A Writer Called Pete Buttigieg a “Lying MF.” Then Buttigieg Called Him.

(Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.)
Kalaniana_Island—Getty Images

This is the web version of raceAhead, Fortune’s daily newsletter on race, culture, and inclusive leadership. To get it delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.

Here’s your short holiday-week in haiku.

“Good holiday of
colonial oppression 
to you and yours!” she

waved goodbye and grinned.
We were standing by the
side of the road in

Pine Ridge, November’s
last warm day, sage smoke still swirled.
She taught rock guitar

to girls on the Rez. 
“They need to learn their power, 
they need a big voice

to fight and stay safe.”  
The day before Thanksgiving
now belongs to her.


Don’t forget to post pictures of the holiday food that bring you comfort and joy on Instagram with the hashtag #fortunefeast. (Or just email them to ellen.mcgirt@fortune.com.) We might feature your photo in a future raceAhead edition.

Enjoy your time off with friends and family. We are grateful for your big voices. RaceAhead returns on December 2. 

Ellen McGirt

On Point

Pete Buttigieg Town Hall Meeting
(Robert Franklin—South Bend Tribune via AP)

Pete Buttigieg called Michael Harriot and they talked
Yesterday, Harriot posted Pete Buttigieg is a Lying MF, a blistering critique of an interview Buttigieg gave in 2011 on what ails the Black community. It created such buzz that the presidential hopeful called him to talk about it. Buttigieg gave the world a gift by providing Harriot another reason to write another wrenching and essential piece. It also sounds like he mostly listened. It’s a good start. “Pete Buttigieg didn’t want to tell me his side of the story. He didn’t excuse himself by explaining that the comments referenced by the article were made years ago,” says Harriot. “He didn’t even try to explain his plan for black America.” It’s also a master class in how to have an opinion: Harriot watched the entire 58 minute interview he later critiqued, had facts to share beyond his own experience, and then explained exactly why Black voters support Black candidates.
The Root

A “toxic culture” on America’s Got Talent got Gabrielle Union fired
Popular judges Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough were both cut from the show, despite being credited with providing a much-needed ratings boost. At issue is an alleged “toxic culture” behind the scenes, one which failed to curb racist humor, and one which gave oppressive feedback to both women about their physical appearance. “Union was subjected to a very specific critique — that her rotating hair styles were ‘too black’ for the audience of ‘AGT,’ a note she received over half a dozen times,” reports Variety. Union had also critiqued the racial insensitivity of certain performers and was ignored.

Japan sees a surge in support for gay marriage
What remains to be seen is if country-wide legal protections will follow. Some local jurisdictions have been acknowledging same-sex marriages, and many of Japan’s strict corporations have become more welcoming. Yet in spite of some public gains, progress feels fraught. “The Japanese people think we should recognize same-sex marriage,” Taiga Ishikawa, the first openly gay man elected to the country’s Parliament told the New York Times. But plenty of politicians “still have outdated views on this,” or believe “that same-sex relationships are a ‘hobby’ or will add to the declining birthrate.”
New York Times


On Background

Telling a new kind of Thanksgiving story
Esmerelda Bermudez and her husband quit celebrating American Thanksgiving ages ago. It made them uneasy. “As immigrants from El Salvador and Armenia, we know about the sorrow of having our pasts rewritten, our genocide and massacres, time and time again, neglected or denied,” she writes. But having a child made that decision more complicated. “I wanted to call my friend Jason, a full-blooded Navajo and the only Native person I’ve ever known,” she says. “But it felt odd to ask him, out of the blue: Hey, Jason, how do I explain to my daughter what really happened to your people?” Even without a blueprint, they worked out a way. A wonderful, must-read essay.
Los Angeles Times

The foodways of skid row
Skid row, in downtown Los Angeles, is a devastating place to visit, a true indictment of the country’s inability to deal with the homelessness crisis. Lucas Kwan Peterson, a columnist and video producer for the Los Angeles Times food section, recently visited skid row for an unusual episode of the “Off Menu,” video series. Instead of reviewing tony eateries and meeting up-and-coming chefs he spent time with the people who are providing fresh, healthy food, job training, and more to those trapped in chronic poverty.  Homelessness is up 12% in Los Angeles County to nearly 60,000 people and up 16% in the city of Los Angeles alone, where the number tops 36,000. “Skid row can be a rough place, but it’s also a neighborhood,” says Peterson. “Not everyone is the same, and not everyone is there for the same reasons.” But they all gotta eat.
Los Angeles Times

What technology can learn from the wisdom of the crowd
This lively analysis from “geek comedian” and commentator Heather Gold takes what she’s learned about communicating in front of a live audience and helps identify what makes for a good conversation.“I believe the single most important element in aiding someone to speak in a group is the feeling of being listened to with interest,” she says. Easy to say, but hard to do. She singles out poorly designed video chat as a barrier to communication; the main features coded into Google Hangouts and Apple’sGroup FaceTime, make the image of the speaker REALLY BIG, while making all the listeners equally small. She raises fascinating questions about what this means for marginalized people in the workplace, and then explores a remedy. “Let’s think about what this would look like as a piece of software design,” she posits. What if the design actually helped speakers connect with the most attentive listeners? Also: What if we did that in real life?

Tamara El-Waylly helps write and produce raceAhead.


"Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving.'" 

Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving


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