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raceAhead: Trump Sues, Teachers Gone Crazy and Get Ready to Wrinkle in Time

Your week in review, in haiku:



Queen Ava! She makes

tessering well look easy.

Love’s great frequency.



LucasFilm fails to

heed “Inclusion Rider Now!!!”

memo. No new hope.




How much for the smokes?

“Only five-hundred-sixty

for you, pharma bro.”



Sad in Seattle:

Richard Sherman’s marching on

Legion of no boom.











I’m going outside for a spell! RaceAhead will be on hiatus next week and will return on Monday, March 18. Wishing you a burden-free spring break. I appreciate all of you.

On Point

UK Report: A lack of diversity – and discrimination-  hurts profitsRecent analysis from Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) quantifies the economic cost of discrimination in the UK. They examined diversity stats, financial performance and talent management policies of 517 firms in a variety of industries, and found “a significant positive correlation between diversity and financial performance.” They also found that discriminatory pay practices cost the UK economy £127 billion in lost output each year. Click through for the details and a good list of similar studies confirming similar results.Quartz

A teacher tells his middle school class not to date African Americans
There have been a spate of “crazy teacher” stories lately – like the middle school teacher who ran a white supremacist podcast in her spare time – perhaps inspired by the fear that some of them will end up armed on campus. But it’s worth noting that while the stories may be alarming, they have become newsworthy enough to warrant immediate action. Dayanna Volitich, the social studies teacher/podcaster who has shared the belief that science says that white people are superior, has been removed from her classroom and is now under investigation. Next, consider the sad tale of now-suspended Florida middle school math teacher David Swinyar, known to throw the n-word around in class while telling students not to date African Americans “because they are not worth it.”

Trump administration sues the State of California over sanctuary laws
The suit, filed this week, is the strongest response to date from the administration targeting protections for undocumented persons, and alleges obstruction of federal immigration enforcement. The lawsuit addresses sanctuary laws enacted by the state last year and was accompanied by strong words from Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a speech to law enforcement officials. “The Department of Justice and the Trump administration are going to fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you,” he said.

In an attempt to attract Puerto Rican workers, Branson, Missouri learns to merengue
Among other things, of course. But facing an alarming labor shortage, the resort town is hosting a class called “Hispanics 101,” the actual name of the course, designed to help employers better attract laborers to fill the 2,050 vacancies before the summer season kicks into full swing. You’ll be shocked to learn that the plan to attract 1,000 workers from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico is making some of the local folks uneasy. “We get nasty comments all the time,” an official who is working with the chamber on their “talent attraction” plan. But some 9 million tourists visited Branson last year, and the town is getting worried. A must read.
Washington Post

The Woke Leader

Ryan Coogler on Ava DuVernay: She is our past, present and future
The Black Panther director has written a glorious tribute to Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay, who he was able to watch work from across the hall at Disney. (Just try to imagine what the break room talk was like, right?) In addition to spelling out her career highlights, he shouts her out for her naturally inclusive practices. “She makes the most distant dreams and ideas a reality,” he says. “She made a show called ‘Queen Sugar’ and mandated the use of female directors and key creatives a full two years before the great Frances McDormand told me what an inclusion rider was.” Yes, she did.

Black congregants are quietly leaving white-majority churches
The racial tension in evangelical and Christian circles has been an issue since the founding of the country, a complex story that has made attempts at reconciliation uniquely. That’s what makes this story from Campbell Robertson, who grew up in a Baptist church in small-town Alabama so necessary now: Years of healing have been undone, first in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, then with the rise of white supremacist sentiment, largely unaddressed by pastors and congregants. Little by little, family by family, black worshippers have been leaving white churches, seeking solace in each other. “People spoke to me of being tired, let down, heartbroken,” says Robertson. “Political and cultural partitions that they had long overlooked at worship time now overshadowed every service.” 
New York Times

Pray for Madison, Indiana
It appears to be, by all accounts, a lovely little town. Madison, Indiana, population 12,000 enjoys a designation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and appears on numerous magazine lists. Most people are employed, white, and solidly middle income. It’s also the epicenter of a Midwest drug trafficking region; the resulting epidemic has triggered an epidemic of addiction, depression, child neglect, abuse, and violence. Now, their suicide rate is 3.2 that of the rest of the nation. Solutions are wearing thin: One high school administrator killed himself just weeks after submitting a grant to increase suicide counseling. As you can imagine, this story contains frank accounts of suicide, addiction and grief.
New York Times


But as a black man, I do understand that black lives matter. You know, I stand for that, I believe in that wholeheartedly. But I also think that there’s a way to go about things, and there’s a way to do things. And I think the issue at hand needs to be addressed internally, and before we move on, because from personal experience, you know, you have living in the hood, living in the inner city, you deal with things, you deal with people dying. Dealt with a best friend getting killed … it was two 35-year-old black men. Wasn’t no police officer involved, wasn’t anybody else involved, and I didn’t hear anybody shouting “black lives matter” then … and I think that’s the point we need to get to is that we need to deal with our own internal issues before we move forward and start pointing fingers and start attacking other people. 
Richard Sherman