Your week in review, in haiku.
Some got a Handel,
others cried their Osses off.
“Now scram!” says Georgia.
The fatherland bade
auf wiedersehen: United,
free, at peace...for now.
Millions of people
learned that airplanes don’t like it
when it’s really hot.
No! I did not tape!
But if I did, it would be
the best tape. Bigly.
Cowards die many
times before their curtain calls.
Et tu, Depp? Really?
Bonus gratitude haiku:
raceAhead dream team,
data queens Stacy and Grace.
Call Marvel! They rock.
Have a bigly heroic weekend.
An update on the tech diversity pledge signed by nearly 80 companies last year
A year ago this week, 33 tech companies including Airbnb, Box, GitHub, Intel, Lyft, Medium, and Pinterest signed a pledge with the Obama White House saying they would make sure their workforces better reflected the demographic makeup of the country. Part of that pledge included an annual promise to publish their diversity data. Only seven of the original posted any data at all. A year later, some 80 companies have signed the pledge, but only 16 make full or partial numbers available to the public. Click through for the whole scoop.
A now viral video of a black woman being pulled over by a police officer breaks hearts for a different reason
I won’t bury the lede: She survives the encounter. But two weeks ago, when motorist Ayanna Reid Cruver was pulled over by a police officer for no apparent reason, she ultimately dissolved into tears of abject terror. The officer explained that she was driving slowly—like people often do when they are tired or drunk—and he wanted to make sure that she was okay. “And as he said that,” she said in a video posted to Facebook, “I just broke down crying.” While the officer begged her not to cry, and even hugged her, the video, which has over 3 million views, struck a lot of people’s last nerve. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. of the Miami Herald was one of them. He says the video should be required viewing for every cop, chief, prosecutor, and judge. “It offers stark testimony of the damage done to policing when accountability is not required.”
Some more advice for Uber’s next CEO
Ray Zinn, an author and former CEO of Micrel, has some solid advice for whoever takes the keys to the C-Suite at Uber: Learn some respect. Sustainable businesses are built on a foundation of humane values, and a fundamental understanding that relationships are based on reputation. The alleged disregard for law and ethics are what happens when a leader values growth over humanity. “The new CEO may bring a new 'style,' but they had better also bring a briefcase filled with respect for humans, and a plan for making everyone in Uber believe that people are more important than blind ambition,” he says. Noted.
Bill Cosby is planning to offer advice to men on how to avoid being accused of sexual assault
Cosby, who has been accused of sexually assaulting some 58 women, is planning a series of free town halls this summer aimed to help others, particularly athletes and married men, avoid being accused of sexual assault. The announcement came just days after his trial on sexual assault charges ended in a hung jury. He is still facing numerous civil suits from a variety of women accusing him of sexual assault. He does not appear to be a person who understands how to avoid being accused of sexual assault. Bold prediction: This will not end well.
Blavity’s co-founder Morgan DeBaun is building a digital empire
DeBaun’s idea for the site, a platform for black millennial expression, came from the lunchtime conversations she had with her black friends and fellow students while attending Washington University in St. Louis. As more and more people joined the conversation, she was inspired by the notion of “black gravity”—or people drawn toward a platform of lively debate about the world. (See? Sometimes when black kids sit at the same lunch table, they launch digital businesses.) DeBaun, one of Essence’s "Future 15" black millennial disrupters, gets down to business in this short piece. “I wanted to create a space that was a reflection of that energy, and it also enabled these creators to have a bigger platform and reach more people,” she says. Blavity’s focus has been on sub-cultures and local happenings, not mainstream celebrity or culture. And 40% of the site is user generated.
The Woke Leader
The privilege of being the good mentally ill person
Sam Dylan Finch, a self-described transgender, mentally ill feminist, has written a wrenching essay describing the strange journey of the well-behaved mentally ill person - the “lucid” and “articulate” ones, the ones who don’t need all the restraints. And if you’re a medical professional, the ones who often inspire you to give them kinder care while ignoring their more serious pleas for help. “When I was in the emergency room, I learned that if I was good, I got as many juice boxes as I wanted and Ativan—a benzodiazepine designed to help those with anxiety—every few hours. On the dot,” says Finch. Why? Because he was compliant, likable, and relatable. But his requests for more in-depth care were not taken seriously for the same reasons. It’s a phenomenon that hurts everyone. “This is what happens when you’re a people-pleaser who believes your value rests in what everyone else thinks, and that belief collides with the stigma that says mentally ill people are inherently less valuable.” Finch shares some powerful thoughts on privilege and power in medical care for the mentally ill. Note: There is some discussion of suicide and suicidal ideation.
It's time to start teaching that sex and gender are myths
The education system perpetuates the myth with a flawed attachment to the idea of the gender binary. Quartz’s Jeremy Colangelo explains why the preferred narrative in basic high school sex education—women are XX and men are XY and that’s that—is both wrong and a missed opportunity. “Sex and gender are much more complex and nuanced than people have long believed,” he explains. It’s not a light switch, that goes on or off, it’s more like a dimmer switch, that works on a spectrum. Yet the world prefers the binary explanation, largely because we’ve never been exposed to the abundant research on the matter. The often fraught lives of LGBTQ people could be vastly improved if we were. “Schools can bring about a true cultural shift if they begin teaching that fact to our youngest generations,” he says.
Grieving while Christian and Chinese
We end this week where we started, with Jeff Chu, the searching seminarian. In this essay, he describes the odd disconnect that occurs when a devout Baptist family attempts to grieve the passing of a dear elder, while unable to draw on their full array traditional mourning practices. Po Po, Chu’s grandmother had died. And while her family took comfort knowing she was with Jesus, they didn’t really know what else to do. “When the missionaries came to us with their Good News, they had also declared that what we’d had before was bad—including our traditional Chinese rituals of mourning,” says Chu. What follows is an extraordinary tribute to the life of a woman who bridged generations while surviving Christianization in World War II era Hong Kong. It’s a legacy her heartbroken grandson is still unpacking. This world is not your home, missionaries are known to say. Instead, prepare for the next one. “When they asked us to redecorate, however, what they offered wasn’t inherently Christian; it was white and American and Southern.”
Why, man, he [Caesar] doth bestride the narrow world / Like a Colossus, and we petty men / Walk under his huge legs, and peep about / To find ourselves dishonorable graves. / Men at some time are masters of their fates; / The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, /But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
—Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II