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raceAhead: HBO’s NFL Takes On The Anthem, White Fragility Marches On

Your week in review, in haiku.

 

1.

“You look fetching in

that ostrich jacket.” Yeti

poured the wine and smiled.

 

2.

Trillion dollar fruit:

Two Steves, one garage, and the

rest of the whole world.

 

3.

Outside looking in:

Separated, abandoned,

our enduring shame.

 

4.

Colin Kaepernick

erased, Flint struggles on, and

King James leads the way.

 

5.

As the world burns a

cleansing fire, the scorched earth

rids herself of us.

 

Wishing you a breakthrough weekend.

On Point

Facing the anthem thing on unscripted televisionIf you’re not a fan of Hard Knocks—the HBO reality documentary series that follows an NFL team during training camp, you will want to watch after this excellent breakdon from my colleague Aric Jenkins. He tackles the greatness of the series and hints at controversy to come: The anthem thing. “Whatever the team’s messages are, whether it’s conditioning, attitude, how to deal with the media, franchise viewpoints about the anthem—that’s what would show up on Hard Knocks,” Ken Rodgers, senior coordinating producer at NFL Films tells Fortune. The new season, which debuts next week, focuses on the Cleveland Browns, who participated in anthem protests twice last year. An excellent read for armchair NFL analysts.Fortune

R/GA gets a new diversity and inclusion director
Carl Desir, the former vice president of talent initiatives from the 4As, is now global agency R/GA’s first diversity and inclusion director. According to this interview with The Drum’s Bennett Bennett, Desir has a full green light to reconfigure the agency’s inclusion practices and draw a tight line to their business outputs. “That’s exciting because when you know that there are so many different things R/GA does. Let’s say you come up with an idea for like a mentoring match algorithm thing and it actually gets pushed out to the rest of the world through one of our R/GA divisions,” he says. Desir has extensive talent pipeline experience and plans on making resource groups a priority. “Our LGBTQ network has linked what they do to actual business results, which is just amazing,” he says.
The Drum

Wordpress debuts a diverse stock photo library. And it’s free!
Wordpress users, just check your Media Library and select “Free Photo Library” and you’ll find thousands of images that they promise reflect a “wide array of experiences.” The images mainly come from the Women of Color in Tech Stock Photos library (WoCinTec) which added their photos to Pexels, the current WordPress stock photo provider. The alliance seems to be a hit: In the month since the WoCinTech images became available, there have been 70,000 downloads and 28 million page views. “Our mission was always twofold: Disrupt stock images and further representation of women/non-binary people in technology by making the photos accessible to all creators,” says Christina Morillo, a WoCinTech co-founder.
Wordpress Blog

What Mark Zuckerberg needs to know about hate speech
This is the big theme behind most of the Zuckerberg opinion-making these days; the incredible true story of a ragtag band of coders who wanted to make the world a more open place, and instead opened a Pandora’s box of propaganda and hate. “They have weaponized social media. They have weaponized the First Amendment. They have weaponized civic discourse. And they have weaponized, most of all, politics,” says Kara Swisher, in her latest New York Times op-ed. Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and author of a book about Facebook tells Pacific Standard that there is no fixing it. (Really!) “This problem [of hate speech online]—and that’s too light a word—reveals that social media was a bad idea in the first place,” he says. If you give everyone a platform then try to stay neutral, bad stuff gets in. “If we want social media as it’s been imagined and constructed, we have to live with this garbage.” 
New York Times

A Smith College student was eating her lunch when an employee called the police
As these stories mount up, it’s becoming clear that no collective remedy is forthcoming. A “rising sophomore” was taking a break from her teaching assistant job by eating her lunch in a common room when an employee called the police to report “someone who seemed out of place.” The person, still unnamed, reported her as a suspicious black male. “I am blown away at the fact that I cannot even sit down and eat lunch peacefully,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I did nothing wrong, I wasn’t making any noise or bothering anyone. All I did was be black.” Smith is known for its interest in inclusion; earlier this year, their office of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity announced plans to expand its existing anti-bias training. 
Boston Globe

 

The Woke Leader

More about ‘white fragility’
As sociologist Robin DiAngelo’s new book, White Fragilitycontinues to yield rich, cringe-worthy conversations about how hard it is to talk about race, it’s worth noting that DiAngelo reserves her most pointed observations to the white liberals (like herself) who exempt themselves from criticism, and struggle to understand how they exist within racist systems. “I believe that white progressives cause the most daily damage to people of color.” It’s not just the unexamined complicity, she says, it’s the effort they go to to signal their work. “To the degree that white progressives think we have arrived, we will put our energy into making sure that others see us as having arrived.” I’m halfway through the book now; while there are no surprises for anyone who has participated in a structured “conversation” about race, there is real value in understanding how deeply held this resistance is.
New Yorker

Franklin, Charlie Brown’s first black friend, turns 50
It was the dog days of summer, a few months after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and a month after Bobby Kennedy was murdered, when  Charlie Brown lost a beach ball. Franklin found it, then the two hung out and built a sand castle together. That was it. But, it was a big deal for 6-year-old Robb Armstrong, a black kid determined to become a cartoonist. “1968 is a very vivid year for me,” he tells NPR. Franklin was not without controversy, however. To some, the bland, largely benign character was the definition of black respectability and failed to deliver the quirks of other, more fleshed out members of the gang. It worked for the time, says Armstrong, who went on to create the blockbuster black-themed come strip Jump Start“I think Schulz played it smartly,” said Armstrong. “He was always very thoughtful into how he treated his characters.”
KQED

A poignant essay on being a Korean adoptee returning to the “motherland”
Rachel Rostad moved back to Korea as an adult, one part English teacher from the Midwest, another part identity shapeshifter looking to sort herself out. “Korean and American were two outfits I chose between, depending on the occasion and whatever would make me most familiar to my audience, whether that meant downplaying my whiteness with fellow people of color, or downplaying my Koreanness with my white extended family,” she writes. But returning to Korea meant that she necessarily confronted a new version of otherness. Her coping mechanism was hiking the steeply verdant hills of the Korean peninsula. Her spoken Korean wasn’t good enough to have other solo adventures, and she wasn’t foreign enough to be attractive to welcoming Korean families. “Being Korean but being unable to actually be Korean makes me feel like I’m wearing yellowface,” she says.
Catapult

Quote

Leaving aside the bloody catalog of oppression, which we are in one way too familiar with already, what this does to the subjugated, the most private, the most serious thing this does to the subjugated, is to destroy his sense of reality. It destroys, for example, his father’s authority over him. His father can no longer tell him anything, because the past has disappeared, and his father has no power in the world. This means, in the case of an American Negro, born in that glittering republic, and the moment you are born, since you don’t know any better, every stick and stone and every face is white. And since you have not yet seen a mirror, you suppose that you are, too. It comes as a great shock around the age of 5, or 6, or 7, to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to discover that Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, when you were rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians were you. 
James Baldwin