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What ‘Megxit’ Says About Britain’s Communities of Color

January 10, 2020, 6:50 PM UTC

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While the world finds a creative way to help rescued animals in Australia, Hollywood assistants gear up for a fight, a sudden #Megxit doesn’t surprise everyone, and the BBC pledges to shake its elitist, white image.

But first, here’s your Friday week in review, in Haiku.

I’ve found comfort in
this unexpected call to
arms: Crafters Unite!

Injured animals
in Australia need pouches,
wraps, and carry bags.

You sew? You can help!
Why stop there? Let crafters send
knitted relief to

SCIF rooms and briefings,
calm the fat-shamers, royals,
politicos. Sounds

nice, right? A global
campaign of makers, soothing
a fiery world.

Have a safe and meaningful weekend.

Ellen McGirt
@ellmcgirt
Ellen.McGirt@fortune.com

On Point

If you want to know why Meghan Markle wanted out, ask a Black Briton Author Afua Hirsch says there's no point speculating about what caused the royal split. "If the media paid more attention to Britain’s communities of color, perhaps it would find the announcement far less surprising," she begins. Besides the obvious harassment by the tabloid press, there’s a new prime minister who traffics in openly racist speech, "some of which would make even Donald Trump blush," a nationalist Brexit scheme, and hostility toward immigrants. "Many of us are also thinking about moving," she says. But the abuse has been real. (I’d forgotten that the very first headline about Markle declared she was "(almost) straight outta Compton.")
New York Times

The BBC strives for socioeconomic diversity in its workforce and coverage It’s been a year since an internal review revealed that BBC employees felt the media outlet had an “overwhelmingly middle-class image” which reflects poorly on management practices and on-air coverage. Enter RAISED, which stands for Real Action in Socio-Economic Diversity, a new internal network tasked with making sure that people from all economic backgrounds are thriving in the workplace. The findings from the review was published last October in a report called, "Reflecting the Socio-Economic Diversity of the U.K." It revealed a tense culture. “Once inside the BBC, staff from working class backgrounds feel pressure to assimilate, to ‘fit in’ and feel that their career advancement has been hindered because they don’t have the right accent.” RAISED has a plan. Registration required.
Broadcast Now UK

Hollywood assistants demand a re-write of their job descriptions They’ve taken to meeting in large numbers, sharing horror stories, and making plans. These assistant gigs-to-bigwigs have always held an outsized promise for aspiring screenwriters, producers, and directors, but the low pay, long hours, and abuse make the job untenable for anyone who doesn’t already have a trust fund, a thick skin and/or a foot in the door. Now, they’re organizing, #MeToo style. "I just don’t think we can be silent on certain things anymore," says former assistant at ICM, Kiran Subramaniam.
New York Times

On Background

How a homecoming video produced by the University of Wisconsin created an uproar about race Three New York Times reporters were in the middle of interviewing University of Wisconsin-Madison students about a variety of things: Their aspirations, student debt, relationships, race, all the big topics. And then a video about the school was created and posted by the student-led homecoming committee—“a short, visual ode to school spirit”—as part of a series of events to celebrate Homecoming Week. Nearly every student in the video was white. There was an immediate backlash. Suddenly, the Times team had a new story to report. “To students of color, the homecoming video was a glimpse of what they experienced every day as they walked through campus,” they found. This tick-tock of events, including additional first-person commentary, shows how the school, already under fire for failing to address incidents of bias, struggled to manage what happened next.
New York Times

Two forgotten Georgia writers challenged white supremacy during Jim Crow Matthew Teutsch, the director of the Lillian E. Smith Center at Piedmont College, recalls two authors, now mostly unknown, who compelled him “to challenge the vine-choking beliefs about race that are deep within us." Frank Yerby, who was Black, Seminole, and white, was a romance novelist; his first book was published in 1946 and was an instant hit. The Foxes Of Harrow, a literary answer to Gone With The Wind, made Yerby the first African American ever to sell the film rights for a book. The film was subsequently nominated for an Oscar. Lillian Smith, who was white, is best known for her novel, Strange Fruit, but also published a radically liberal quarterly with her partner Paula Snelling from 1936 to 1945. She was mentioned in Martin Luther King’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” as a Southerner who “grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it.”
The Bitter Southerner

Kurt Lewin, the founder of social psychology, was a refugee Psychology Today asks a poignant question: What if the U.S. had not let Kurt Lewin in? Lewin was a German Jewish refugee, and the only member of his immediate family to escape death in Nazi concentration camps. But he went on to be a founder of social psychology, management theory, and a contributor to an influential theory called "the interactionist perspective," a fascinating and more inclusive alternative to the “nature vs. nurture” idea of personality development. (Have you ever used the term "safe space"? You can thank Lewin.) The author then goes on to trace Lewin’s influence through a professional "genealogy" that describes his now wide-reaching impact on the field of human understanding. “One refugee and another and many others set in motion critical influences that made you who you are. The you that you now know would not exist without them,” he says.
Psychology Today

 

Quote

"The American cultural ideal of the self-made man, of everyone standing on his own feet, is as tragic a picture as the initiative—destroying dependence on a benevolent despot. We all need each other. This type of interdependence is the greatest challenge to the maturity of individual and group functioning."

Kurt Lewin