Your week in review in haiku:
Journos on LinkedIn:
“Multi-platform skills. Also
hand to hand combat.”
Persons of interest!
The pravda will set you free!
Or so Twitter says.
Rise to thank the brave
Mar-A-Lagoans for their
To have poise like a
man from Montenegro; the
game face of a Pope.
We remember when
you left: We cried. Then we thrived.
A grateful nation.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone! I am grateful for all of you. Back in your inbox on Tuesday, May 30th.
Black women founders need funding
Black women are the most educated group in the nation, and are the highest percentage of any group enrolled in college. We’re also starting businesses at a record pace. So where’s the VC love? It’s a low down dirty missed opportunity, says Bari A. Williams. This must-read, must-share manifesto starts with two comparable messaging start-ups. One was funded from its earliest days to the tune of $1.5 million. The second is available in some 200 countries and is poised to become an indispensable addition to the dating market. It has yet to garner major venture support. Which one was founded by a black woman? “The different outcomes for these two startups highlights the hurdles that black women founders often face,” says Williams. “Investors aren’t taking risks on startups run by the nation’s most credentialed, accomplished, and ambitious group.”
Documents reveal alleged racial bias in Princeton admissions process
Here’s a federal investigation you may not have heard much about. It involves Princeton University, and documents which reveal how admissions officers talk about certain candidates behind the scenes. Asian-American students tended to blend together in the eyes of some, and were dismissively referred to as having “very familiar profiles” or were “typical premeds.” One Latina applicant was rejected because she had “[n]o cultural flavor in app.” Another officer promoted a candidate because there are “[v]ery few African Americans with verbal scores like this.” The comments were discovered as a part an investigation after two Asian-American students who had been rejected by the school complained of discrimination. Click through for more, and how the officers defended themselves. I’ll say only this: It’s tricky.
Body-slamming Greg Gianforte used to be just a boring enterprise tech guy!
Well, you just never know. That’s what tech journalist Sarah Lacy said when she realized that the man who just won a congressional seat in the Montana special election after assaulting a journalist was the same guy she’d interviewed many times in the past. “Wait, seriously, the RightNow Technologies guy? Can’t be that guy. That guy was smart. He’d built a huge technology company. He seemed like a nice, empathetic leader.” He was also sort of dull, especially by trash-talking Silicon Valley standards. But come to find out, some political journalists knew the other side of his character. She quotes the Helena Record: “In the past, he has encouraged his supporters to boycott certain newspapers, singled out a reporter in a room to point out that he was outnumbered, and even made a joke out of the notion of choking a news writer.” Lacy gives several other juicy examples of high performing execs with hidden dark sides, who were also given a pass because of their wealth. “But we also need to stop this trend of assuming because someone built a multi-billion dollar company, they are qualified - or have the temperament and character - to run for political office,” she says.
Get to know two of the black people behind "Dear White People"
Where I was a bit meh on the 2014 film, I loved the recent Netflix adaptation of “Dear White People,” which is available in its entirety now. I think the adaptation works so well because it gave us the time to understand the nuanced humanity driving the characters as they navigate race on their fictional Ivy League campus. All the things the series addressed from mixed-race relationships to police brutality were timely, but the show also never shied away from the poignancy of that tender phase of life. So, it was a true delight to see director Justin Simien and lead actor Logan Browning sit together, college radio style, to discuss the title of the show, why reverse racism doesn’t exist and why white people can’t say “nigger” and they should just get over it already. The level of thinking they bring to the issues is clearly a big part of why the show works so well.
Letter to the editor: White flight is a government invention
In response to a thoughtful opinion piece in The New York Times exploring whether “white flight” to certain neighborhoods had an economic or racial basis, author Richard Rothstein adds on thusly: White flight was actually incentivized by the government. He points to a program called Better Homes in America, which specifically encouraged white families to buy homes to avoid “racial strife.” Franklin Roosevelt was on the committee.“Then the New Deal put dollars into the campaign: The Federal Housing Administration subsidized builders to create working-class subdivisions with explicit prohibitions of sales to African-Americans and with deeds prohibiting resale to them,” he says. Levittown is the most famous, but the practice was widespread. He says his book, “The Color of Law,” shows that without federal interference, there wouldn’t have been all-white neighborhoods to flee to. I’m considering sending a copy over to the good folks at HUD. Maybe with a nice card?
A decades-long lead poisoning suit in New Orleans reveals bigger truths about environmental racism
This is wrenching must read. It begins in 1994, in the Lafitte housing projects in the Treme area of New Orleans, during an epic wave of violence fueled by drugs, crime, corruption, and police brutality. At one time, the New Orleans Housing Authority (NOHA) had been considered an outstanding manager of integrated affordable housing, even during Jim Crow. But no more. The story is told through the eyes of a desperate mother with lead poisoned kids and the good-hearted young lawyer named Gary Gambel who decided to help her. “But he soon found that just about all the families he spoke to had kids who tested positive for lead poisoning, and the city hadn’t abated any units across its developments," explains Vann R. Newkirk II. Some facts to keep in mind as you read: No amount of lead in the body is safe. Lead (and other toxins) can be found in low-income communities across the country. There is research that shows elevated levels of lead aerosols are strongly associated with increased crime.
The Woke Leader
On gumbo, history and the restaurant as a crucible for progress
Of the many things nearly lost to history are the extraordinary contributions black chefs and restauranteurs have played in the broader culture, particularly during times of political change and segregation. This piece looks at Leah Chase, the famous chef behind New Orleans’s Dooky Chase, an irresistible draw for Creole food and spirit. She made sure that the color line disappeared at her place; traveling artists like Sarah Vaughn were given top service alongside Tennessee Williams. She courted local politicians and civil rights leaders with food and pointed conversation; she even fed Thurgood Marshall. And she addresses the problems some folks had with being a black chef in a complex country. “I don’t think they realized their worth because they never put emphasis on anything they had,” Chase said of the many cooks working in the Creole tradition. “They never thought it was good enough.”
Saving a lost language and reconnecting with culture
Long before Europeans arrived in North America, the Ye Iswa lived along the banks of the Catawba River, along what would now be the border between North and South Carolina. Their name means "people of the river." The tribe is now known as Catawba, but their language, from which their original name is derived, is nearly lost. The last fluent speaker died in 1964. DeLesslin "Roo" George-Warren, a young member of the tribe has been given a grant to launch the Catawba Language Project, and hopes to use modern technology to bring the language back. "I'm creating a learning app for the language and bringing Catawba words into material culture for the tribe," he told NBC. But he also hopes the project will address a more imminent emergency, the epidemic of suicide in Native communities. "Study after study has found that in Native communities, having a sense of culture is one of the best preventions of suicide."
Get smarter, then make an impact
If you aren’t familiar with +Acumen, then do check them out. Their aim is to provide anyone with a desire to make a better world with the skills they need to become more creative and effective leaders. They offer free and low-cost courses on human-centered design, collaboration, storytelling, social impact analysis, adaptive leadership…you get the drift. But their great strength is connecting people with each other and with opportunities to put their skills into action. Their latest challenge will place people into online teams to workshop a breakthrough for Green Energy Biofuels (GEB), a Nigeria-based social enterprise replacing dirty kerosene cooking with a clean-energy alternative. Teams are randomly selected; you’ll have two hours on Slack to prototype a “solution” based on their business needs. Apply by June 10.