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Every Voice Is A Vote

Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a restful weekend.

I’m recovering from a minor bug, so no long essay today. (I’ll be back with something special tomorrow, I promise.)

But as I was putting together the links below, I was struck, as I often am, by what can happen when individual voices are amplified, either through technology, protest, art, science or policy. Every voice is a vote if they can just be heard. What are you going to vote for today? – EM



On Point

An Uber problem goes public, a must-read cautionary taleOn Sunday, Susan Fowler published a horrific blog post about the year she spent working at Uber as a site reliability engineer. Her tale of rampant sexism and retaliatory leadership lit up social media almost immediately. Fowler reports, in extraordinary detail, being propositioned by her manager not long after joining the company, then her thwarted attempts to report his behavior to HR. (She also describes a “game-of-thrones political war raging within the ranks of upper management” that led to significant project delays and unethical maneuvering.) Later that day, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick responded to the firestorm by saying that her story “is abhorrent & against everything we believe in.” An investigation has been launched into Fowler’s claims, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, now the go-to guy for this sort of thing.Fortune

Milo Yiannopoulos loses prominent speaking gig and book deal for saying things he’s always said
It’s a complicated comeuppance for the provocative Breitbart News editor and commentator, who has built a brand on his controversial statements and deeply mean-spirited racist, misogynist and transphobic online attacks. First, the American Conservative Union withdrew an already inexplicable offer for Yiannopoulos to speak at its annual Conservative Political Action Conference this upcoming weekend. Then, Simon & Schuster announced that it was canceling the publication of Yiannopoulos’ upcoming book, Dangerous. The issue were videos in which the commentator appears to be condoning statutory rape and sexual encounters between boys and men. Oh? Said commentator Larry Wilmore. This is where we draw the line?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar explains why ‘La La Land’ can be both beautiful and disappointing
Jabbar is an exceptional writer, a cultural polyglot who can tackle almost any subject with insight and grace. It’s part of what makes his review of the film La La Land so useful. The film has become a polarizing subject of late, and he examines the entire narrative, a well-worn trope of misplaced ambition. But he also manages to break down the common complaint that marginalized groups typically have had against Hollywood: That when we are given roles at all, we are typically portrayed negatively for the specific purpose of allowing a white protagonist to rise above in comparison. Then he shows where La La Land does exactly that. “Whether it’s intentional or unintentional, that sends a bigoted message rippling through our society.” Spoilers ahead, if that matters to you.
Hollywood Reporter

As reports of immigration raids spread, farm workers and communities fear what’s coming
A boom in low-cost legal advice, a troubling dip in tourist travel, worried farmers reassuring customers that everything is working smoothly –  the uncertainty around the government’s new immigration policies are having many unintended consequences. But it’s the immigrants themselves who are hit the hardest, at least for now. Even documented, law-abiding migrants are getting swept up in raids. “I don’t know if it’s true but I can tell you we’re afraid. People don’t want to go out to stores or restaurants,” Javier Carranza told The Guardian. “The (government) doesn’t know this work, doesn’t know that we’re out here every season, in the cold, the heat, the rain. You don’t see gringos out here,” he said while picking strawberries.
The Guardian

Teen suicides dropped after same-sex marriage became legal
New research published in JAMA Pediatrics shows that teen suicide attempts dropped in states where same-sex marriage was legally affirmed before the Supreme Court decision. The researchers analyzed data from some 700,000 public school students; about 230,000 students self-identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual. In the 32 states that enacted same-sex marriage laws during the study, suicide attempts dropped 7% among all students and 14% among gay kids after the laws were passed. There was no change in suicide attempts in states without those laws. “The new work makes an important contribution to identifying how laws limiting gay rights may affect psychological and physical health,” says one public health researcher. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in U.S. teens. Some 29% of LGTB teens have reported attempting suicide, compared to 6% of their straight peers.

The Woke Leader

Sesame Street is developing a social learning program for refugee kids
The Sesame Workshop is teaming up with the International Rescue Committee to deliver what they are calling “transformative early learning and social-emotional support” programming to displaced kids around the world. The multi-media content, appearing in both digital and print formats and will feature the Muppets, the organization said in a release. Half of the 65 million displaced people around the world are kids, and 12 million are younger than 8. “These children suffer the daily effects of violence and neglect, frequently leading to toxic stress, which can have lifelong damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health.” The material will also offer coping strategies for parents and caregivers.
Education Week

The trauma of genocide is alive in our genes
It’s called epigenetic inheritance, and there is real scientific evidence that systemic trauma causes genetic differences in descendants of the victims. Studies from holocaust survivors, only one of many, is a centerpiece of the research. “The gene changes in the children could only be attributed to Holocaust exposure in the parents,” says one researcher. Another explains that epigenetics helps explain the many health disparities found among Native American people, which include endocrine and immune system disorders. “The persistence of stress associated with discrimination and historical trauma converges to add immeasurably to these challenges,” says another.

A liberal student becomes an unlikely (and irritating) celebrity at a conservative college
He’s an ultraliberal white guy at the ultraconservative University of Mississippi, and until now, he’s been a bit of an outlier. Allen Coon (he understands the irony of his name) is 21, and thanks to his long hair, had been sarcastically called “white Jesus” by his black friends. Last year, he became a lightning rod figure when he helped lead the student movement to remove the Confederate-themed state flag from the university’s main flag pole. But now that the country has exploded in a series of fresh protests, he’s looking anew at his life, his school, and his duty to a divided country. “This entire place is in many ways a shrine to white supremacy,” he says of the university while wearing a “Make American Native Again” hat.
New York Times


Now we’ve been discussing trannies, who are mentally ill and not necessarily retarded. But there are plenty of retards out there. Deeply narcissistic young people who have latched onto gender identity as a way to be special. I hate to break it to you– but if you identify as one of these, you as closer to a potato than a regular college kid. Made-up genders don’t make you special, they make you a retard.
—Milo Yiannopoulos