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raceAhead: Howard Schultz – Spoiler or Savior?

February 1, 2019, 8:05 PM UTC

Here’s your week in review, in haiku



Everybody is

now running for president

except Cardi B.



Vice gets sliced, Buzzfeed

is shorn, Gannett stops the press.

Breaking: broken news.



Knock, knock. Who’s not there?

Don junior talking about

Russia, that’s not who!



Black History Month:

So much Tubman talk! And of

course, peanut butter.



At what age do black

boys stop smiling in photos?

When they see the world?


Have a vortex-free and historic weekend.

On Point

What makes Howard run?Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has expressed surprise at the vocal opposition to his possible third-party candidacy for president, and has promised not to enter the race if he sees no pathway to win. He’s got some serious headwinds, says opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie. For one thing, it just won’t work in a winner-take-all Electoral College system. And history shows that there are reasons why people are worried that an independent candidate would be more spoiler than savior. The independent candidates who got some traction with voters, “weren’t self-proclaimed “independents”railing against “divisiveness” from the center; they were polarizers who built support by cultivating personal followings and sharpening ideological, cultural and geographic divides.” History is cool.New York Times

Jussie Smollet’s family releases a statement
“We want to be clear, this was a racial and homophobic hate crime," the family wrote in the statement to ABC News. They also took the time to thank fans for their vocal support and to reassure everyone that Smollett had cooperated fully with the police. Then this: "We want people to understand these targeted hate crimes are happening to our sisters, brothers and our gender non-conforming siblings, many who reside within the intersection of multiple identities, on a monthly, weekly, and sometimes even daily basis all across our country. Oftentimes ending fatally, these are inhumane acts of domestic terrorism and they should be treated as such."
ABC News

Turns out, many of the Clemson national championship football team members passed on the fast food
The Root spoke with three black Clemson football players, who confirmed that many others, both black and white, passed on the chance to travel to the White House to meet the president, citing concerns with the president's record on race. “Even more telling,“ writes the always readable Michael Harriot, “most of Clemson’s white players were in attendance while nearly three-fourths of the school’s black football players took a hard pass on the chance to eat cold fries with the president of people who eat salads from McDonald’s.” The players who spoke out opted for anonymity, a nod to the fraught nature of the situation. Some who did attend were concerned that a no-show might affect their scholarships or careers. “Not saying anything against the players who went,” the junior explained, “but if you look at who went—freshman and people fighting for playing time—you’ll see what I’m talking about.” (h/t Liam’s dad.)
The Root

School principal “meant no offense” by wearing blackface
Lisa Boyer, the principal at Friendship Elementary School in Glen Rock, was forced to apologize when a photo of her in blackface was posted to social media. Boyer had attended a team-building exercise with other adults, the theme of which was the television show “Family Feud.” She went as the host Steve Harvey. She put dark makeup on her face. She was outed on Twitter by a former food service contractor. Click through for the apology from both the principal and school district, and quote from the adults in the room who were surprised this caused any offense and a good explanation of the horror of blackface. White privilege allowed the principal to not see that anything that she did was racially insensitive, and what follows is a continuation of a hollow apology,” said the executive director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
USA Today

On Background

The time when Mary Poppins wore blackface
So here’s something I didn’t know. There’s a scene in Mary Poppins – from the P. L. Travers’s books and also Disney’s 1964 adaptation – where the flying nanny gets some chimney soot on her face. Instead of wiping it off, she puts more on, making her face quite black. When Julie Andrews did it, it seemed like she was being a good sport about the dirt to many young viewers. But the reference in the books meant something quite different. When other Londoners see the sooty nanny, they seem to believe that she’s black and call her racist slurs or other insults. It also plays out in the 1964 film to comedic end, says Daniel Pollack-Pelzner. “It’s a parody of black menace; it’s even posted on a white nationalist website as evidence of the film’s racial hierarchy.”
New York Times

Remembering Margaret Garner
I’m a fan of the “Overlooked” project in The New York Times, which publishes new obituaries of remarkable non-white men who were traditionally ignored by the paper. (Sylvia Plath?!?) This edition focuses on black people, a correction of the historical record that operates as a form of reparation. It’s not hard to imagine how this wrenching memorial, written by Rebecca Carroll, would have made an impact if it had been published at the time. “Margaret Garner (1834-1858) who was born as an enslaved girl, almost certainly did not plan to kill her child when she grew up and became an enslaved mother,” she begins. “But she also couldn’t yet know that the physical, emotional and psychological violence of slavery, relentless and horrific, would one day conspire to force her maternal judgment in a moment already fraught with grave imperative.”
New York Times

Even “neutral” layoffs disproportionately affect underrepresented talent
Bottom line, when layoffs occur, diversity goals take a hit, says sociology professor Alexandra Kalev. Her research shows it’s a nasty trap: Since people of color and women were often added in more recent inclusion efforts, majority culture employees often survive mass cuts. Even minorities in leadership are vulnerable since they’re often found in areas that are not deemed essential to the core business, like human resources, legal, and communications. Yet senior executives fail to consider diversity when necessary cuts are made.“’Our layoff criteria are strictly based on colorblind stuff…always based on what is your job title.’ In their minds, downsizing is about erasing parts of the organizational chart, not about gender or race,” she says.


Looky here, America / What you done done- / Let things drift / Until the riots come / Now your policemen / Let your mobs run free /  I reckon you don’t care about me / You tell me that hitler / Is a mighty bad man / I guess he took lessons from the ku klux klan […] I ask you this question / Cause I want to know / How long I got to fight / BOTH HITLER — AND JIM CROW.
—Langston Hughes