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raceAhead: Botham Jean’s Killer May Be Charged With Murder

November 16, 2018, 6:20 PM UTC

Here’s your (belated) week in review, in haiku*




goes to Washington! In a

very nice jacket.



In the smoke and ash:

We look for the living, and

we pray for the dead.



He-man toilets and

time traveling Bigfoot dolls:

The way we live now.



Acosta gets his

hard pass; Assange gets hard news.

Brexit hard landing?



We are so grateful:

For the light and the dark, for

the work yet to come


*Due to a technical glitch, not everyone received the newsletter scheduled for Friday. Our apologies.

RaceAhead is taking a short break while we work on some projects that we know you’re going to like. In the meantime, take good care and enjoy the upcoming holiday. We are so grateful for you.

RaceAhead will return Tuesday, November 27.

On Point

The newly-elected Dallas district attorney plans to charge Botham Jean’s killer with murderIt’s been nearly two months since former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger killed Botham Jean in his own apartment. Guyger has been charged with manslaughter, considered by many to be too lenient. But newly elected John Creuzot, a former judge, says that anything less than a murder charge would be inconsistent with precedent in Dallas. “[B]ased on what I have seen, manslaughter is an inappropriate charge, based on the circumstances as I understand them,” he told NBC News. “Once I get in there and I get everything in front of me and it appears the most appropriate charge is murder, then that’s the charge we will go forward with.”The Root

Financial journalists draw ire
I was waiting for a more robust response before I flagged this, but none seems to be coming. In an appalling lack of judgment, a group of financial journalists put on a skit last weekend that appeared to mock the debt crisis in Puerto Rico, followed by a tone-deaf take on #MeToo. The Financial Follies have long been an annual cringy delight, including skits and musical numbers from members of the press. The Puerto Rico skit, to the tune of Despacito, also included white journalists dressed in sombreros and ponchos. “Now, now your bad luck/ you owe seventy billion bucks / Which, of course, is more than you could ever pay / All your goodwill ain’t worth a steaming pile of feces…Despacito!”
Latino Rebels

A man shouted “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” during a performance of Fiddler on The Roof
The man, who told police he’d been drinking heavily that day, shouted during the intermission of the performance at Baltimore’s Hippodrome theater this week. He also did the Nazi salute. Audience members panicked, believing that an attack was about to begin. Anthony M. Derlunas told police he had been shaken by the final scene and that the outburst was motivated by his hatred of the president. He was given a ticket and is permanently banned from the venue.
Baltimore Sun

Mississippi Senator jokes about voter suppression
Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is back in the news, after appearing to make light of voter suppression in a campaign stop with supporters. In a video posted yesterday, she seemed to say that laws that make it hard for certain people to vote would be welcome. "And then they remind me that there's a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don't want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that's a great idea," she said. Her campaign says she was joking. I’m no expert, but I’m getting the impression between her shtick about public hangings and this that the Senator doesn’t understand comedy.


The Woke Leader

Wealthy donors of color are largely ignored
A new study from Faces of Giving, a nonprofit, and the social-strategy firm Vaid Group, shows that people of color are largely ignored by mainstream philanthropists, a “spectral presence” whose insights and issues are left out of the conversation. Part of the issue is the wealth gap: Eight million white Americans have a net worth of more than $1 million, compared with 620,000 Asians, 515,000 Hispanics, and 185,000 African-Americans, Chronicle of Philanthropy’s Julian Wyllie reports. But a potential pool of donors of color with an annual income of $500,000 or more is growing, but overlooked. "Many report not having been asked to engage in this kind of giving, further indication that the opportunity is real." No subscription required.
Chronicle of Philanthropy

What is ‘settler fragility’?
Dina Gilio-Whitaker, a lecturer of American Indian studies and a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, helps to explain why so many Americans struggle with conversations about the violence done to Indigenous people throughout history. Settler colonialism is a complex beast, and even non-Native people of color feel compelled to distance themselves from complicity and responsibility in our own history. “The good-bad binary is part of this distancing impulse, because like racism, nobody wants to be associated with genocide and injustice, especially in a country that touts its democracy and equality, and especially for people who have been oppressed by it in other ways,” she writes. It also cuts to the heart of American mythmaking. “This is about deeply questioning all the assumptions we have been raised with in a society built on imperialism, private property (which includes slavery), and capitalism,” she writes.
Beacon Broadside

Refugees and their first American Thanksgivings
Thanksgiving is the rare U.S. holiday that most everyone celebrates (although my Lakota friend once wished me a “happy day of colonialist oppression.”) But for new arrivals in U.S. preparing the very specific meal can be an odd but satisfying new ritual. After two years of getting settled in her new life, Syrian refugee Mayada Anjari is planning her first traditional turkey dinner for her four children and husband. While this is really a story about refugees and the extraordinary people who help them start their new lives—preparing a hot, culturally appropriate meal for new arrivals is an actual federal regulation—the first attempt at an American dish is often a touching benchmark. Turns out, cooking a whole turkey is a counterintuitive move. But Anjari took a shine to brussels sprouts. “’Little cabbages!’ she said with pleasure, slicing one open for the first time.” Bon appetit.
New York Times


This being human is a guest house./ Every morning a new arrival. / A joy, a depression, a meanness, / some momentary awareness comes / As an unexpected visitor. / Welcome and entertain them all! / Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, / who violently sweep your house / empty of its furniture, / still treat each guest honorably. / He may be clearing you out / for some new delight. / The dark thought, the shame, the malice, / meet them at the door laughing, / and invite them in. / Be grateful for whoever comes, / because each has been sent / as a guide from beyond.