raceAhead: Five Breaking News Haikus

July 21, 2017, 5:26 PM UTC

Fortune data editor Stacy Jones is filling in for your fearless and fabulous leader, Ellen McGirt, who returns on Monday.

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.


Don’t go chasing the
Confederates. Please stick to
the Thrones you’re used to.


Sweet dreams are made of
Ava and Oprah and Chris and
Reese and Mindy and Storm.


Chipotle scurries for
customer trust after food
sickens customer. Rats!


Health insurance prices —
Our commander in chief does
not know them. At all.


That catty women
in tech narrative? OpenTable
CEO: “bullshit.”

On Point

Ursula Burns to women in tech: Own your power and your differenceBurns, the first black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, has a reputation for candor, and this interview did not disappoint. In this CNN interview, she encouraged women to pursue careers in tech, saying that men understand that they just can’t keep hiring and promoting each other. "We have to own our position in the world and be strong and aggressive about it," she said. Burns was told early on that growing up poor, black and female would hinder her progress. Her secret was that she learned to become comfortable in primarily-white spaces. "By the time I got to work, I was very used to being around a whole bunch of men who were fairly uncomfortable with difference," she said. That comfort differential gave her a significant upper hand.CNN Money

Senate confirms judge who compared abortion to slavery
Writing under a pseudonym, Kentucky lawyer John Bush wrote several blog posts, including one calling abortion and slavery the “two greatest tragedies in our country,” and another that linked to articles on an alt-right conspiracy theory website. These alone should have disqualified him, argued Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota. The Senate voted 51-47 to give Bush a lifetime post on the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Bush "a man of integrity and considerable ability." Bush said that he regretted some of his posts.

Body cam video appears to show Baltimore police officer planting drugs
A Baltimore man was jailed for months on drug charges – drugs that now appear to have been planted by the police officer who initially arrested him. The officer has been suspended and two of his colleagues are on administrative duty while the internal affairs agency of the Baltimore Police investigates the matter. But the city’s public defender says it is now questioning the officer's involvement in 53 active cases. The video shows the police officer switching on his camera only to “find” a bag of white capsules in a garbage can in an alley. In an ironic twist, these particular cameras capture thirty seconds of activity that occurred before it is switched on. The officer seemed unaware of this feature.

Burundian teens who fled a D.C.-based robotics competition believed to be safe in Canada
The incident caused widespread alarm among the competition’s organizers, but authorities now believe that at least two of the six missing teens are confirmed safe in Canada. The students came to the U.S. on one-year visas to compete in the FIRST Global Challenge, an annual international event that encourages youth interest in STEM subjects. Their disappearance, which now appears to have been planned, has also put a spotlight on their home country. Burundi is in the middle of a civil war, characterized by political unrest, sporadic violence and protests, since 2015. Some 220,000 people have already fled.

Junot Diaz is publishing a picture book and you will love this preview
Evidently, the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist is a terrible procrastinator and a slow writer, and this gorgeous picture book is twenty years past deadline. But “Islandborn” appears to be worth the wait. The story is about two Dominican girls living in the Bronx, a tale promised to his two goddaughters two decades ago, who asked their famous godfather for a book with characters who looked like them. “Behind their request was this longing for books and stories that resonated for them and included them, and opened a space where they could be protagonists in the world,” said Diaz. “Islandborn” will hit the bookstores next spring, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, with illustrations by Leo Espinosa.
The New York Times

The Woke Leader

The Warsaw Ghetto comes to Chicago’s South Side
Sociologist and raceAhead favorite Eve Ewing has written an extraordinary essay that builds on the fundamental premise of W.E.B. Du Bois’s own piece,“The Negro and the Warsaw Ghetto.” Ewing, a Chicago native, grew up with police cameras and flashing lights on poles on every corner, a signal to the residents and others who live in certain neighborhoods (like the South Side, for example) that they were there to be surveilled, controlled and contained. Then-candidate Trump threatens to send in federal troops, to do what exactly? Then a Chicago Tribune columnist goes further, calling for concrete blocks to wall off the most violent neighborhoods, an eerie reminder of past transgressions, like calls for internment. Ewing knows what it’s like to hear the uninformed call for some sort of action in Chicago – we have to do something! – and identifies the anti-blackness that informs those indignant calls. “[T]hose responses made me afraid in the pit of my stomach, because they reminded me of the long American tradition of moderate voices rationalizing the mistreatment of people who they fundamentally do not see as people like themselves.”

What if the Wounded Knee Massacre was actually about religious freedom?
This is the thesis put forth by Louis S. Warren, a professor of Western U.S. History at the University of California at Davis. “For most of U.S. history, the federal government sought to assimilate native peoples by eradicating their religious ceremonies and belief systems,” he says. By 1883, the government began to force the eradication of all “heathenish” Indian dances, in an attempt to force indigenous populations to convert to Christianity. “Thus, customary ceremonies that once brought spiritual relief to Lakotas, such as the Sun Dance, became illegal,” he says, while at the same time, the government began to systematically starve entire populations. When the U.S. Army opened fire on a mostly unarmed village of Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the community had embraced Ghost Dancing, an often ecstatic display of dance and spiritual connection. While Ghost Dances continued in secret after the horrific massacre, the pain still runs deep within the community.
Zócalo Public Square


Out is the best. Holding s*** in? That’s really what ‘Heavy’ is about. Like, ‘What the f*** is going on with me? What am I doing to myself? What am I allowing others to cause inside of me to keep me stuck?’ That moment that you can separate yourself from the action or behavior or circumstance and look at it and see it for what it is, you’ve made that first step in separating yourself from that and getting out of that.
—Chester Bennington

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