Obama: Data Drives Diversity

The final My Brother’s Keeper National Summit at the Obama White House took place yesterday, a lively and at times, emotional meeting of business executives, community organizers, government staffers, elected officials, and the young men of color who have benefited from their collective hard work.

Front and center was Blair Taylor, the charismatic CEO of MBKA Alliance, the independent, nonprofit arm of President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. It’s his job to make sure that potential employers, like Starbucks, Sprint and others are finding the talent they need in communities that are easily overlooked. “We help recruiters, who don’t usually know people like the young men here today, to ‘shift their prisms’ from the deficit model,” seeing only what is missing from resumes, “to the asset model,” he told raceAhead at a recent MBKA job fair.

It was also a poignant goodbye. The Summit was one of the last meetings to celebrate the work being done on behalf of young men of color by the country’s first black president. “Obama wasn’t scheduled to appear at the summit until four and a half hours after it started, but people stood packed in the aisles for its entire six-hour run time,” says Fortune’s Stacy Jones.

But it also sounds like Obama isn’t leaving the work when he leaves the office. His remarks were one part rallying cry for inclusion and two parts pep talk for ruthless, rigorous measurement.

From Jones’s story:

When he did take the stage, Obama pledged to continue working with MBK after he leaves office in January, calling it his life’s work. But he was careful to note that being passionate about something isn’t an excuse to ignore objective measures of what does and doesn’t work.

“We have to be rigorous in measuring what works. We can’t hang onto programs just because they’ve been around a long time,” he said yesterday. “We can’t be protective of programs that haven’t produced results for young people, even if they’ve produced jobs for some folks running them.”

For Jones, the takeaway was clear. “Use data to analyze corporate diversity and inclusion efforts. Ditch what doesn’t work. Reallocate that money to new, proven programs. And maintain momentum by continuing to collect and share data.”

The love thy neighbor part was implied. Click through for her story.

On Point

While tech CEOs meet with PEOTUS, their employees have a meeting of their ownCall it a meeting of the minds. Hundreds of tech employees from a variety of companies large and small have signed their name to a public pledge that affirms their commitment to do no harm with their platforms. “We refuse to build a database of people based on their constitutionally-protected religious beliefs. We refuse to facilitate mass deportations of people the government believes to be undesirable.” And they link their refusal to a long line of tech-enabled atrocities including the Holocaust, the internment of Japanese Americans, and specific genocides. As open letters go, this one hits home.Never Again Pledge

Breaking: Venture Capital is overwhelmingly white and male
A new report released today by the National Venture Capital Association and Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, shows that women, African Americans, and Latinos are underrepresented in the venture industry, specifically in leadership positions. Women make up 45% of the venture capital workforce, mostly in administrative roles, with 11% as partners or equivalent. African Americans make up 3% and Latinos 4% of the workforce; none of the 217 firms with more than 2,500 employees had an African-American partner. Here's some hope: Firms with diversity and inclusion strategies had a significantly greater share of women and minorities in leadership.
USA Today

Dropbox posts a photo celebrating their diversity; people have trouble seeing the diversity
Yesterday was a tough day for Dropbox. After publishing a diversity report showing modest but across the board gains in representation by women, African Americans, and Latinos, the company tweeted a link to the report with a photo of their CEO, Drew Houston, surrounded by people who for the most part, did not visibly represent diversity. “Diversity at Dropbox,” said the tweet. “Uh, we don’t think so,” said Twitter. Click through for the flogging.
SF Gate

A diverse array of Golden Globes nods puts Oscar on the hot seat
As this piece from the Los Angeles Times makes clear, the transformation of the Golden Globes from a boozy confab of insiders signifying nothing to a serious analysis of the cinematic arts is complete. The evidence: The astonishing array of diverse talent and stories that were included on the awards slate, all of which are worthy of attention. Six black actors were given nods, as well as stories driven by women and independent voices. The other overarching message? The Academy that earned the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag better be sitting up straight.
Los Angeles Times

Facebook announces plans to fund and license original programming, so get right on this
The details are still forthcoming, but Facebook’s decision to invest in original programming, including scripted and unscripted shows, is an exciting idea that sounds a bit like a cross between YouTube and Netflix. Or something else? The new venture is being run by Ricky Van Veen the co-founder of CollegeHumor, who joined Facebook as head of global creative strategy in June. He’s also married to “Girls” star Allison Williams, but don’t let that influence you in any way. Pitch, pitch, pitch.

More companies earned a perfect score for LGBT inclusion practices than ever before
The St. Louis Fed, Nike, Genentech, Morgan Stanley, Facebook, and McDonald’s are among the 517 businesses receiving a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a benchmarking tool for corporate policies and practices that are meaningful for LGBTQ employees. This year has a record-breaking number of perfect scores, marking a single-year increase of more than 25 percent. Click through for the entire list.
Human Rights Campaign

The Woke Leader

How “fake news” drove Dylann Roof to murder nine people
The Undefeated’s Martenzie Johnson takes an unflinching look at the race-based propaganda that is infiltrating our social feeds and is specifically designed to drive fear, rage, and thirst for retribution among vulnerable white populations. Though Roof is just one of many people taken in by expertly designed misinformation, the tragic outcome offers stark evidence of the dangers associated with bad facts presented in authoritative ways. Johnson attempts to fact-check the bad information that drove Roof. One bit of misinformation—that most rapists are white, not black—is particularly painful. It invariably leads to the type of emotional cul-de-sac that makes debunking bad information so hard to do.
The Undefeated

How the U.S. legal system influenced the Nazi regime
When Nazi lawyers met to craft the Nuremberg Laws, the anti-Jewish legislation that would become the centerpiece of newly minted Chancellor Hitler’s planned race regime, they turned to a reliable source: U.S. race law. Detailed transcripts from those meetings reveal lengthy discussions of the merits of Jim Crow and whether they should adopt U.S. techniques used to determine who was a “negro” in their approach to categorizing Jews. “Why would the Nazis have felt the need to take lessons in racism from anybody?” writes James Q. Whitman, a professor at Yale Law School. “[I]n the early 20th century, the US, with its vigorous and creative legal culture, led the world in racist lawmaking.” A chilling read.

To understand white nationalism is to understand America
Chip Berlet, a writer and researcher, has spent the better part of forty years studying right-wing political movements; he’s currently an analyst and advises the Center for Right-Wing Studies at Berkeley. He says that demagogic appeals have always been at the center of American politics, sprung from a series of panics that date back to the 1800s and have grown into a systemic and toxic suspicion of the other. “There are armed people who think that liberals and gay people and Jews and Mexicans and Muslims are an existential threat to the constitution of the United States. They hear this every day on AM radio, every day on the internet, every day from some of their pastors.”


This country does belong to white people, culturally, politically, socially, everything. We define what America is.
—Richard Spencer

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