Your week in review in haiku:
A Griffin shocks. A
First Daughter punts. No one left
but Wonder Woman?
Sleepy world blinks at phone, sighs,
longs for #bodyslams
Pittsburg not Paris!
Pas si vite, mon cher ami:
We’re not in accord.
Find someone who looks
at you like Rihanna looks
past Jeff van Gundy
Summer casts a spell
for all: Skipping by “marram,”
dressed in “marocain.”
Have a winning weekend!
Lyft releases its diversity numbers for the first time
And just in time to keep the promise it made when it signed the Obama administration’s Tech Inclusion Pledge last June. “Today, the diversity of our team isn’t where we want it to be,” the company says, calling their numbers a baseline. There’s work to be done: Some 42% of the company's employees are women—though only 18% of its tech and engineering teams identify as female. Lyft is 63% white overall, with a management team that is 70% white. This edges out Uber slightly, but for the most part, aligns with the rest of the tech world. The company also announced a largely detail-free approach to improving their numbers, working with the Paradigm, a strategy firm. “As we learn more about what inclusion means for the team at Lyft, we will continue to expand our investment in successful programs.”
Study: Airbnb hosts more likely to reject disabled guests
A new Rutgers University study based on more than 3,800 Airbnb lodging requests show that travelers with disabilities are more likely to be either rejected by hosts or failed to be pre-approved for travel, which is an important part of the Airbnb service. According to the study, hosts approved 75% of travelers who didn’t disclose a disability, but only 25% of people who had a spinal cord injury. Accessibility issues, not bias, may be to blame, but that’s part of the problem. “Here’s the flip side of our tech revolution: Platforms like Airbnb seem to be perpetuating or increasing opportunities for exclusion, both economic and social,” said Lisa Schur, a Rutgers professor and one of the study authors.
The Black Lives Matters movement is the 2017 winner of the Sydney Peace Prize
The prestigious prize, which is typically awarded to an individual, not a movement, “recognizes the vital contributions of leading global peacemakers, creates a platform so that their voices are heard, and supports their vital work for a fairer world.” It comes with a $50,000 prize. Past recipients include Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, and Muhammad Yunus. Click through for more on the foundation and the community that it supports, but start with this audio of a conversation between BLM’s Patrisse Cullors and Aboriginal activist Latoya Aroha Rule that explores their intersecting work. “We have to talk about our relationship to Black folks in Brazil, we have to talk about our relationships to Aboriginal and Maori folks, we have to talk about our relationships to Afro-Latino folks who are undocumented. And we are,” says Cullors. The Sydney Peace Prize is awarded by the Sydney Peace Foundation, a non-profit organization associated with the University of Sydney.
Southern schools are more segregated than ever
A new report from the UCLA Civil Right’s Project and Penn State University's Center for Education and Civil Rights shows that Southern schools are more segregated than ever, raising serious questions about the state of equal access promised to historically marginalized populations. Black and brown students are increasingly likely to attend schools that are intensely racially segregated, where 90% of the attendees are kids of color – a 56% rise since 1980. The report also finds that the number of Latinx students enrolled in public schools in the South has surpassed black enrollment for the first time ever. Southern Schools: More Than a Half-Century After the Civil Rights Revolution also offers an excellent analysis of school system changes in the last twenty years; focusing on the South, including the Old Confederacy states targeted by Brown v. Board of Education, has become a reliable bellwether for race-based progress. “We have followed the great successes and, in our judgment, the tragic reversals in the region as integrated schools, flourishing for decades under a court order, now turn back, watching their desegregation efforts dissolved,” it says.
The quietly desperate lives of hotel housekeepers
Now that travel season is in full swing, it’s worth thinking about the many low-wage workers who keep the hospitality industry humming. Working conditions are tough and often terribly unfair. “On the one side are the economics of a seasonal, consumer-driven business and the intricacies of overseeing large, diverse groups of people,” one industry expert explained to the Miami Herald. And sometimes things are beyond management control. The 2016 Zika epidemic, for example, badly impacted travel stays and put many daily workers on the sidelines. But even under the best of circumstances, the workers who clean the rooms and kitchens of fancy resorts live uncertain and economically fragile lives. “Erratic schedules, workload, hostile conditions and benefits — which can vary widely— contribute to the complexities of their employment.”
The Woke Leader
Trans women of color are the forgotten champions of the Stonewall movement
Pride Month is a good time to look back at the short history of the work. The modern LGBTQ movement is largely thought to have begun one summer night in 1969 when patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City fought back after a harassment raid by the police finally went too far. But while the protest that night (and subsequent Pride marches) were largely credited to white men, two trans women of color lead the way: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Click through for some photos and true accounts of how both women kept the work alive. They ultimately co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, a group that worked with homeless drag queens and transgender women of color. Sadly, both died young, Johnson under suspicious circumstances.
All spicy chilis are from Latin America, deal with it
This romp of an essay, part travel guide, part history lesson and all attitude, makes a pretty important point – cultural appropriation and deep globalization have been going on for awhile now. In this instance, Vincent Bevins drops this powerful fact: Asian chilis, the ones tourists love to damage their palettes with, all come from Latin American cultures. “All chilis in Asia were brought over here by white people after they stole them from not just the Aztecs, but also the Incas, and many other native American peoples.” Part of the fun of the piece is the way he annoys people who are so attached to believing myths about their local cuisines. Then he tackles a bigger idea. “In a few hundred years, we may look back at our own times, and think it was just as insane that we privileged deregulated financial capitalism and #branding over all other possible versions of globalization, remaking the world in the image of Coldplay and Uber rather than, say, universalizing democracy or labor rights.” But don’t worry, he goes right back to spicy talk. Why don’t white peoples eat spicy food? Well actually, some do! Click through to find out.
Understanding the new addiction
It’s one thing to read the statistical contours of the opioid epidemic, it’s yet another to read about the day to day lives of communities who are living in the hellish vortex it creates. This is the service of this remarkable piece from The New Yorker, which takes us deep into Berkeley County, West Virginia, where white folks with modest means are overdosing and dropping like flies in gas stations, big-box stores, restaurant bathrooms, and at their kid’s softball games. Brian Costello, who runs the county’s chronically overtaxed emergency medical services, says more people are risking overdosing in public so that someone will find them before they die. It’s also their new normal: West Virginia has an overdose death rate of 41.5 per hundred thousand people. A must read.
You know, when I started to experience the difference — or even have my race be highlighted — it was mostly when I would do business deals. And, you know, that never ends, by the way. It’s still a thing. And it’s the thing that makes me want to prove people wrong. It almost excites me; I know what they’re expecting and I can’t wait to show them that I’m here to exceed those expectations.