raceAhead: Kevin Hart Out As Oscar Host

December 7, 2018, 7:51 PM UTC

Here’s your week in review, in haiku



Oh, voter fatigue!

Midterms that will never end,

felons on speed-dial



We are arresting

the daughters of company

founders now? Well, then.



The forty-first left

this life lauded by many;

two in silent prayer



Live from the Witch Hunt

Report: Lies, fake news, leaking!




We risked losing you:

And starting a commotion.

Shouldn’t have fallen?




Have a buzzy and love-filled weekend.

On Point

While you were sleeping, Kevin Hart fell all the way apartThe actor, who had been tapped to host the Oscars ceremony, found himself on the wrong end of a public firestorm for previous homophobic and offensive tweets. He inflamed matters with two tone-deaf Instagram non-apologies. Then, last night, he got real and withdrew from Oscar hosting duties. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past,” he tweeted. Had Hart apologized immediately, it might have been an object lesson in public relations mastery, says Variety. But, others see it differently. “For LGBT kids, the apology doesn’t help because the damage is already done having heard a very talented and popular celebrity say the things he did,” Chris Allieri, founder of communications consultancy Mulberry and Astor tells raceAhead. “As with race, gender and now sexuality—the Academy need to practice what they preach. And that means zero tolerance of bigotry of any kind, even if it was supposed to be funny.”Variety

An undocumented worker at a Trump golf property speaks out
Victorina Morales is one of many undocumented workers who are cleaning cottages, maintaining lawns, even doing the President’s personal laundry, at his luxury golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. In this extraordinary story, she shares the harrowing details of how she came to the U.S. from Guatemala, obtained fraudulent papers, and went about making a life for her family with an extraordinary twist: She’s often cleaning on the sidelines while the president and his staff confer. She puts herself at risk for dismissal or worse by speaking out. "We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,” she said. “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.”
New York Times

YouTube fails to enforce its own policies until publicly shamed
The above headline was suggested by Celeste Ng herself after she was unable to get YouTube to take down an account that was impersonating her to post racist videos. The author of Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere reported the account, but was told by the company that the behavior did not meet the company’s “impersonation reporting guidelines.” Ng took to Twitter to force the company’s hand. “I don’t like shaming companies publicly, but you know what? Let’s make an example of this,” she tweeted. The offensive account was suspended yesterday. “All it took was reporting it, screenshots, publicly shaming you, and having my publisher start to look into it? And what about the people who don't have the resources to do that?” she tweeted.

A student is arrested protesting the return of Silent Sam
Maya Little, a 26-year-old graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been arrested and charged with inciting a riot and assaulting a police officer. Little had led a rally to protest the return of the Confederate monument, Silent Sam, to campus, this time in a building dedicated to UNC history. The monument had been torn down by protestors last August. Little says the charges are now typical of these encounters. "The only danger and violence present last night was once again caused by university police who came equipped to a student protest with riot gear and tear gas canisters."


The Woke Leader

Slow progress for diversity in medical education
Following a 2009 mandate that all medical schools must implement some form of diversity admission and retention guidelines, new research suggests the changes are working, albeit slowly. Researchers published a letter yesterday in the JAMA, that finds an uptick in non-white student enrollment in medical schools from 2012-2017. Though the progress is slow – white medical school enrollees were nearly 60% in 2017 – the move seems to have staved off part of the talent drain. From 2002 to 2012, the number of black and female students decreased each year, though Latinx and Asian students slowly increased.

Taking on the X in Latinx
Writer Daniel Hernandez does a deep dive into the origin of “Latinx” a term that has been widely embraced as a way to make the binary Latino/Latina more inclusive for people of all genders, and to stop making the "male" the default when talking about groups of people. There is a bigger issue to confront, he says. “One of the most stubborn aspects of America’s racial imagination is the insistence on having a term to separate and identify people of Latin American descent.” Most people prefer to identify themselves by their family’s country of origin anyway. The term Latin American, which later turned into the vaguely Spanishistic “Latino”, was invented by French colonists to distinguish various colonial efforts. So, why build on an already imperfect term?
Los Angeles Times

Isabel Wilkerson: Michele Obama’s memoir traces a path from the Jim Crow South to the White House
The acclaimed author of The Warmth of Other Suns, does a remarkable job explaining the deep importance of the former first lady’s memoir, Becoming. “Back in the ancestral homeland of Michelle Obama, the architects of Jim Crow took great pains to set down the boundaries and define the roles of anyone living in the pre-modern South,” she begins, reminding us of the violence and humiliation designed into the American caste system, one that sought to permanently brand African Americans as lesser and unequal. “It was with the weight of this history in her bones that Michelle Obama walked onto the world stage…” she says, and it is in the details of her life that this history comes alive, from the fragility of black middle-class ambition to the discipline it took to progress. “One of the great gifts of Obama’s book is her loving and frank bearing-witness to the lived experiences of the black working class, the invisible people who don’t make the evening news and whom not enough of us choose to see.”
New York Times


Clouds of black smoke boiled up from Wheeler Field above the hangar line. From the attacking aircraft I saw objects dropping away, curving down and exploding in bursts of flame. In front of the aircraft, tiny incandescent spots slashed one by one toward the ground. I suddenly realized these pinpricks of light were tracer bullets and that each, when I knew where to look, left a delicate trace of smoke marking its path. I knew that for each tracer I saw four or five rounds I could not see were following. And I knew that most of the enlisted personnel on the ground at Wheeler lived in tents or thin-walled wooden shacks close behind the hangar line, opposite the runways and parking apron for the fighters. I knew many of these men. A few I considered friends.
John Baird, survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor

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