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raceAhead: Oscar’s New Rules, Tech Doesn’t Track Diversity, We’re Here for Gabrielle Union

Your week in review, in haiku



Shooting an unarmed

man in the back is a crime?

Who knew? Walter Scott.



He was good enough.

He was smart enough. He blew

it, but that’s okay.



“Look, just keep saying

‘attorney-client priv’lege.’

It’ll all be fine.”



Brexit talks simmer.

Palestine boils. Congress stews.

California burns.



<scene> Conyers, Franken,

Franks in an empty bar. “There’ll

be more soon,” she smiled.


Have a safe and nourishing weekend.

On Point

Some light reading for Kevin Spacey and Roman Polanski from the AcademyThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken the first of many steps forward in its plan to address sexual misconduct and abuse among its ranks. This week, the Academy issued a “standards of conduct” statement that outlines expected behavior from their members. “There is no place in the Academy for people who abuse their status, power or influence in a manner that violates recognized standards of decency,” it says. There are no immediate plans to review the cases of members with allegations currently against them, but a task force is working to “finalize procedures for handling allegations of misconduct,” which will be sent to members in 2018.The Wrap

Experts: Tech companies need to actually track their inclusion efforts
Asana’s Sonja Gittens Ottley and Project Include’s Ellen Pao say that tech companies need to improve how they track and measure their diversity work if they are going to be successful. “[F]irms are not yet measuring key performance indicators with the same rigor that they do their financial, customer, or growth data,” they say. They’ve identified three areas for improvement — a failure to track intersectionality was a refreshing addition to the conversation —  and offered a case study from Asana that focused on how the company put measures into place to make sure current employees feel supported.

Roy Moore remembers the good old days, Twitter never forgets
Back in September, Senate candidate Roy Moore answered what was clearly a leading question posed by an African American voter. When, exactly, was the time that he thought America was so great? A cleverer man might have mumbled something about Reagan, trickle-down economics and the Berlin Wall. But instead, Moore told the truth. “I think it was great at the time when families were united. Even though we had slavery, they cared for one another … Our families were strong, our country had a direction.” He also referred to Asians and Native Americans as “yellows” and “reds.” The story didn’t get much pick up back then, but yesterday, a former Obama Administration official flagged the story with a “can’t make this up,” rejoiner. Twitter had some thoughts!
Huffington Post

Good news/bad news: A new queer, co-working space is coming to San Francisco
This would ordinarily be a welcome development, in light of the many iconic queer centers which have shuttered in recent years. And yet, this one is raising many arched brows: It’s coming by way of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel. The Trump-supporting Gawker-killer is backing the new venture called Yass, a membership-based workspace and social club. One further complication: The club is in the rapidly “gentrifying” Mission district, once a primarily Latinx neighborhood. It all feels off to some people. “The LGBT community in San Francisco, we need a space. But we don’t need a space that is tainted by the hate of Donald Trump,” advocate David Campos told The Guardian. “When a gay man essentially becomes a tool of someone who is prosecuting people, that gay man needs to be called out.”
The Guardian

Black mothers keep dying
This wrenching story begins with the funeral of Shalon Irving, a new mother, beloved daughter and esteemed epidemiologist, who devoted her considerable bandwidth to study the effects of structural inequality and poverty on health. Her colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention filled the pews and gave testimony to her work. “She wanted to expose how peoples’ limited health options were leading to poor health outcomes. To kind of uncover and undo the victim blaming that sometimes happens,” said one. But when Irving collapsed and died just three weeks after giving birth, she became just another data point for one of the most horrifying health disparities we have in the U.S.: Black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers; or are some 300% more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes. Read it and weep.

The Woke Leader

Gabrielle Union is the truthteller we didn’t know we needed
Union has become a heroic figure of late, a new memoirist who speaks candidly about her rape at gunpoint at age 19, race, and her complicated family life. But she has also turned a recently completed month-long book tour into a spontaneous safe space for other survivors to tell their tales. “Some of her readers, she said, have experienced the most horrific abuses imaginable,” reports The New York Times in this recent profile. So, when she says things like this: “I think the floodgates have opened for white women. I don’t think it’s a coincidence whose pain has been taken seriously,” people may be finally listening. But it’s worth mentioning that Union has been sounding the alarm for years. After last year’s presidential election, she got right to it in this outstanding interview with Rebecca Carroll. Her take: “aside from it not changing how [white] people feel about blackness, is also how we look at sexual assault.”
Harpers Bazaar

The abuse behind your fruit salad
The Yakima Herald has been doing a heroic job reporting the stories of women farm workers who experience harassment and assault, often on a daily basis. They have no place to turn. “For farm workers living paycheck to paycheck, especially single mothers, the fear of losing their job if they report means they’d rather just put up with harassment,” says Blanca Rodriguez, an attorney with an advocacy group. “It’s even harder for immigrant workers who don’t have legal status and fear being turned in to immigration if they report abuse,” she said. What horrors lurk in your supply chain?
Yakima Herald

Learn more about our complicated history with race from writer Rachel Swarns
Rachel Swarns, a New York Times contributor and author of ”American Tapestry,” which traced Michelle Obama’s lineage, went on a poignant Twitter walkabout, sharing some information she’d been gathering about the 272 enslaved people whose sale helped save Georgetown University. In this short thread, she posts pictures of where they likely arrived at the Port of New Orleans, and snippets of her research. “You didn’t have to have tons of cash on hand to purchase human beings in the 1800s,” she said. “You could get a mortgage.” She’ll be discussing her latest book, Unseen: Unpublished Black History from the New York Times Photo Archive, on Monday at the Smithsonian in D.C. It was co-authored with Darcy Eveleigh, a New York Times photo editor, and explores dozens of unpublished photographs of African American history that had been accidentally discovered by Times staffers.


On the one hand, the tape was clearly offensive and inappropriate. At the same time, I worry there’s a part of Silicon Valley that is hyper-politically correct about sex.
—Peter Thiel