Skip to Content

raceAhead: Tech Entrepreneur’s Call Against Hate at DNC

“Where’s this losing country he keeps talking about?”

In a four-minute speech on Monday night’s Democratic National Convention, North Carolina entrepreneur Jesse Lipson made the business case for inclusion and dropped it at the feet of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

“It’s clear you don’t understand something simple about business,” he said, speaking directly to Trump. “Nothing scares away investment like hate.”

Lipson spoke during a little-covered segment of the DNC called “Ensuring Equality,” joining a growing chorus of entrepreneurs, investors and executives who have denounced North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2), the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which, among other things, legislates that people may only use restrooms that correspond with to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

An open letter signed by more than 180 chief executives, including Marc Benioff from Salesforce, Ursula Burns from Xerox and Safra Catz from Oracle, was equally direct: “The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”

Lipson is not a bold-faced tech name, yet he deserves to be, at least if you’re willing to believe that you don’t have to be a billion-dollar unicorn to be business success story. He taught himself to code. He started his company, ShareFile, a secure file sharing system, on a shoestring. His company was acquired by Citrix in 2011. And he’s created some 800 jobs.

“Disgusting laws like North Carolina’s attack on LGBT Americans are costing my state hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s cost us the NBA All-Star Game, and it’s costing us talented programmers who are ready to build the future.”

He described North Carolina as an innovation hub where net new jobs came from start-ups.

“Republicans may think they’re telling people which bathroom to go into, but they’re actually telling people which market to stay out of,” he said.


On Point

Bill O’Reilly: The slaves who built the White House were well fed“I wake up every moment in a house built by slaves,” said Michelle Obama in her stirring DNC speech. Among the surprising number of people who begged to differ was Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly who declared on his show that the slaves were well-fed and had decent lodgings. The response on Twitter was swift and sharp: No, Bill. Just, no.USA Today

Supporting black and Latina entrepreneurs
Through a unique accelerator, mentorship and seed funding program, Kathryn Finney helps black and Latina women grow their businesses. She started her the program in 2013, after she was told had no chance of raising money for her startup as a black woman. “These businesses generate an amazing $44 billion plus a year in revenue. Yet, they aren’t getting the critical financial backing they need.”

Congressman John Lewis’s memoir wins major award
There is, evidently, an “Oscars of comics.” Called the Eisners, they’re awarded to comic book makers in a variety of categories.  Lewis wrote a graphic memoir about his life in the civil rights movement, and his latest installment in the series, March: Book Two, was voted Best Reality-Based Work by the comic academy.  He is the only sitting politician to receive the honor.
Washington Post

Mothers of children lost to violence move the crowd at the DNC
In one of the most powerful moments of the convention so far, the “Mothers of the Movement” took the stage last night to remember children lost to violence.  “Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say black lives matter,” said Lucia McBath, whose 17-year-old son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed sitting in his car in 2012. “She isn’t afraid to sit at a table with grieving mothers and bear the full force of our anguish.” The mothers of Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin also spoke.

The hidden message behind Michelle Obama’s convention dress
When she delivered her stirring speech at the DNC, Mrs. Obama wore an elegantly understated blue dress, designed by Christian Siriano, a break-out star from the reality series Project Runway. Siriano has also distinguished himself by being unusually inclusive in his offerings, catering to women of every size and age. It was Siriano who came to the rescue when Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones couldn’t find a designer to dress her for the movie’s premiere.
New York Times

Canada debates anti-racism education
Canadian schools should embrace an anti-racism strategy, argues Charles Pascal, a professor and former deputy minister of education. He helped develop a comprehensive anti-racism strategy for the Canadian education system in the 1990s that was eventually scrapped.  Everyone from teachers to administrators would undergo intensive anti-racism training to address bias in the curriculum and in student assessments. At risk are the many indigenous and black students who are being disproportionately singled out for suspensions.

The Woke Leader

A divide between how rich and poor kids use the internet
A new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that while rich and poor teens spend equal time online, their activities vary widely. Kids with higher socio-economic statuses were more confident using tech, and more likely to use the internet for “educationally advantageous” reasons like gathering information or understanding current events, while poorer kids were more likely to chat or play games. Teens from more than 40 countries were surveyed.

Why American political speech is increasingly partisan
Thanks to focus groups and pollsters, we have become a nation of talking points, dog-whistles and scripted responses. Using a machine-learning algorithm that analyzed some 530,000 two-word phrases, Stanford researchers now have an 83% chance of identifying which Congressional Record remarks were uttered by which party. “We know that language is a powerful driver of tribal identity,” said one researcher, “and tribal identities are getting stronger.”

The racist history of Portland, Oregon, the whitest city in America
Portland is more widely known more for its progressive ideas and Nike than its strange, violent past. But from it’s very founding as a racist utopia – Oregon was the only state to explicitly bar black people after it was founded – Portland has attempted to maintain overtly racist policies in employment, housing, lending and education. The result is a disgraceful mix of racial tension and inequity that white people would rather not talk about.
The Atlantic


I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
—James Baldwin