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raceAhead: Is Donald Trump A Racist?

January 12, 2018, 6:28 PM UTC

Your week in review, in haiku



#Shithole proverb: “Ti

chen gen fos devan kay met

li.” Keep barking, dog.



With Sterling K. Brown

in place, can we now safely

cancel James Franco?



Marky Mark gets paid,

Anchor Don makes Lemonade,

Beltway nerves are frayed.



A racist in the

Oval Office? This is us,

dear friends. This is us.



For Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Always creative

ever dedicated, make

the world better now.


Have a powerful and free long weekend.

On Point

The good news: Americans are getting more comfortable with calling out racismThe bad news: It’s the current president who’s getting called out. After shocking — shocking! —  reports that President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador and some nations in Africa as “shithole countries” during a meeting with lawmakers yesterday, commentators took to the airwaves to denounce him. Then, “Trump Is Racist” began to trend on Twitter. But this piece from the New Yorker’s John Cassidy explains yet again, that Trump has always been this way and has always believed racist things. Sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent to people of color. Casino bosses ordering black employees off the floor so Trump never saw them, yadda yadda. So what to make of the recent dust-up?New Yorker

Donald Trump signs legislation making Martin Luther King Jr’s birth home a national historic park
The bill was signed on Air Force One earlier this week, with some of King’s relatives in attendance. King’s birth home, the Ebenezer Baptist Church and King’s burial site have all been upgraded from a national historic site to a national historic park in the same legislation. Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who sponsored the bill, was “so proud that we were able to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner.” It is Georgia’s first National Historical Park and was signed ahead of King’s birthday and the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
NBC News

Black STEM employees more likely to report racism in the workplace
A new Pew Research Center report  finds that roughly 62% of black STEM workers report experiencing eight specific forms of racial or ethnic discrimination, as compared with 44% of Asians, 42% of Hispanics and 13% of whites working in science and tech. Among the most common form of discrimination cited were being treated as incompetent, being treated unfairly during the hiring process and being overlooked for promotions and advancement.
Pew Research

A reminder to treasure Michelle Alexander
The New Jersey prison system decided to ban her best-selling book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," for a reason: It explains in excruciating detail how the prisons came to be disproportionately filled with black and brown people, and how the system works to keep them there. Despite their reversal, columnist Rebecca Carroll reminds us that Alexander’s book is more important than ever. “[S]he is a master at distilling and framing history, and we need her to help us keep things clear, to stay on track, to keep pushing for change,” she says. Alexander certainly hasn’t stopped. “I think it’s clear by the rhetoric coming out of the Justice Department today that they are committed to reviving a warlike mentality towards poor people and people of color,” she said while commenting on Jeff Sessions's support for harsh drug sentencing and mass incarceration.

The Woke Leader

A resplendent short film helps you understand how easy it is for people of color to end up in jail
The Bail Project, a recent Vimeo staff pick, tells the story of Ramel, a man who was set upon and picked up by police on the most trumped up of charges – riding his bike on the sidewalk, just a short distance to his Bronx home. Unable to pay his bail, he lingered in pre-trial detention, wondering what to do. “They still got my bike locked up,” he tells a barber. Ramel’s unique fragility – underemployed, adrift, a single father and poetic spirit, will hurt your heart. But spending seven minutes in his shoes may change your mind about some things. The film also explains how Ramel's release was obtained by The Bronx Freedom Fund, which pays the bail for New Yorkers accused of misdemeanors and helps them fight the charges. Ramel was able to pass on a six-month plea deal, and after a two-year wait, he got his day in court. His charges were dropped. Well worth your time. (Hat tip Katrina Jones.)

Baking Batali’s biscuits
Of all the #MeToo era apologies, and there have been plenty, only one came with a recipe attached. Celebrity chef Mario Batali resigned his many posts after allegations of sexual impropriety toward employees surfaced, his published apology included a recipe was for pizza dough cinnamon rolls. “And of course, the glaring question is why? Was his PR team drunk? Is life suddenly a really long, depressing SNL sketch? Do these cinnamon rolls somehow destroy the patriarchy? Does the icing advocate for equal pay?” And so begins this searingly funny romp from writer and amateur baker Geraldine DeRuiter, who baked the rolls and smashed a little patriarchy of her own. Turns out, the recipe left out some details. “There are pieces missing here, and I’m trying to fill in the gaps. The result will be sub-par because he hasn’t provided all the information, and I will blame myself.” Delish.

Ten other things that Martin Luther King said
Jay Smooth, one of my favorite vloggers, thinkers and hip hop radio trailblazers, posted a video of ten other things that Martin Luther King said that tend to get drowned out while we celebrate his more familiar work. Enjoy. You’re part of  the creative, dedicated minority making the world better, after all.


For reasons both complex and painful, the 'exceptional' woman who receives status and tenure in the university has often been less than supportive to young women beginning their own careers. She has for her own survival learned to vote against other women, absorb the masculine adversary style of discourse, and carefully avoid any style or method that could be condemned as 'irrational' or 'emotionally charged.
Adrienne Rich