Here's your week in review, in haiku.
Cyber." Terrible band name
and worse idea
has beliefs but no job, Flint’s
still water runs black
Shout out to Junior,
a high-quality person
of interest. Good boy
Roger and Venus
make grass; Murray backhands a
sexist like a champ
Beyonce, queen of
florals and Twitter: To Sir
(and Rumi), with love!
Wishing you a scandal-free weekend
A former Airbnb host is sanctioned for canceling a booking based on ethnicity
It was a dark and stormy night when host Tami Barker abruptly canceled the booking near Big Bear, Calif. Airbnb customer Dyne Suh, who had planned a week-long ski vacation, was left stranded in the snow. "I wouldn't rent it to u if u were the last person on earth," Barker wrote to Suh. "One word says it all. Asian." Then the capper: “That's why we have Trump." After Suh posted a tearful video of the incident (while standing in the aforementioned snow) housing authorities got involved. Barker has been banned for life on Airbnb, was forced to pay $5,000 in damages, and must take a college-level course on Asian American studies.
Unconscious bias costs you, corporate America
A new study from the Center for Talent Innovation quantifies the bias perceived by employees in white collar jobs, and finds that it saps the life out of culture and innovation. Among employees who experienced bias, the study showed that 34% reported withholding ideas or solutions in the last six months and 48% said they looked for a new job while in their current roles. But there is hope. “Employees were 64% less likely to perceive bias at companies with diverse leaders, 87% less likely when they had inclusive leaders, and 90% less likely when they had sponsors,” explains Fortune’s Grace Donnelly. Sylvia Hewett, CTI’s CEO, says that the political climate is amplifying the problem. "We know that our culture, our corridors of power are newly filled with humiliation and hurt.” Big business, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
2017 is a banner year for diversity in Emmy nominations
Deadline has the full scoop, but here’s the tale of the tape: This year’s slate of Emmy nods reflect a record 30 “diversity” picks, up from last year’s 21. They far outpace awards for cinema. “The abundance of diverse roles in TV over film can largely be attributed to the surge in the number of productions being produced across broadcast, cable, streaming and the web for a wide spectrum of demos,” explains Anthony D’Alessandro. Scanning the list is a delight, though it’s important to note that Latinx, Asian, AAPI and Native American talent is still wildly underrepresented. Maybe 2018 will be your year, Constance Wu.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo died yesterday, at age 62
The word on the feeds is this: If you’re going to read one thing about Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, writer, critic and activist who died yesterday of liver cancer, make it this piece from the New York Review of Books. Liu had been sentenced to 11 years in confinement for “inciting subversion” of China’s government; this obituary shows that his subversive roots ran deep. Liu was 11 when most of the schools were shuttered in China, a result of Mao Zedong’s entreaty to children to throw off the bonds of oppression via education. But, as Perry Link suggests, the books that Liu continued to read on the sly gave him the gift of wisdom and independent thought. That gift blossomed in the soul of an already independent spirit. “If there is a gene for bluntness, Liu likely had it,” says Link. It permeated everything he said and did. “I can sum up what’s wrong with Chinese writers in one sentence,” Liu Xiaobo wrote in 1986. “They can’t write creatively themselves—they simply don’t have the ability—because their very lives don’t belong to them.”
The Woke Leader
Can venture capital be saved?
Mitch and Freada Kapor, the founders of Kapor Capital and longtime advocates for diversity and decency in tech, are clearly having a moment. It is richly deserved. Since the venture capital industry has come under fire for its systemic tolerance of sexual misconduct and bias, the couple has been conspicuously vocal. “The events of 2017 in the tech ecosystem depict a sector gone deeply awry,” they told TechCrunch. “This is a culture that has been allowed to fester and to rot by enablers who refused to intervene when they witnessed inexcusable behavior or went to great lengths to avoid seeing it.” In this important follow-up essay, they help de-mystify the power that investors hold over entrepreneurs – including threatening to replace the CEOs of portfolio companies with their friends or to block them from future sources of capital if they don’t do their unsavory bidding. The duo offers a set of prescriptions, several of which come in the form of advice to entrepreneurs: “Don’t give up too much of your company.”
On black women, hair, white supremacy and radical acts of love
Please do not miss this installment of The Color Complex, a narrative series produced by The Root that explores how people around the world navigate the opportunities and barriers presented by their skin tones. In “Untangling Black Women’s Hair,” Dr. Yaba Blay, an ethnographer who researches global black identities, offers a surprisingly emotional perspective on the radical act that loving one’s own hair can be. “I didn’t know the natural texture of my own hair until I was seventeen,” she begins. “But what I did remember was sitting between my mother’s knees and feeling like my hair was a problem.” White supremacy plays a powerful role in shaping the narrative about black women’s existence, our hair included. One hairdresser interviewed said her professional clients feel that walking into corporate America with a head of braids is a radical act, one that makes them feel like they’re part of a movement. Heads up: You may need tissues, especially if you stick around for the poignant comments.
The first white member of a black sorority was a total badass
Joan Mulholland was the great-granddaughter of slave owners, attended sit-ins for black civil rights, was hunted by the KKK, and served a two-month sentence after being arrested with the Freedom Riders. That’s just for starters. She was also disowned by her family and evaluated for mental illness for her activism. She dropped out of Duke University after being pressured to quit all her fussing by the dean of women, and headed instead to historically black Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss. There, she met Medger Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr and others, and decided to become the first white woman to pledge a black sorority. She also participated in the now famous sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter in downtown Jackson, on May 28, 1963. Delta Sigma Theta sisters, this one’s for you.
In my view, Reform and Opening Up began with the abandonment of the "using class struggle as guiding principle" government policy of the Mao era and, in its place, a commitment to economic development and social harmony. The process of abandoning the "philosophy of struggle" was also a process of gradual weakening of the enemy mentality and elimination of the psychology of hatred, and a process of squeezing out the "wolf's milk" that had seeped into human nature. It was this process that provided a relaxed climate, at home and abroad, for Reform and Opening Up, gentle and humane grounds for restoring mutual affection among people and peaceful coexistence among those with different interests and values...