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Microsoft and Google Face Employee Protests

Here’s your week in review in haiku.

 

1.

Sometimes: When one door

shuts, it slams on your fingers.

And then you just scream.

 

2.

Tears on the corner

of Slauson and Crenshaw for

all those left behind.

 

3.

Homes and people swept

away. Where were you when the

rains came to Iran?

 

4.

Boeing is sorry.

Biden is mindful. Billy

Ray is an ally.

 

5.

I look forward to

presenting Mueller’s magnum

opus in haiku

 

Have a safe and mindful weekend.

On Point

Microsoft’s woman problemWhile many more watched on livestream, a group of more than 100 employees attended a meeting with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella yesterday, demanding to know how the chief was planning to address allegations of misogyny and sexism at the company. The meeting follows the posting of an email and discussion thread in which women employees shared stories of abuse, harassment, and being passed over for advancement. The tales are grim. One employee was threatened with death if she didn’t perform a sex act on a man who worked for a Microsoft partner – only to be largely ignored when she reported the incident. The employees who attended the meeting wore white, inspired by the “suffragette white” clothing worn by Congress members at the recent State of the Union.Wired

Google cancels its own AI ethics board
It sounded like a nasty ending, too. The board was supposed to have eight members and meet four times a year to help shape the “responsible development of AI” at the company. But controversy erupted over several board members, including Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James, whose comments about trans people angered Google employees. Other board members were deluged with requests to either resign or explain why they were staying. Then, board member Joanna Bryson defended her decision not to resign because of James this way: “Believe it or not, I know worse about one of the other people.” Right? The board lasted less than a week.  
Vox

Black churches are burning in Louisiana
Three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish have been razed by fire in a ten-day period, while officials can’t say for sure if they’re related, all three fires are being investigated as suspicious and treated as crime scenes. No church members or first responders have been injured so far, and law enforcement is working closely with other black churches to increase security. 
KLFY News

Movie theater owners ask for more inclusive films
At this year’s CinemaCon convention, the annual confab of the  National Association of Theatre Owners, diversity was top of mind. The reason? The bottom line. Where “diverse” films used to be reserved for the indie set, “Black Panther” changed the image of what was possible for a blockbuster movie. “Crazy Rich Asians” is also a big part of the new reality. “It has changed culture forever,” said director John M. Chu. Diversity is also about rich storytelling, including all genders, religions, orientations and political affiliations. And maybe stop with the movies about immigrants for Hispanic audiences. “There’s 60 million Latinos in the United States…Forty million are native-born,” says Moctesuma Esparza, founder of Maya Cinema. “The native-born really don’t watch Spanish-language cinema. The native-born, they went to go see ‘Black Panther,’ because they related to it.”
CNBC

On Background

Cudjo Lewis may no longer be the last known enslaved person
Lewis, who died in 1935, has long been considered to be the last survivor of the slave trade, but new research suggests that a woman named Redoshi may have lived even longer. A researcher at Newcastle University in Britain searched various accounts, including census records, to trace Redoshi’s path across the horrific Middle Passage at age 12, through enslavement and the Civil War, then ultimately as a poor farmer during the Great Depression. She is believed to have been taken from her West African village in 1860; Zora Neale Hurston later discovered Redoshi while doing research in the South. It was partly from Hurston’s unpublished works that researcher Hannah Durkin was able to piece together her story. Redoshi, whose name while enslaved was Sally Smith, also appeared in an instructional film released in 1938 by the Department of Agriculture called “The Negro Farmer: Extension Work for Better Farming and Better Living.” She died in 1937.
New York Times

Nobody loves racism anymore
For more than fifty years, the romance novel publishers have claimed the genre was also for high minded and serious readers. But only in the last few years has it been willing to embrace the bigoted elephant in the room. “For decades, publishers had confined many black romance authors to all-black lines, marketed only to black readers,” explains Lois Beckett. Three highly successful romance novelists, Beverly Jenkins, Alisha Rai, and Alyssa Cole have been taking on the status quo while delighting audiences of every hue. And the conversations get very interesting. “Many, many years ago, when I first started writing, someone said to me: ‘Oh, this is the first book where the heroine had brown nipples, like on the page,’ said Rai at a recent panel discussion on the industry. “I’m pretty sure nipples come in all shades, but they’re always, like, pink on the page, or berries, or some kind of pink fruit.”
The Guardian

Thasunda Brown Duckett gets the star treatment she deserves
Duckett is currently the chief executive of Chase consumer banking (and Fortune MPW star.) She comes with all the hallmarks of an inspiring true story: Growing up poor, dedicated parents, and sent on a professional path by a special internship program designed to get underrepresented talent into the business world. While she remains the hardest worker in any room — “You need to be two times better. You need to be so good that you can’t be denied,” her mother once advised her, she’s also learned to be a dedicated leader. “Early in my career I learned that the mission is to establish relationships,” she said.  
New York Times

 

Quote

While photographs certainly attest to Nazi crimes, the magnitude of Nazi genocide demands that every trace of the regime be forever remembered. The various symbols devised by the Nazi image-makers for the most sophisticated visual identity of any nation are a vivid reminder of the systematic torture and murder engaged in by this totalitarian state. These pictures, signs, and emblems are not merely clip art for contemporary designers to toy with as they please, but evidence of crimes against humanity.
—Steven Heller