As stakeholder capitalism slowly gains ground, immigrant kids are working in sweatshop conditions in suburbs across the U.S. and some employees are more likely to be in urgent need of pandemic-related support than others. And batter up! Major League Baseball breaks a glass ceiling on behalf of four major U.S. sports.
But first, here’s your Dolly Parton week in review, in Haiku.
It took years and years
of nine-to-fives to sing a
song this pure. One verse
to stoke the inner
joy of children far away;
another to slay
vampires, real and
imagined. Jolene raises
roofs, comforts all her
neighbors and stands up
for love is love is justice.
Such a simple song.
Dolly loves us, this
we know: Because her vaccine
will tell us all so.
Larry Fink: Get smart about stakeholder capitalism, make more money This is part of the takeaway from BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s remarks at a Bloomberg New Economy Forum event this week. Across the board, investors are focused on climate change mitigation with an emphasis on the next phases of a green economy. Fink characterized President-elect Joe Biden’s decision to re-engage the Paris climate agreement as “monumental.”
Immigrant teens are forced to work overnight shifts in factories in suburbs around the U.S. Because we have lost our capacity to be shocked, I don’t expect this story to make much of an impact. But if we were still able to feel things, I imagine the idea that immigrant teens, forced to work grinding hours in unsafe conditions to pay debts to smugglers and support faraway families would trigger a profound sense of horror. In suburbs from Urbana-Champaign in Illinois to New Bedford, Mass., children are laboring in food processing plants, construction sites and warehouses. Remind me why unfettered capitalism is a good thing?
How to help “diverse” employees around the world People of color, LGBTQ+, women, working parents and the many intersections therein are struggling in some specific ways, says new research from McKinsey. While workers across the board are struggling with mental health, work overload, life balance, and isolation, these challenges are more urgent among certain key populations. “In majority-white countries, people of color (POC) are especially worried about workplace health and safety, as well as career progression and balancing responsibilities at home,” they find. This comes at a time when many companies are aware of the issues facing their employees, but are still struggling to execute on their DEI strategies. Click through for some ideas.
Johnson & Johnson pledges $100 million to promote better health solutions for communities of color The commitments outlined in their statement describe an interesting mix of potential interventions, including equitable community health care, addressing the racial determinants of health, and initiatives to create inclusive workplace cultures. Add this to the list of big company commitments that we will need to keep a close eye on going forward. “The quality of your healthcare should not be determined by your race and ethnicity,” said Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. More from the company below.
Johnson & Johnson
The painful journey of baseball’s Kim Ng Ng is being correctly celebrated as the first woman and the first East Asian American general manager in baseball history. (In fact, when the Miami Marlins hired her, she became the first female general manager in any of the four major U.S. sports leagues.) But a racist incident in her past which has recently resurfaced offers a reminder of how often people feel comfortable saying the quiet parts out loud. In 2003, Ng worked as an assistant general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and former player Bill Singer, then an executive with the New York Mets, decided to get aggressively ugly with her in a hotel bar during an industry confab.
Spend a little time with Dolly Parton She’s an enduring legend, a savvy brand, an effective philanthropist—she helped fund a COVID vaccine!—and a dedicated employer operating in an otherwise overlooked part of rural America. And, as this wonderful profile makes clear, Dolly Parton is someone we can all agree on. Jad Abumrad was the host of WNYC Studios’ nine-part 2019 podcast Dolly Parton’s America, and had one of the best quotes in the piece. “We talked to these fervent Dolly fans, from Appalachian queer kids to Brooklyn hipsters to [conservative] people in the South. Everyone sees her as theirs.” And then this: “I say this with humility and as someone who is not a believer: There’s something very Christ-like about her.”
Rejected by his adopted country, a Japanese artist found—then created—American beauty Chiura Obata (1885-1975) had been trained in sumi-e, the traditional Japanese ink and brush painting technique, since he was a small child. Obata left his restrictive parents behind and moved to San Francisco shortly before his 18th birthday to continue his work in the arts. “But the American Dream was not on offer,” explains Maria Popova, in Brain Pickings. “[I]nstead, Obata was met with the era’s prevalent racial animosity toward Japanese immigrants, who were socially ostracized, denied entry into restaurants, hotels, and entertainment establishments, and legally prohibited from owning land.” Looking away from the ugliness of humans, he instead turned to the glory of the American West. What followed was an extraordinary body of work celebrated the natural beauty of nature, and which earned him a central spot in the California Watercolor School, a movement which would play an outsized role in twentieth-century art.
raceAhead is edited by Aric Jenkins.
Today's mood board
When you find out from Dr. Anthony Fauci that you're immune to COVID-19 and Christmas can still go on, as long as everybody else stays inside and wears a mask.