Trailblazing Actor Diahann Carroll Has Died: raceAhead

Here is your week in review, in haiku.

Bullshit and jock straps
downs and tantrums while

Ukraine’s defense lapsed
Suspicious text messages
making the case? Is

this the end of the
whole human race? When the
yield’s curve, when the storms

hit, when elections
come, we all will remember
how crazy things were…

And if it all falls
apart, we’re all gonna be
well and truly pissed.

Go enjoy your favorite things this weekend. RaceAhead knows how hard you work.

On Point

Trailblazing singer and actor Diahann Carroll has died The Bronx-born Carroll was working on Broadway and in Hollywood musicals when a producer approached her to take the lead role in Julia, a television show about a widowed nurse raising a young son. She became the first African-American woman to star in a non-stereotypical role (like a maid, etc.) in a primetime network series. It was an amazing breakthrough—her character was strong, outspoken, anything but the underdog. "We were saying to the country, 'We're going to present a very upper-middle-class black woman raising her child, and her major concentration is not going to be about suffering in the ghetto,'" Carroll once said. Critics thought it was a missed opportunity to highlight racial issues. "But we were of the opinion that what we were doing was important, and we never left that point of view,” she said. She was 84.
Hollywood Reporter

Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond puts The Business of Fashion on notice In what can best be described as a blistering screed, the designer took the prestigious fashion publication The Business of Fashion to task, first on Instagram, and later in a seven-minute read on Medium. It’s not just insidery stuff. He was legitimately angry about something that lots of underrepresented folks are: To be asked for their ideas to "diversify" an event or initiative, only to have them stolen and your work erased. He’s also stopped participating in group panels. "My reason is that so many of these group panels just lump us all in, 'Black in Fashion' or 'Diversity & Inclusion' when the reality is my family is vastly different, making strides in every category—sustainability, politics, VC," he writes. But he really gets angry when he explains what happened after he "volunteered" to improve the diversity of the magazine’s lists and events. "To have your brain picked for months, be told that your talk at the 'Salon' and work inspired this whole thing, and then be excluded in favor of big brands who cut the check is insulting."

The growing business of migrant child care The Trump Administration is increasingly relying on a private, for-profit contractor to take care of the many young migrant children currently separated from their families and in U.S. custody. It is a notable shift from the primarily religious-based, non-profit caregivers that have typically done this work. By this summer, one company, owned by D.C.-based contractor Caliburn International Corp, held some 20% of all migrant children in government custody. Even though the number of children in detention has declined somewhat, this investigation conducted by The Associated Press and the PBS news program FRONTLINE, found that one Florida facility with 2,000 workers is still on the payroll, even though the last child left in August. Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly joined Caliburn’s board this spring.

The Gay Men’s Health Crisis turns 37, announces new legal center People of a certain age will remember the extraordinary work the GMHC was a small but dedicated group fighting for patients during the earliest years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Their name reflects what was believed back in the day—that a terrible and always fatal illness appeared to be targeting gay men, and no help was coming. The GMHC is now a global organization that provides essential, volunteer-led HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and advocacy services for anyone who needs them. At their most recent gala, they honored Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund Co-Founder and GMHC board chair Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan with the Joan H. Tisch Award for community service and philanthropy, but even better, they announced the new Roberta Kaplan Legal Center, which will provide free legal services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Kaplan may be best known for her or her landmark Supreme Court case, which affirmed the rights of same-sex couples to legally marry. Read raceAhead’s most recent interview with Kaplan here. She’s a good one, she is.

On Background

The diversity of U.S. states and cities ranked The folks at WalletHub, an AI-driven personalized personal finance site, ranked U.S. states and cities using 14 different metrics along six key dimensions: 1) Socio-economic Diversity, 2) Cultural Diversity (which includes race), 3) Economic Diversity, 4) Household Diversity, 5) Religious Diversity, and 6) Political Diversity. They matched the list with fascinating commentary from experts on the economic and social value of diversity, and how states and cities can encourage more of it. The data is beautifully presented and easy to search, embed and share. This is an excellent package and well worth your time. WalletHub did not pay me for this review, by the way.

Adios to Mr. Spanish Growing up in the 1950s in Marfa, Tex., meant segregated schools for Latinx kids. Spanish was their first language. But Maggie Marquez and Jessi Silva remember one day when their language was banned for good. In this poignant StoryCorps audio account, the two recalled when their teacher asked them to write down on a piece of paper, "I will not speak Spanish in school." The papers were put into a box and buried in a ceremony the teacher called the “burial of Mr. Spanish." When Marquez protested, she was hit with a paddle. For their families, however, things weren’t so simple.

Understanding the FBI and 'Black Identity Extremism' Andrew Cohen, a fellow at The Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law and busy legal analyst, has written an essay that helps explain and contextualize the FBI’s rationale behind a new “Black Identity Extremists” movement, in which “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will likely serve as justifications for such violence.” Cohen is not having it. "[T]here is no 'BIE movement,' but in the fertile mind of those within the Trump Administration who want you to believe there is some sinister black force out there bent on attacking police officers," he says. Instead, there is a long history of surveillance and intimidation of black citizens, which "goes beyond legitimate law enforcement into paranoia, racism, and political expediency."
Brennan Center


"There’s a feeling about segregation, that awful feeling that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life, is that you are hopelessly powerless. There is nothing you can do. I remember I was traveling with my mother, we were going to visit my mother’s family in North Carolina. Usually we traveled by car, but this time I had to go with my mother on the train… In Washington, D.C., the conductor came to those of us in this particular car to explain to us that it was time to move to another car because this car is no longer an integrated car. So all of the 'Negroes' have to move two cars down… I thought for a moment that he’d made a mistake, but my mother said no, we have to move… She was ashamed, really. Not ashamed of her blackness, but ashamed of a country that she should have to subject me to that kind of treatment."

Diahann Carroll

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