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raceAhead: The Lakers Hold Their First-Ever “Pride Night”

October 5, 2018, 6:38 PM UTC

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.



Indelible in

the hippocampus is the

laughter of the crowds.



Hey! Do the Trumps have

tax problems? Did we just dream

all that? <checking notes>



I am sorry: I

was so emotional, so

very impartial.



Another Star Is

Born, an evergreen tale, a

winner by a nose.



We have learned so much

from unbroken women, and

yet nothing at all.


Have a brave and beautiful weekend.

On Point

The Los Angeles Lakers hold first-ever “Pride Night”It sounds like it was a good time, too. The team played the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center, last night, and fans wore Pride t-shirts with Laker logos in rainbow colors. The team honored Jason Collins, who became the league’s first openly gay player in 2013, with an award. “This is my hometown, Los Angeles. I still live here. It’s great to see,” he said. “It’s great to be here for the first-ever Pride Night game. Seeing the Lakers support the LGBT community like this, it’s incredible.”Los Angeles Times

On black women and the health care system
First person accounts of black women in the health care system are essential if we are to finally address the racial disparities in outcomes. This one by Ericka Stallings, who opted for a medically advisable preventative mastectomy at age 29, is a must read and share. She outlines the bigger issues facing black women—inadequate local facilities, inattentive and incomplete care, etc.—and then she breaks down what happened to her. Her ability to find good care and advocate for herself, which included identifying potentially devastating complications her caregivers ignored, was dependent entirely on her strong social network.  “[F]rom cradle to grave, a black woman in the United States can expect to have worse health outcomes than a white woman, she says. It’s time for that to stop.

PWC’s Tim Ryan: CEOs need to think like activist investors
RaceAhead readers have been privy to Ryan’s leadership thinking since this column and newsletter was founded. (It’s worth looking back at his commitment to addressing race and justicein the workplace in this 2017 profile.) But this opinion piece offers more direct advice to his peers: Address your blind spots like an activist investor would. Are you on the right track? Are you executing fast enough? Focusing on the right things?“You have to be willing to confront your teams with tough questions about missed opportunities,” he says. “You can’t be afraid of having uncomfortable conversations about your business or asking your teams: Are our portfolios too broad?” 

Chobani CEO: It’s time for America to re-think immigration
After a recent event for his nonprofit Tent Partnership for Refugees, Hamdi Ulukaya told CNN that many of his employees are worried that they will be permanently separated from their families, due to the actions of the Trump administration. "I have nothing against America first, but 'humanity first too,'" Ulukaya said. Ulukaya started recruiting immigrants and refugees to work at Chobani in 2010, which earned him attacks from far-right conspiracy theorists. Now, about 30% of Chobani's employees are immigrants or refugees. Ulukaya is enlisting the aid of other CEOs to work toward solutions. "They [companies] all know that if you don't find the way to solve this problem, or make it easier, this human tragedy is going to turn into one of the biggest problems for our children going forward," he said.

The Woke Leader

Getting from equality to equity
I was equal parts enlightened and amused by this deep dive into the now famous graphic that explains the difference between equality (everyone gets the same box to stand on) and equity (everyone get the size of box they need to see over a fence.) The distinction is an important one — it’s the difference between every student getting the same amount of money, or some students getting what they need to close the achievement gap. But in the example of the graphic, says educator and organizer Paul Kuttner, the problem is that it reinforces deficit thinking — a viewpoint that blames people for their own situation. What if the metaphor went deeper? What if the graphic showed the characters tearing down the fence to symbolize their agency and liberation? Turns out there is a handy graphic tool that lets you design your own image. Enjoy.
Higher Cultural Organizing

The MacArthur Fellows have been announced
Best of all, they’ve given us 25 more reasons to feel hopeful about the future. There are several fellows working in fields that advance inclusion and understanding: psychologist Kristina Olsen is studying gender and cognitive development of transgender and non-conforming youth and painter Titus Kaphar, among other themes, explores the lack of representation of black people in the Western canon. (He's incredible, check out his work here.) Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II was tapped for his interfaith, multi-racial campaigns for justice. For more, check out the Poor People’s Campaign.
New York Times

Brains of jazz musicians are literally different from classical musicians
Not only that, they register different brain activity even when they are playing the same piece of music. A study from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences involving 30 pianists, half of whom trained in jazz, half in classical music. The study, which involved asking the musicians to imitate a video of a hand playing chords, many of which were unfamiliar, showed that the classical musicians focused on technique, while the jazz pianists brains began “re-planning” sooner, as they prepared to improvise. “In the jazz pianists we found neural evidence for this flexibility in planning harmonies when playing the piano”, says one researcher. The classical pianists followed the unusual fingering more closely and made fewer errors.
Classic FM


I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.
Thelonious Monk