Skip to Content

Not Now, Charlie Rose

Disgraced journalist and former CBS television host Charlie Rose may have a new show in the works. Worst of all, it’s about himself.

According to news reports, the show being discussed will involve Rose interviewing other high-profile men who have been ousted for their behavior as part of the #MeToo movement. Editor Tina Brown confirmed to the New York Post’s Page Six column that she’d been approached to produce one such “atonement series,” starring the former anchor. She wisely passed on the opportunity.

My colleague Kristen Bellstrom nailed this trend in her column on April 23, and made sure we were ready to clap back.

I don’t know about you, but I’m nowhere near ready to see Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, Mario Batali, or any of the host of other powerful men brought down by the #MeToo movement return to public life. Yet in the past week or so, there’s been an ominous drip-drip-drip of stories reporting on how these men are faring in “exile” and speculating about how they might stage their comebacks.

She links to several other stories, which help explain why this is all so problematic – how it will intimidate other victims from speaking out and how it fails to wrest a full accounting from the cultures that let harassing men get away with the kinds of stuff in the first place. (Which, in Rose’s case, involves problematic behaviors around race, that have yet to be explored.)

Bottom line, a temporary stay in the penalty box is not redemption.

This is part of what makes the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opens today in Montgomery, Ala. so vitally important. It centers the victims, not the perpetrators, and invites us first to bear witness, then, to do better.

The memorial is the work of Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, who worked with a small team to comb through thousands of archival records looking to document the stories of people who had been the victim of racial terror lynchings across the South. They’ve found 4,400, many of whom had never been named before.

The memorial draws our attention to these stories of the victims and their families, and the impact of sanctioned violence on generations of African Americans whose transition from enslavement to free citizens with inalienable rights was never fully realized.

It’s a new model for thinking about atonement and justice, with implications far beyond race.

“I’m not interested in talking about America’s history because I want to punish America,” Stevenson told The New York Times. “I want to liberate America. And I think it’s important for us to do this as an organization that has created an identity that is as disassociated from punishment as possible.”

Smart producers, leaders, investors and, ahem, future film studio owners should also look to marginalized voices for liberation — by centering them in the businesses they build, the policies they support, and the stories they tell. And they should plan to re-make the world, not themselves.

Let those who have transgressed, for now, tell their stories only to each other, perhaps over drinks at a posh place in a lesser Hampton. It’s time to hand the microphone to those who have been hurt, dismissed or erased, laboring for too long in shadows they never deserved.

On Point

HUD Secretary proposes rent increases for low-income familiesHUD Secretary Ben Carson’s most recent proposal would triple the rent for the poorest of households, and strengthen work requirements for people receiving federal assistance. It’s part of an aggressive reform agenda colloquially called “Welfare Reform 2.0,” and contains provisions affecting Medicaid, food stamps, and other cuts to federal assistance programs. The changes will require Congressional approval, but last week, House Republicans pushed a plan to add work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, as part of the 2019 farm bill.Washington Post

How big business can invest in underserved communities
Peter L. Scher, the head of corporate responsibility and chairman of the Mid-Atlantic region for JPMorgan Chase, offers three points for any business that wants to increase the likelihood that their impact investments in impoverished communities will work. “Our initiatives are focused where we believe we can have the greatest impact: building job skills, expanding small businesses, revitalizing neighborhoods, and promoting financial health,” he says. None of his points will surprise you, except when you think about how often these elements are missing. Number one in his list: Collaboration. “One of the key indicators of this is the extent to which a community’s civic, business and nonprofit leaders bring their unique capabilities to the table to solve problems and improve lives.”  
Fortune

Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, has won an awesome award
Saujani, has won the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education for her innovative approach to improving K-12 education. The honor, one of three awarded this year, comes with a $50,000 prize. In an interview with EdSurge, Saujani talks about how she first saw the gender divide in schools when she ran for Congress in 2010, and decided to focus on tech because that’s where the jobs and opportunities were. But she’s seeing a profound ripple effect when girls are given tools to build lasting solutions. “I think girls are natural-born change makers,” she says. “When they get access to technology, they tend to ask: How can I use technology to make the world better?” Praise up, Reshma.
EdSurge

Rock, rock, CEO high school
So here’s an interesting ice breaker: How many CEOs has your high school produced? One private high school in India, the Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, can claim three: the CEOs of Microsoft, Adobe and Mastercard. Although the school has “public” in its name, it’s really an elite private school, modeled after Eton College in London. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who also met his wife at the school, says attending HPS was “the best break I had in my life.” According to the school’s website, their mission includes providing students with “moral values,” “strong self-esteem,” “tolerance and respect for others,” and “a passion for lifelong learning.” My high school’s mission is “improved learning for everyone.” Go Hornets.         
Business Insider

 

The Woke Leader

Watching NFL football as a fully engaged citizen
The NFL draft begins today, and with it, a renewed conversation about the protests that took place last season during the national anthem. President Trump called for the players to be fired. But what was the true offense? Professor Dana Radcliffe of Syracuse University’s online Executive Master of Public Administration program explores this issue with depth and nuance. He makes an interesting case that a citizen’s duty is not necessarily to “the flag,” but to each other. Respect of others, even with opposing views, is a central moral duty of a citizen in a functioning democracy. “Political philosophers call this civic engagement ‘democratic deliberation,’ which requires citizens to address each other as equals, debating each other, listening to each other, bargaining with each other, and striving together to reach rational solutions to the problems and challenges we face as citizens.”
Syracuse EMPA Blog

Looking back to 1968
Robert Greene II is a PhD candidate in history, and is a lively member of the online discussion collective #Twitterstorians. In this thoughtful essay, he gently reminds us that only fifty years after the momentous year of 1968, we’re getting so much wrong about what actually happened and who we were then. We lost King and Kennedy that year, two men who were very different but were united on the notion that radical action needed to be taken to address poverty, violence, and racism. But we’ve turned them into empty vessels, sanitized and appropriate. “Public memory is how a nation remembers its past,” he writes. “By allowing King and Kennedy to become empty historical figures who stood for nothing controversial, we do a disservice to the causes they fought for.”
Religion and Politics

Five ideas for creating an inclusive workplace
Michele Perras, Director, Global Ecosystem and Alliances for Pivotal Software, offers five tips for building inclusive cultures, drawing on her fifteen years of experience in Silicon Valley, and her more recent work on Pivotal’s Diversity and Inclusion council. All are helpful and straightforward, but number four — listen to your employees — is one that lots of smaller organizations tend to give the short shrift. “Listen to them, ask why, and don’t assume to know what they need,” she says. “At Pivotal, we heard that employees were seeking discussion and connection locally. With 20 offices worldwide, we wanted to support bottom-up initiatives, and encouraged people to form Grassroots groups.” She also suggests ten questions to ask your employees now, and they are excellent.
Startups.co

Quote

I say that this Government was established on the white basis. It was made by white men, for the benefit of white men and their posterity forever, and never should be administered by any except white men. I declare that a negro ought not to be a citizen, whether his parents were imported into this country as slaves or not, or whether or not he was born here. It does not depend upon the place a negro’s parents were born, or whether they were slaves or not, but upon the fact that he is a negro, belonging to a race incapable of self-government, and for that reason ought not to be on an equality with white men.
Stephen A. Douglas