

PR Week

A Boston-area charter school has been punishing black students for wearing braids

Black students who wear their hair in braids or in braids with extensions are facing detention and suspension at the Mystic Valley Charter in Malden, Mass, and some parents are crying foul. One parent of twins said, “They teach them at a very high academic level and I appreciate that…But, unfortunately, they don’t have any sensitivity to diversity at all.” The school issued a statement that’s worth a read. They claim that extensions, which tend to be expensive, send the wrong message. “Our policies, including those governing student appearance and attire, foster a culture that emphasizes education rather than style, fashion, or materialism,” the statement said. After refusing to remove their braids, the twins have been banned from after school activities, and their mother has contacted the NAACP and the state’s Anti-Defamation League for help. Stay tuned.

Boston Globe

Incidents of female genital cutting have tripled in the US

A new report from CNN identifies an alarming trend: Female genital mutilation, or female ritual cutting, has been steadily on the rise in the U.S. Since 1990, the estimated number of girls and women in the US who have undergone or are at risk of the practice has more than tripled, says CNN.  The practice involves altering or damaging a girl or woman’s genital organs with no medical benefit and for no verifiable religious purpose. It often happens in filthy places, is performed by people with no medical training, and is a painful and horrifying experience for those who are forced to endure it. Though federal law has prohibited the practice since 1996, the only prosecution ever to take place happened last month. The twin girls in question were only seven years old. Only 24 states have laws against it on the books, not enough say experts.

CNN

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Throw the book at people

Sessions has issued a new charging policy that reverses the instructions of former attorney general Eric Holder Jr. The two-page memo direct prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” and immediately rescinds his predecessor’s orders to avoid charging certain defendants with the type of drug charges that would trigger mandatory sentences. The ACLU issued a statement saying the move returned to a failed experiment, “the War on Drugs — that has devastated the lives and rights of millions of Americans, ripping apart families and communities and setting millions, particularly Black people and other people of color, on a vicious cycle of incarceration.” 

Washington Post

ACLU: Black citizens in Mississippi are under “a permanent state of siege”

The stories are horrific. Black residents are being assaulted in their homes, targeted in unconstitutional checkpoints and illegal searches, and routinely subject to excessive force. A lawsuit filed Monday by the ACLU of Mississippi is seeking a court order to stop the sheriff’s department from using these practices and asks for an immediate civilian review board. The problems have lasted for decades, say residents. “In effect the policing program has placed the Black community of Madison County under a permanent state of siege,” the lawsuit states.

Washington Post

The Woke Leader

Activists are diversifying Wikipedia

A 2011 report identified the problem: The vast majority of Wikipedia editors appear to be cisgender white men, with only 8.5% identifying as female. But we're not fully sure, since the company doesn’t identify race in its demographics section, though they do mention that editors mostly hail from Europe or North America. The disparities show up on the site, leading to a skewed picture of the world. One of many examples: the history of Montana is longer and more thoroughly cited than the history of Botswana. Activists are working to correct the ratios. In 2014, a group of artists and academics founded Art+Feminism, to increase the visibility of marginalized artists on the site. Since then, they've held more than 280 events and “edit-a-thons” to help anyone learn how to contribute to the diversification of the platform. Wikipedia receives some 273 million page views a day.

Good

Kurt Lewin, the founder of social psychology, was a refugee

Psychology Today asks the always poignant question: What if the U.S. had not let Kurt Lewin in? Lewin was the only member of his immediate family to escape death in Nazi concentration camps. He went on to, among other things, create an influential theory of psychology called “the interactionist perspective,” a more inclusive alternative to the “nature vs nurture” theory of personality development. The author then goes on to trace Lewin’s influence through a professional genealogy that describes his now wide-reaching impact on the field of human understanding. “One refugee and another and many others set in motion critical influences that made you who you are. The you that you now know would not exist without them,” he says.

Psychology Today

Flat Eric makes calls and signs executive orders

So, it’s been a tough week. For no reason I can think of, I can’t get this weird little video out of my head. Except for maybe one: This is what I used to secretly believe that presidents CEOs actually did all day. Headphones on.

YouTube

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