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raceAhead: May 18, 2016

May 18, 2016, 12:49 PM UTC

With its deeply divisive rhetoric, violent rallies, and increasingly fractious coalitions of supporters, this primary season has been been unusually stressful. It’s hard out here for a voter.

But it’s even harder for kids. A recent survey of 2,000 teachers conducted by Teaching Tolerance, the education arm of the Southern Poverty Law Center, found that elementary and middle school teachers were having trouble talking about the election with their students, citing the harsh racist and anti-immigrant language coming from the Republican candidates. The report is called The Trump Effect, and the stories shared by the classroom teachers are chilling. “[The campaign is] producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom.”

It doesn’t take much of a cognitive leap to imagine that many first-time and young adult voters are feeling similarly anxious these days, as adult versions of schoolyard fights play out on Facebook and Twitter – or perhaps at the company happy hour.

But there are some interesting voting dynamics to consider. First, there are more young voters than ever before. According to an April 2016 Pew Research Center analysis, for the first time ever, the cohort of millennial voters (age 18-35) are nearly equal to the baby boomer block – 69.2 million and 69.7 million people, respectively. Nearly one in three eligible voters will likely be a person of color. And of the record 27.3 million Hispanic eligible voters this year – again, from Pew – nearly half of them will be millennial, a bigger share than any other racial group.

“Latinos are more and more the face of our country’s future,” says Maria Teresa Kumar, the co-founder of Voto Latino a social justice and leadership development organization that focuses in part, on voter registration and engagement. “And with the average Latino being only 27 years old, there is a need for voices that truly represent our community.” She breaks it down another way. “The average U.S. Senator is a white 72-year-old male and this means that even their grandchildren, who are likely of college age, haven’t grown up in this new, diverse America. This disparity only exacerbates the disconnect between the decision-makers and those experiencing America’s biggest challenges every day.”


On Point

The revolution will be awesome.
Hamilton Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda lands on Fast Company’s 2016 list of the 100 Most Creative People in business. “He is the most powerful person working on Broadway today and a galvanizing figure in music, publishing, and film, as well."
Fast Company

Brave, adventurous and independent.
After a long, strange trip, The Undefeated, a new ESPN website dedicated to the intersection of sports, race, culture, and politics, went live yesterday. When veteran Washington Post managing editor Kevin Merida left the company after 22 years to become as editor-in-chief, some of his colleagues were aghast. In this emotional interview with NPR's David Folkenflik, he explains why he made the move.

The case for black characters.
The much-anticipated and critically acclaimed Marvel Comics' Black Panther No. 1 has become the best-selling comic of 2016. Written by The Atlantic national correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates, the comic offers a fresh take on the first mainstream black superhero.
Hollywood Reporter

Transaction declined.
Alibaba Group Holdings CEO Jack Ma has waved off an invitation to appear at the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition’s convention tomorrow, after Alibaba's membership was suspended. The Coalition had been under pressure from other members to remove the company from its membership ranks, citing the prevalence of counterfeit products sold on the Alibaba platform.

Not sorry?
Beyonce's activewear clothing line, Ivy Park, is responding to allegations that workers in their Sri Lanka factory are underpaid and toil in untenable conditions. The British tabloid The Sun accused the manufacturer of using sweatshop labor and cheating its workers.
CBS News

Your network at work.
Sent by a reader: The University of Missouri invites applicants for a two-year Post Doctoral Fellowship in Black Studies and Political Science to begin in the fall of 2016. Candidates must have Ph.D. in hand at the start of the appointment and a research interest in African American politics, race, and politics or politics of the African diaspora. Review of applications begins June 1.
University of Missouri

The Woke Leader

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Brainpickings has a beautiful, four-part series that interprets an historic, public conversation between two enormously influential people, the anthropologist Margaret Mead and poet/author James Baldwin. The conversation, A Rap on Race, took nearly seven-and-a-half hours over the course of one weekend.

Hard half-truths about race on campus.
When two prominent social scientists and professors Jonathan Haidt and Lee Jussim recently made the case that expanding existing college diversity programs will make racial tensions worse, Evelyn Carter, a young social psychologist who specializes in racial bias confrontation, took them on, postdoc fellow style—point by point, with data and citations. “To prematurely conclude that renewed diversity efforts will 'fail' or 'make campus life uncomfortable for everyone' is to fall prey to half truths,” she wrote.

A traitor to my race.
In a candid and poignant exchange, Nicole Chung and Noah Cho discuss mixed race relationships, Western standards of beauty, and the perils of talking about race online. There's some strong language. It's a little like eavesdropping on two dear friends, and it's well worth your time.
The Toast

Board of diversity.
There are many tidbits to be found in the newly released Heidrick and Struggles annual Board Monitor Report, but one item of immediate note: Over the past seven years, an average of 4.7% of new directors have been Hispanic and there has been no discernible upward trend. The leadership consultant firm concludes that as the Hispanic share of the U.S. population has grown during those years, the gap of underrepresentation in the boardroom has widened.
Heidrick and Struggles


Democracy should not mean the leveling of everyone to the lowest common denominator. It should mean the possibility of everyone being able to raise himself to a certain level of excellence.
—James Baldwin