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How Are You Keeping Your Hispanic Employees Safe?: raceAhead

August 5, 2019, 9:50 PM UTC

The manifesto, still under investigation by authorities, was posted 20 minutes before the shooting.

It was a 2,300-word screed that blamed immigrants and firstgeneration Americans for taking jobs. It was filled with racist tropes and white supremacist talking points. And then, the rampage began.

The horror that unfolded in an El Paso, Tex. Walmart was only the first of two mass shootings that occurred over the weekend. 

I expect to spend the rest of the week unpacking all the facts as they unfold.

Also the context: The dangerous rhetoric excusing mass violence (mental illness, video games, transgender people). The disgraceful unwillingness to call white terrorism what it is. (“How many people do white terrorists have to kill before America treats them as more dangerous than people of color?” asks Ibram X. Kendi.) And the bright line that has been drawn from the words and tweets of the President to the rise of hate speech, harassment, and violence. 

But today, I’m handing the mic to Karla Monterroso, the CEO of Code2040, a nonprofit organization that helps increase the representation of people of color in technology, and a vital part of the Fortune community.

Monterroso is directly addressing what most leaders don’t seem to realize that they too are facing: A life and death emergency.

“We’ve had to hire full security details and talk to them about what it looks like to be in community with Black and Latinx people,” she tells raceAhead.

She also shared her thoughts publicly.

“As I’ve moved into the CEO role at Code2040, the hate directed to us has morphed into ‘they give jobs to illegals.’ I’ve been told that I’m doing everything from leading the white genocide to how I should be put on a train to Mexico and violated,” she tweeted.*

“You can never tell how serious a threat is so we’ve taken lots of steps to digitally and physically protect the team and our events. And I’ve had a variety of people ask why I take it so seriously in a variety of ways. Ultimately, it is because [of] days like [the El Paso shooting.]”

“It is because the rise in hate has a band leader revving up the crowds. And few in power/with power takes the band members seriously until it is too late.”

I keep thinking about the #FortuneTech conference I was at last month where in a town hall in response to a moderator asking about hate speech and racism in content moderation a woman from @Heritage said ‘So what?’”

“She said the ‘So what?’ with the casual flippancy of a person who has never had to and will never have to think about a white supremacist killing spree targeted at her community.”

“She then said some platitudes about freedom of speech. And I will repeat what I said then. For some of us, speech in the internet context is definitively not free. It has cost money, trauma, and lives.”

So I hope we see a lot of tech CEO’s tomorrow denouncing radicalization incited by the man occupying the Presidency. I swear to you, whatever you think it will risk for you, it is not nearly as high as the risk your Black and Latinx employees are incurring at his tiny hands.”

Leaders: What say you? Let us know.

*raceAhead has permission to amplify her remarks.

On Point

FBI Director: There’s been an ‘uptick’ in domestic terrorism arrests in 2019 Of the 90 arrests made so far this year, many were related to white supremacy. The exact number of white supremacy-related arrests remains “imprecise,” reports the Washington Post, but FBI Director Christopher A. Wray did point out that the number increased from last year. This also brings the domestic terrorism total closer to the 100 arrests made in relation to international terrorism. Most cases with a racial motive are linked to white supremacy, he said. As of May, according to NPR, there were about 850 domestic terrorism cases under investigation by the FBI. Washington Post

Lower-income students face unique challenges in the workplace, despite Ivy League degree These students now make up around 15% of elite school populations, with many of them being the first in their families to go to college. Many feel ill-equipped to address the “social divisions” they may experience while attending elite schools—and that extends beyond graduation. Although fresh with an Ivy League degree and a new job, these students lack what their former classmates and new colleagues have, like work clothes, apartments, professional networks. It can make work gatherings uncomfortable, says Chantel Brown, who found that sometimes co-workers would be dismissive to staff. To others, increased pressure comes from family members who “suspect a new identity,” forcing them to question who they are, bringing added pressure to show the elite school was worth it. Hechinger Report

More Japanese women than ever are working, but society still lags behind Nearly 70% of Japanese women from the age 15 to 64 are working—“a record ” according to the New York Times. And to not become burdened with what much of Japanese society still sees as women-only obligations (raising children, household upkeep, laundry, other chores), more women are opting to avoid marriage. It’s not just about pursuing a career. For some women, it’s also a bid for independence. “I wanted to figure out how to live on my own,” Sanae Hanaoka said in a wedding ceremony she held for herself. “I want to rely on my own strength.” The country is slowly responding to the shift, as more businesses cater to single women. Meanwhile, Japanese politicians—mainly all men—fear for what more single women over the age of 35 means for the country’s shrinking population. New York Times

In ‘Euphoria,’ Zendaya leads the narrative on ‘the black girl’s coming of age’ Much of the conversation around HBO’s new show misses the point. Sure, the show is graphic, writes Zeba Blay, but it’s “the first teen TV drama centered on the life of a teenage black girl.” More importantly, is that the title character, Rue, a teenager with a drug addiction, completely controls the narrative. The point-of-view (Rue’s) allows for an “unflinching portrait,” and gives rare room for a black teenager to truly be a teenager. HuffPost

On Background

What we mean when we say we’re 'not a racist' Greg Howard, a David Carr fellow at the New York Times, has written an important essay on our long, tortured history with the idea of being “racist,” and how the toxic nature of the accusation prevents us from talking about real solutions. “Racism ceased to be a matter of systems and policy and became a referendum on the rot of the individual soul,” he writes. “This was a convenient thing for white Americans to believe.” New York Times

Remembering Operation Wetback It was the response to a guest worker program gone wrong, a product of the Eisenhower administration’s attempt to bring some sort of relief to the abuse experienced by Mexican farm laborers, which included mass deportations and mob violence throughout the Great Depression. By the 1950s, Anti-Mexican sentiment and violence grew to a fever pitch, fueled in part by fears that every laborer was a Communist in disguise. In the go-to book on the operation, Impossible Subjects, historian Mae Ngai describes deportation ships that that were later compared in Congressional reports to “eighteenth century slave ship[s]” and “penal hell ship[s].” It was horrific. “Some 88 ‘braceros’ died of sun stroke as a result of a round-up that had taken place in 112-degree heat,” she wrote. Fortune

Why do people love the Confederate flag? When Donna Ladd, a journalist based in Jackson, Miss., asked why people still love their Confederate flag despite its history, the answers were mostly what you’d expect. But the history itself is at issue. White resentment from the Civil War and Reconstruction persists in Mississippi; along with a high number of casualties, the state went from being the richest from slavery to one of the poorest. But a revised version of Civil War events underlies their efforts to “preserve their history,” and Ladd is admirably armed with facts that dispute the idea that the South seceded over state’s rights, and not slavery. But the wounds still seem fresh. “People like me… it’s in our blood. We know about our family, their sacrifices,” says Larry McCluney, Jr., a national officer in the Sons of Confederate Veterans. “Slavery was an issue, but not the cause.” The Guardian

Tamara El-Waylly helps produce raceAhead.


“[White southerners] are not bad people. All they are concerned about is to see that their sweet little girls are not required to sit in school alongside some big overgrown Negroes.”

President Dwight Eisenhower