raceAhead: #MeToo Is TIME’s Person Of The Year
The “silence-breakers” who spoke out against sexual assault and harassment are TIME’s Person of The Year for 2017. Now, it’s up to us to keep the silence broken.
TIME interviewed dozens of people in as many industries, all of whom had to overcome an often crushing fear of violence, retaliation and financial ruin to initially tell their stories:
In almost every case, they described not only the vulgarity of the harassment itself—years of lewd comments, forced kisses, opportunistic gropes—but also the emotional and psychological fallout from those advances. Almost everybody described wrestling with a palpable sense of shame. Had she somehow asked for it? Could she have deflected it? Was she making a big deal out of nothing?
For many, financial ruin was not the only thing they worried about.
Those who are often most vulnerable in society—immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income workers and LGBTQ people—described many types of dread. If they raised their voices, would they be fired? Would their communities turn against them? Would they be killed? According to a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, 47% of transgender people report being sexually assaulted at some point in their lives, both in and out of the workplace.
While the stories in the reporting are at times extraordinarily difficult to read, the conversations that must happen now can’t be avoided. And that’s going to take a collective effort to generate sustained courage, grace, and compassion.
Take a few minutes today to watch this video (or just read the account) of television personality John Oliver asking Dustin Hoffman questions about recent allegations made by Anna Graham Hunter that the actor had groped her when she was a 17-year-old intern on the set of the 1985 TV movie, “Death of a Salesman.”
Warning: It may make you uncomfortable. But it is also a lesson in public allyship at a time when we need it most.
“This is something we’re going to have to talk about because … it’s hanging in the air,” Oliver began. What followed were many, many minutes of excruciating back and forth, with Hoffman getting more defensive and the audience alternately squirming along while expressing discomfort or support.
The occasion was the anniversary screening of “Wag the Dog,” a 1997 film about spin doctors who are called in for damage control after the President of the United States is caught making sexual advances toward an underage girl. (Their advice? Start a war!)
So, there was a lot hanging in the air that night.
When Hoffman defended himself, Oliver pushed back. “It’s ‘not reflective of who I am’ — it’s that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off,” Oliver said. “It is reflective of who you were. If you’ve given no evidence to show it didn’t [happen] then there was a period of time for a while when you were a creeper around women. It feels like a cop-out to say ‘It wasn’t me.’ Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?”
It was the longest public conversation about sexual harassment involving a powerful accused man in the post #MeToo era that I’m aware of. But while Hoffman may have squirmed, Oliver did too. It wasn’t fun for either of them, and that’s why it matters so much: Oliver is a man.The playbook for being a good man in a violent world has been tossed and is being re-written in real time. Oliver risked the patience of a high-tone audience, not to mention his own personal brand, to help add a few pages.
“I can’t leave certain things unaddressed,” Oliver said from the stage. “The easy way is not to bring anything up. Unfortunately, that leaves me at home later at night hating myself. ‘Why the … didn’t I say something? No one stands up to powerful men.’”
|Facebook’s Maxine Williams on diversity, bias and why numbers aren’t enough|
|Williams is legendarily smart, dedicated and charismatic and it shows in her recent piece published by HBR. In part, it’s an inside take on what it’s like to be working in diversity at a time of massive change, including the rise of people analytics and data-driven best practices. For some in tech, small “data sets” of underrepresented groups often frustrate evidence-seekers. “Basically they’re saying, ‘If only there were more of you, we could tell you why there are so few of you.’” She helpfully points to important new research that shows that there is plenty of good data to draw from, while not forgetting the human element. “Algorithms and statistics do not capture what it feels like to be the only black or Hispanic team member or the effect that marginalization has on individual employees and the group as a whole,” she says.|
|Vi Lyles, Charlotte’s first ever black woman mayor was sworn in this week|
|This profile helps explain why the former two-term city council member was drawn back into the political arena: The fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and legislative action that eroded protections for the LGBTQ community. “The first thing I want to do is actually talk about how to rebuild trust,” Lyles tells Bustle. “And my goal is to take each step every day and say, does this build trust with our citizens?” The enthusiasm Lyles’s campaign generated reflects the complex history of the region. “My grandfather is a 96-year-old Charlotte native. He wasn’t the allowed to vote until he was 44 years old when the Voting Rights Act passed,” tweeted Aisha Alexander, Lyles’s daughter. “This year, he voted for my mom @ViLyles who became the 1st Black woman elected to the office of mayor of Charlotte.”|
|BREAKING: The Chicago Public School kids are alright|
|Chicago Public Schools system is notoriously under-resourced and filled with kids from low-income homes. And yet, new data show something extraordinary: Their kids are doing better than many in high-income districts. New research from Stanford shows that CPS students are learning faster than almost any other school system in the country. The analysis argues that while socioeconomic factors matter particularly in terms of test scores, schools in poorer districts are overcoming those effects to a degree not before understood. It also means that parents who choose a district based on test scores, not the rate of change of those scores, are using the wrong metric. Nerd alert: Data and graphic hounds will love the interactive chart, too. It’s outstanding.|
|New York Times|
The Woke Leader
|Ferris is finally saved|
|To be woke is to be haunted, this we know. It is to be forced, when you least expect it, to revisit a beloved memory of your oblivious youth and to find it suddenly grotesque, utterly unable to meet the standards set by your more informed worldview. Here’s one tender example: Ferris Bueller. Bueller, any reasonable adult must admit, is an unrelenting asshat who doesn’t care who he hurts or what he breaks as long as he gets what he wants. Perpetually unpunished for his egregious infractions, he wallows expertly in a toxic form of white, male, suburban privilege which he has had no reason to abandon. Until now. “My name is Ferris Bueller and I’d like to issue a formal apology for my behavior as a former teen role model for white privilege,” begins this as-told-to-by confessional piece from a once unrepentant quasi-sociopath. So brave.|
|On bridging two cultures, particularly when one hates the other|
|Indie darling Kumail Nanjiani continues to thrill audiences with the film, “The Big Sick“, and the real-life story behind it. Nanjiani wrote the film with his now wife, Emily V. Gordon, as a fictionalized version of their own relationship, and the drama that ensued when the Pakastani-American finally told his parents that he would be skipping the arranged marriage they’d planned. In this charming interview, he shares what that was like and how to shut down racist hecklers, on stage and in life. “When someone’s racist to you, even though you know it’s their fault, it still hurts your feelings,” he says. Cheat sheets help.|
|New York Times|
|Here’s a hometown family and real estate lawyer who is also a white supremacist!|
|The Triad City Beat, a liberal alternate paper which covers Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, N.C., has profiled Harold Ray Crews, a family lawyer who hangs his shingle from a “tidy, one-story brick office complex on North Main Street in downtown Kernersville.” He’s also an alt-right podcaster and the state chairman for the neo-Confederate group League of the South, who rocketed into public view when he persuaded a Charlottesville magistrate to issue an arrest warrant against DeAndre Harris, the black man who was brutally beaten by a mob during the August white supremacist rally. Writer Jordan Green listens to the podcast so you don’t have to: “If it looks like we’re prevailing — the hard right — then they’re gonna fall in line,” he says of “normies,” white people with mainstream values. “You see this repeatedly over history, where you have a small minority who make history, and the eternal normie just falls in line and pretty much accepts everything that the radical [proposes].” Your move, normies.|
|Triad City Beat|