raceAhead: Census, You In Danger Girl (And So Are We)

Fortune data editor Stacy Jones is filling in for Ellen McGirt while she dazzles everyone at Brainstorm Tech in Aspen, Colo. Watch the live stream or follow along on Twitter.

I have often gazed in the general direction of Suitland, Maryland and thought: “Census, you in danger girl.”

It’s not that the current administration hates data. It just prefers to tamper with methodologies, cherry pick flattering numbers and hoard information many believe will be used to disenfranchise millions of American voters.

Classic Whoopi Goldberg scenes aside, the U.S Census is in real danger.

It lacks a leader — former director John Thompson resigned in June, and the Trump administration has yet to select a replacement — and it lacks sufficient funding. While Congress has earmarked $1.5 billion for the 2020 Census, the bureau needs an additional $300 million for security and technology upgrades, including a new IT system charged with collecting and processing census responses. Without the extra money, the quality of its programs will likely suffer. The New York Times’ editorial board did an excellent job unpacking what’s at stake earlier this week.

Our government, which is for the people and by the people, needs data about the people it serves if it wants to effectively shape policy. This is true on a federal and state level, but it’s also true in other sectors. You’d be hard pressed to find a academic institution, or private company that doesn’t use Census data. Heck, a Fortune story I recently edited on the minimum wage includes Census figures.

While 2020 might seem far away, the Census’ issues are pressing. The bureau needs to finalize the list of questions it intends to ask in the 2020 Census by next March, two full years before the survey itself begins. Already, there’s been one datum casualty: The bureau has abandoned plans to ask about sexual orientation in the next Census, which has left many LGBT advocates frustrated. And the Census isn’t the only agency dropping plans to gather data on the country’s LGBT population.

Decisions to not count LGBT citizens send a dangerous message, Meghan Maury, director of the Criminal and Economic Justice Project at the National LGBTQ Task Force, told NPR.

“[It’s] read by many people in our community as saying affirmatively that we don’t count, that we don’t matter,” she says. “Decisions like this really contribute to that feeling that we’re invisible.”

Before we get to the news (which Grace Donnelly was kind enough to help out with), I have a quick homework assignment for you.

It’s hard to effectively (not to mention justly) run a country if you don’t know who the government is meant to represent. The same holds true for companies. Without data on who is working in your office, warehouse, remote team, or driving your fleet of delivery trucks, implementing smart, strategic management strategies is next to impossible.

So show your people they count by counting them — with voluntary surveys, of course — and using that data to influence corporate policy. Count mentors, mentees, promotions, raises, job titles, complaints, sponsors, advocates and exit interviews.

On Point

Black Cartoonists on Life Under TrumpDrawing your feelings might sound like a woo-woo DIY alternative to adult coloring books. But for professional cartoonists, it can be how you interface with the world. The Nib launched a series called The Response, which invites artists to discuss social issues in the medium they know best: cartoons. Reading the latest edition on how black cartoonists describe their lives under a Trump administration was cathartic. There's a meditation on whether a cartoonist should feel guilty for his waining enthusiasm for protests, questions (and some answers) about the relevance of drawing cartoons about social issues and a historic hat tip to the art of Emory Douglas. If you enjoy it, I encourage you to take a look at a previous edition, about what the cartoonists' lives would be like without the Affordable Care Act. Come for the artistry, stay for the painful, raw honesty drawn and writ large.The Nib

A White Man From Canada Is Really Mad People Don't See Him As "Fully Chinese"
I didn't want to see "Dolezal" become a verb, but Dr. Daniel Bell seems to be borrowing heavily from Rachel's playbook. In an essay for the Wall Street Journal, he argues that "Chinese" should be a cultural identity, not a racial one. He claims to speak the language well enough that he can "surprise taxi drivers when [he calls] for a ride and they arrive expecting to see a Chinese customer." Bell often finds himself the only person at conferences wearing Chinese-style clothing. He spends a large portion of his essay showing readers his stack of I Know More About Chinese Culture Than The Average Chinese Citizen receipts. But there's one thing that still nags him: "I feel welcomed and loved in China," Bell writes. "My wife is Chinese, and I’ve done my best to integrate since arriving in 2004. But I can’t fully succeed. My Chinese friends sometimes call me a 'Chinese son-in-law.' It’s meant as a compliment, but the implication in Chinese is that I’m not fully Chinese."
The Wall Street Journal

The Woke Leader

To Combat Sexual Harassment, Think Like A Product Designer
The latest Brainstorm Tech dispatch from Ellen McGirt: Evertoon CEO Niniane Wang's very direct advice on combatting sexual harassment. “Every person in here knows how to design a product where they are not the target user,” she said to the crowd. “Imagine how you’d respond if someone said to you, ‘this previous product had three systemic failures in the last month, we’re not going to do any post mortems, we’re not going to talk to the people involved, or interview any users’.” Ask women about their experiences and find out how the system has failed them. “It may be awkward and that initial conversation may be uncomfortable, but that’s how you get a product that will work.”

Deloitte Explains Why It's Replacing Employee Resource Groups With Inclusion Councils
After nearly a quarter century, WIN, the women’s employee network at Deloitte, will be no more. The consulting firm is also ending groups for LGBT, veteran and minority workers over the next 18 months. Why the change? The company says it’s partly because of millennials — 57% of their workforce — who dislike labels and demographic pigeonholes. It's also because these groups have failed to move the needle on corporate diversity efforts. The company will try “inclusion councils” instead, bringing people from different backgrounds together to tackle diversity issues. “By having everyone in the room, you get more allies, advocates, and sponsors,” said Deepa Purushothaman, head of the WIN group since 2015. “A lot of our leaders are still older white men, and they need to be a part of the conversation and advocate for women."

Immigrants Get The GDP Growth Job Done
President Trump talks a lot about reaching 3% or 4% GDP growth. Now, a new study from ProPublica and Moody’s Analytics shows that more immigrants entering the country could be the key to hitting that target. The interactive chart illustrates GDP projections relative to how many immigrants are allowed to enter the country. “Adding immigrant workers means the economy is larger, with more people earning wages and buying goods and services. But that fact may come as a surprise to a lot of people," said Jennifer Hunt, an economist at Rutgers University. "Many Americans assume that immigrants have zero effect on the economy, or think that immigrants subtract value from an economic pie of fixed size.”


The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.
— Toni Morrison

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