raceAhead: Talking Equality with Kaiser Permanente’s Bernard J. Tyson

September 26, 2018, 8:55 PM UTC

Short up top today! I’m on the move at Dreamforce 2018, the annual Salesforce extravaganza. It’s been an extraordinary event so far, with plenty of content to inspire the raceAhead soul.

Feel free to tune-in tomorrow Thursday, Sept. 27 (live stream here) while I moderate two conversations that I know will be of interest to you:

My first is a conversation with Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Permanente at 10:15 a.m.–11:00. Tyson was an important contributor to Fortune’s investigation into the lack of black male representation in executive ranks.

Later that day I’ll be moderating an equality-themed keynote with Blackish star Tracee Ellis Ross and Olympic skater Adam Rippon (!!) at 5:00 – 6:00 (All times are Pacific.)

As always, if you have any questions you’d like me to ask, hit me up.

Finally, I want to pay forward a moment of self-care.

A long time raceAhead reader echoed the messages in my inbox, news feeds and in my conversations with so many of you, with a heartfelt declaration: “I’m exhausted.”

It seems to be everything all at once. The growing number of allegations made by accusers of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Bill Cosby verdict, the soul-searching, the #MeTooing, the traumas revisited and heightened tensions are starting to feel like a reckoning without an end.

“The Cosby timing along with [the coming Kavanaugh hearing] represents the most significant assault on the dominance of men of privilege that I’ve ever witnessed,” he said. “I can’t think of anything like it in history.”

In the spirit of understanding that this moment is temporary and that we are all working to stay level, he sent me a gift to pass along to you: Their pick for the best One-Hit Wonder of all time. “I found it uplifting,” he said.

Enjoy! And ooo child, please know things are gonna get easier.

I’ll see you on the interwebs.

On Point

More powerful womenThe international edition of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women list is out today, featuring women executives who are based outside of the U.S. It’s an inspiring group of women transforming a variety of industries and welcomes several newcomers, including Nunu Ntshingila, an advertising powerhouse who is now tasked with growing Facebook in Africa. Some 97% of sub-Saharan Africa are on the platform each month, and Ntshingila is leading Facebook’s expansion into mobile messaging, VR, storytelling and economic development. At the top of the list is a new No.1: Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline. My colleagues Claire Zillman and Erika Fry profiled Walmsley and her work to revive the 300-year-old drugmaker here. The whole list is below.Fortune

The Root 100 is here
It’s worth putting on the do-not-disturb, pouring a cup of something good and enjoying this extraordinary collection of the annual list of influential African Americans age 25-45. These are folks breaking down barriers and doing the work at the prime of their lives. Taken together, they are a reason to feel hope. You’ll see many familiar names on the list, but I was particularly happy to see Me Too founder and activist Tarana Burke at number one. “Burke describes her activism as "empowerment through empathy," and the Me Too movement she launched for girls and women is that in action.” It took eleven years for her #MeToo hashtag and related movement to gain the traction we so needed. Along with empathy, patience and persistence is a virtue.
The Root

A Veronica Mars reboot is in the works
And here’s the surprise twist for the long-out-of-high-school girl detective: Author and basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar has been tapped to join the writer’s room. Abdul Jabbar has become a prolific writer and social critic since he retired from the game, and has built an extraordinary body of work focusing on art, history, race, class and justice. He even took issue with the racial dynamics of the film LaLa Land. Veronica Mars was already sort of woke, but now? Who knows?
Shadow and Act

A DNA test reveals a man is 4% black. Guess what happened next?
“I’m a certified black man.” Ralph Taylor told The Washington Post that he'd updated his birth certificate to indicate that he is 6% indigenous American and 4% sub-Saharan African. The self-described “visually Caucasian” man, raised by two similarly Caucasian people, was subsequently rejected for a program for minority business owners that would have helped him win state contracts. While his application was approved on appeal, a later application to a similar federal program was denied. It’s led to some thorny questions. What does it mean to be black? Is a NAACP membership sufficient? “It is nonsensical for Mr. Taylor to claim that he has encountered social and economic disadvantage due to a heritage he was not aware of until the DNA test conducted in 2010,” said the recent rejection letter. Taylor is suing.
Washington Post


The Woke Leader

The US government once tried to replace migrant farm workers with college students
It was 1965. The government had grown eager to replace the thousands of migrant workers hired by the country’s Bracero program, which had recruited Mexican men to pick the U.S. harvest since World War II. The new program was called A-TEAM- Athletes in Temporary Employment as Agricultural Manpower.  A group of 20,000 hardy California high school and college men were tapped to pick crops over one summer; the program came with a full court press of propaganda. The media wasn't buying it. “Dealing with crops which grow close to the ground requires a good deal stronger motive" than money or the prospects of a good workout, said a skeptical Detroit Free Press editorial. "Like, for instance, gnawing hunger." Click through for the unsurprising story of the summer when white manly men tried picking cantaloupes in prison-like conditions and 110 degree heat.

On the familiar sting of anti-Micronesian racism
Micronesian people come from island nations who have treaties with the U.S., like Saipan, which is part of the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Their often dark skin – and other linguistic and economic differences -  have made them a target on the U.S mainland but primarily in Hawaii. Native Hawaiians have developed a virulent antipathy to Micronesians, which sounds very much like the anti-black racism experienced in other parts of the world. While the history might be different, the slurs and stereotypes are not. Micronesians are called lazy by educators, and are considered to be gang-affiliated “hood rats" by the public, and are the objects of virulent hate online. Writer Anita Hofschneider, who grew up in Saipain, offers a deep dive into the issue in a two-part story. “There were so many racist posts it was hard to choose which ones to include in the story,” she says.
Civil Beat

A handy guide to cultural misappropriation
Simon Fraser University in Vancouver has published a thoughtful resource that can help people distinguish between borrowing themes for creative inspiration or tribute – which is good, and creating work that disrespects, or does unintentional emotional and economic harm to a group of people. Which is very bad.These are not always easy aesthetic distinctions, but there are often legal ones. For example, the Navajo Nation owns 86 trademark registrations that prevent designers from appropriating their imagery. Think before you appropriate, they say.
Simon Fraser University


To watch Mirai Nagasu go out there and also skate a clean free skate...I mean, we’ve really been through a lot together. Four years ago, we were eating In-N-Out on the roof of her house in Arcadia, Calif., and we were crying that we weren’t at the Olympics. And four years later, we’re sharing an Olympic podium together. So, if you’re ever depressed, go to In-N-Out, and four years later you’ll be at the Olympics!”
Adam Rippon

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