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The crisis in Texas continues

February 19, 2021, 7:41 PM UTC

Texas Senator Ted Cruz is under fire for taking a Mexican vacation while his state is in crisis; how to help Asian Americans targeted by hate; a legislative fix for single parents; and we say good-bye to a sweet and affable trailblazing rap star.

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

Free to a good home:
I’m a very good boy! And
I come with my own 

bucket of kibble.
Bolder than my name suggests;
I’m ready to stay

behind if you need
essential services your
district can’t provide.

But I’d rather not
be without a family.
I don’t really need

much: Some unfrozen
water and scritches, and the
heat of your warm hearts.

Sending love and luck to all who are stuck in the cold. Hang in there. 

Ellen McGirt

On point

Already exhausted by the pandemic, Black and Hispanic Texans brace for the worst While the deep freeze and subsequent failure of the power grid has spared few households, communities of color in Texas tend to be filled with older, more vulnerable homes and fewer neighborhood services — like health care and good food options. For lower income people already dealing with un- or underemployment, it’s been a nightmare. “Low-income Texans of color bore some of the heaviest weight of the power outages as the inequities drawn into the state’s urban centers were exacerbated in crisis,” reports the Texas Tribune. “As temperatures dropped into single digits in Austin, electricity was kept on in neighborhoods sharing circuits with critical facilities like hospitals — facilities less commonly found in poor communities or those whose residents are predominantly Black and Hispanic.”
Texas Tribune 

Fat Boys rapper Prince Markie Dee dies, and way too soon, at 52. He was a much-beloved, trailblazing artist who helped establish the potential of hip-hop back in the day. Dee, along with Darren Robinson (the Human Beatbox) and Damon Wimbley (Kool Rock Ski) were launched after winning a talent contest in 1983, and spent the better part of the next decade turning their beatboxing and good-natured lyrical antics into Platinum albums and other entertainment fare. After they retired as a group, Brooklyn-born Mark Anthony Morales went on to a solo career writing and producing music for greats like Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige. (I didn’t know he wrote “Real Love,” her first number one hit.) But back in the day, The Fat Boys reigned supreme. “They were figuratively (no weight jokes) the biggest act in hip hop at some point in time,” Questlove wrote on Instagram.
Rolling Stone

Rep. Katie Porter is a single mom with a plan She’s one of the few single parents in Congress with young kids, and was a fierce supporter of single mothers and struggling parents even before the pandemic began. She’s recently reintroduced her Family Savings for Kids and Seniors Act, that would, in part, update the amount of pre-tax money families can set aside for care by pegging it (finally) to inflation, and (finally) taking into account households with multiple children. In this interview with The 19th, she does the math. “I remember having my second child, but now my cost has doubled and I still only get $5,000 [to set aside for the child care allowance]. Then I had a third child. I always thought, ‘Who in Washington thought child care costs $5,000?’”
The 19th

How to support AAPI communities targeted by hate The editors of New York magazine’s The Strategist site have found 45 organizations fighting hate and disinformation leveled at Asian Americans worth supporting. “We’ve organized this list based on what each organization does, from assisting businesses impacted by COVID-19 to providing legal aid and education,” they say, and some are national organizations, plenty serve local communities. And while you’re at it, dash off some letters to the editors of publications you underwrite, asking them to better cover this story.
New York Magazine

On Background

What students think about the fight for racial equity Last fall, the New York Times held a conversation series in conjunction with The Learning Network designed to foster respectful conversations about divisive civic issues. The comments on race are particularly poignant, and provide an important snapshot into the minds of young voters and future first-time employees. “As a black young man in America, I feel every day is a new worry,” says one. For another, George Floyd was an unexpected wake-up call. “I think it is of the utmost importance to speak out against corrupt systems, especially if you are not affected by these systems.”
New York Times

What would an inclusive business school curriculum look like? This piece has some excellent ideas, centered on restoring Black business history into business school curricula. (Until recently, only 2 out of 300 case studies read by Harvard Business School students focused on Black leaders.) But why stop there? The suggestions come from Leon C. Prieto and Simone T.A. Phipps, two professors who guest-edited the 2020 “Black Business and Management History” special issue of the Journal of Management History. They paint a compelling vision, which includes exploring the histories of business management from Africa, China and India, studying pre-colonial entrepreneurialism, and understanding the link between business models that relied on slave labor and modern-day capitalism. It's time to think past shareholder capitalism. “Business schools in the United States rarely teach about cooperative business models. Yet these forms of entrepreneurship—with organizations that are jointly owned and run by its members—have been, and continue to be, useful for African Americans, as well as other communities that often struggle to access capital.”
Harvard Business Publishing

Why is it so hard to picture black middle class families and neighborhoods? Courtney Bonam, a psychology and African American studies researcher and lecturer, has conducted a series of studies that reveal how white Americans can hold persistent stereotypes about black communities, even if they express no personal racist beliefs. Even the presence of a single black family made respondents more likely to think a neighborhood is “impoverished, crime-ridden, and dirty,” where a white family in a similar house triggers no such association. White participants were almost incapable of seeing a black neighborhood as middle class. Writer Henry Grabar explains it this way: “People who are ready to accept the middle-class status of a black person can’t do the same with a neighborhood,” he writes.


raceAhead is edited by David Z. Morris

Today's mood board

(MANDATORY CREDIT Ebet Roberts/Redferns) Prince Markie Dee of the Fat Boys with Sugar Ray Leonard and Eddie Murphy at the premiere for the Fat Boys 'Disorderlies' movie in New York City on August 13, 1987. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)

Prince Markie Dee (l) with Eddie Murphy and Sugar Ray Leonard (center) at the premier of Disorderlies, a 1987 comedy starring The Fat Boys. Hat tip to @psalmone for spotting the image.