Yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a day that should have been marked with sober reflection, calls for peace from government leaders and well-meaning thinkpieces about Colin Kaepernick.
Instead, a history lesson unfolded on Twitter, after the FBI tweeted, “Today, on the anniversary of his assassination, the FBI honors the life, work, & commitment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to justice.” The tweet accompanied a photo of Dr. King with his famous quote “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Click through to read all the extraordinary comments, which included links to multiple sources that painted a true and stark portrait of the truly terrible harassment King experienced at the hands of the FBI.
Alternet tweeted a story with a good summation:
What the FBI did not mention in its tweet is that King, who was arrested 30 times in his life, was the primary target of COINTELPRO — the FBI’s counterintelligence program that spied on threatened and even assassinated revolutionary leaders in the Black liberation socialism anti-imperialist movements. The FBI relentlessly harassed and threatened King. It listened to his phone calls. It spied on his romantic affairs. It taunted him and repeatedly called his house.
After he gave his famous I have a dream speech in 1963, the FBI dubbed King “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” FBI department heads held a meeting to discuss “a complete analysis of the avenues of approach aimed at neutralizing King as an effective Negro leader.”
Those avenues of approach got pretty ugly.
The FBI’s tweet was a misstep; you simply cannot wave away a complex history in a few characters and expect people not to notice. There is no ready mechanism for reconciliation between the law enforcement and intelligence communities and the people who rightly look upon them with fear, anger, and suspicion, and it’s hard to imagine what form of institutional transformation or truth-telling would have to happen for the FBI to be able to express admiration for Dr. King in a believable way. Sometimes it’s fine to sit things out, at least until things get sorted.
But the real news from yesterday was not an empty sentiment sent into the SEO void, but the numbers of people who do know their history and used their voices to tweet truth to power. So often, people of my generation were counseled to lay low, look busy, and stay off any and all enemies lists. I admire the well-executed impulse to stand up because I know what they can cost. And, as imperfect as they are, I deeply appreciate the tech tools that let the voices of the many swell into a messy, meme-filled thunder clap. Those moments may not always change the man, but they certainly always change us.
|Is the Bill O’Reilly era over at Fox News?|
|He’s a billion dollar asset, a number-one-rated cable news titan, and a central weapon in the Fox News arsenal. But Bill O’Reilly has also been repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. A New York Times investigation found that five women have received compensation of $13 million in exchange for agreeing not to pursue litigation for their allegations; two of the settlements came after the network’s chairman Roger Ailes was dismissed last summer after a sexual harassment scandal of his own. Is O’Reilly becoming a liability? As of yesterday, more than a dozen marketers said they were pulling their ads from O’Reilly’s show, and the National Organization for Women called for the anchor to be fired.|
|New York Times|
|Not today, Marvel, not today|
|Over the past few years, Marvel (now owned by Disney) has been blowing up race and gender stereotypes in their universe in some really interesting ways—Spiderman is black and Latino, and Ms. Marvel is a young Muslim woman. But some fans may be pushing back, not happy with seeing the identities of their longtime heroes changed. David Gabriel, Marvel’s vice president of sales, told industry blog ICv2 that things started to change last fall. “We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against,” he said. (Though in a follow-up, he walked some of that back.) New writers to the fold, like poet Yona Harvey who created a spin-off of the Black Panther series, were sensitive to the possible backlash. “I did feel worried about the Marvel fans because I knew I didn’t bring all of the Marvel archive with me to the process,” she told Quartz. But she felt she could bring the “kind of details that a non-black woman writer might miss.”|
|Two studies show that black doctors earn less than white ones|
|Medscape, a publication for the medical industry, conducts an annual Physician Compensation Report, which tracks the wealth health of doctors within a wide range of medical practices and specialties. The 2017 report is the first to asked respondents to identify themselves by race. Here’s the gap: White/Caucasian physicians earn the most ($303,000), followed by those who are Asian ($283,000), Hispanic ($271,000), and black/African American ($262,000). Part of it is explained by specialty; of the four groups, black doctors are more likely to be primary care providers, who earn less. (White doctors are least likely.) But a second study, conducted by BMJ, found an even wider gap between white male doctors and everyone else, while women doctors of all races earned the least. “[I]t is puzzling why black male physicians earn substantially less than white male physicians,” they say, citing bias, lower bargaining power in negotiations and discrimination as possible causes. That makes it a workplace issue. “It also suggests that race-based and sex-based disparities in earnings potential cannot be closed simply by opening up opportunities for minorities and women in higher paying specialties.”|
|Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick and Provost Anthony Wutoh get no-confidence votes from faculty|
|The vote, conducted by Howard’s faculty council, the leadership group of the faculty senate, took place on Friday and cited fundraising concerns, a lack of transparency and a variety of leadership failures. But other faculty members say the vote was both a surprise and procedurally invalid. “A vote of no confidence is deeply troubling, wholly unjustified and counterproductive to Howard’s goals,” said Howard’s board chair. “In fact, it contradicts the very positive assessment this Board has of the President’s performance to date, his track record of success and the integrity and good judgment he exhibits.” Howard has had financial problems for years, and has experienced student protests of late.|
|The Washington Post|
The Woke Leader
|Women get punished for negotiating|
|While we’re still flush with the glow of Equal Pay Day promises, it’s worth revisiting the research on women and negotiating. Across the board, surveys show that lack of confidence is not the issue, it’s that women are punished for speaking up on themselves. “In repeated studies, the social cost of negotiating for higher pay has been found to be greater for women than it is for men. Men can certainly overplay their hand and alienate negotiating counterparts. However, in most published studies, the social cost of negotiating for pay is not significant for men, while it is significant for women.” When are women not punished? When they negotiate on the behalf of someone else. Sponsorship really does help women.|
|Senator Kamala Harris speaks truth to teens|
|In a new Op-Ed for Teen Vogue, Harris [D-Calif] made the business case that girls need to be prepared to advocate for themselves when they enter the workforce, and explained exactly how government and employers need to do better. It’s about breadwinning women and their families being safer, healthier, and better educated. Hold the people who control the money accountable, she says, despite the possible costs. “I know we can’t afford to be held back by outdated ideas of women being ‘pushy’ or ‘not being a team player,’” she writes. She also gives a helpful lesson on the history of fair pay legislation. Fifty years ago, when Congresswoman Edith Green introduced the Equal Pay Act, the bill went missing for awhile. “Eventually, she learned that her bill was in the office of a committee chairman—filed under ‘B,’ for ‘Broads.’” Let’s not make congress great again, okay?|
|Some simple rules for talking with “The Other”|
|We all have someone who believes in something we either disagree with or don’t understand, which left unexamined, locks us into a binary of right and wrong, good and bad. But author and wellness expert Elizabeth Lesser has some advice to move past division toward true connection. First, take them to lunch and follow these rules: “don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious; be conversational; be real. And listen.” She picked a conservative Tea Party believer and gave it a go. “From there, we dove in. And we used these questions: Share some of your life experiences with me. What issues deeply concern you? And what have you always wanted to ask someone from the other side?” What followed was a debunking of the many myths they both held about “the other.” No minds were changed but they did make an agreement – to stop people from their own communities from using stereotypes and name calling to describe ideological opponents. Who would you take to lunch?|