Centering the stories of the Atlanta spa shooting victims

Here’s your #StopAsianHate week in review, in Haiku.

The day after his
mother was murdered, the
sun came up as if

to mock the darkness 
in his heart. “Where will we go
now?” his brother sobbed.

The day after his 
wife was murdered at his side,
he held their infant

and replayed their steps
in his mind, “if only we 
had gone for a walk…

or the sitter was
late…if only we had picked
a different day.” Now

that the sun is up:
How will we stop the darkness
for the next victim?

Wishing you a peaceful and supported weekend.

Ellen McGirt

On point

Here’s what we know about the victims in the spa shootings  An important first step to addressing hate crimes against Asian immigrants and people of Asian descent is to put their humanity at the center of the story. As painful as it may be to read, new reporting about the victims does just this. I’d point you first to this early round-up of short biographies from the Los Angeles Times, and then ask you to spend a little time with this Buzzfeed interview with Randy Park, son of one of the victims. His mother, Hyun Jung Grant, had been a school teacher in Korea, and had come to the U.S. for “normal immigrant reasons.” But, he says, “here in America, she did what she had to do. She was a single mother of two kids who dedicated her whole life to raising them." Park set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses which has far exceeded his request. To paraphrase Mr. Rogers, in times of trouble, look for the helpers. In this case, look to the comments.

Researchers identify a spike in racist hashtags after Trump tweeted “Chinese virus” The former president first tweeted the phrase on March 16, 2020, a single post that researchers identify as ground zero for a torrent of racist hashtags. “The week before Trump’s tweet the dominant term [on Twitter] was #covid-19,” Yulin Hswen, an epidemiology professor at the University of California at San Francisco tells The Washington Post. “The week after his tweet, it was #chinesevirus.”
Washington Post

Spanish language disinformation on social media Advocates have identified a serious oversight in the battle to end disinformation in online spaces: A lack of competent Spanish-language moderation. “In the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, Latinx people in the United States were flooded with false information,” write advocates Jessica Cobian, Carmen Scurato, and Brenda V. Castillo in this must-read piece. “Even worse, these deceptive campaigns targeting the Latinx community have continued long after Election Day, aiming to undermine the results of the election, erode trust in the new administration, and mislead our community about dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the efficacy of the vaccines.” The three represent the Center for American Progress, Free Press and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, respectively; click through for more about their plan.

raceAhead is edited by David Z.Morris

On background

How studying ethnography can help you be less biased This post from Mandy Jenkins, a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford, really focuses on journalism, and how it can better define objectivity and defeat dreaded bothsidesism. But it’s really about how to be a better, less biased observer, which is something that requires “the empathetic methods of design thinking and the analysis of the social sciences.” Ethnography is the study of people and cultures, which is also what journalists, marketers, salespeople, product designers, justice professionals, policy makers and a whole host of other people do without framing it that way. To that end, power dynamics are key. “One element of reflexivity is understanding how the presence of a researcher — or, in this case, a journalist — changes the environment,” she writes. 

The U.N.: More than just cholera Re-surfacing this exhaustive investigation of rampant sexual abuse among U.N. peacekeeping forces, first in Haiti, and then in other locations. The stories are horrific. “An Associated Press investigation of U.N. missions during the past 12 years found nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world — signaling the crisis is much larger than previously known.” In Haiti alone, an internal U.N. report found that at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers exploited nine children in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007. No one was punished. Other reports include gang rapes of older victims. There is also the question of the cholera epidemic strain linked to Nepalese U.N. workers. "Imagine if the U.N. was going to the United States and raping children and bringing cholera," said one Haitian human rights lawyer. "Human rights aren't just for rich white people."

Affluent white communities to blame for creating the air pollution that black and brown communities inhale A study published in the journal PNAS took a novel approach to studying the long-acknowledged disparity in air quality between white communities and black and Hispanic ones. Air pollution is disproportionately caused by white Americans' consumption of goods and services, they found, but as NPR so eloquently put is, “disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic Americans.” Anjum Hajat, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, was impressed. "Inequity in exposure to air pollution is well documented, but this study brings in the consumption angle." Exposure to pollution may be the cause of disparities in health outcomes, as well.


Mood board

This 1960s-era photo gives barely a hint of the profound influence Bhaskar Menon would go on to have on global culture. In 1971, after working his way up through EMI's Indian imprint, he became CEO of Capitol Records, and later CEO of EMI Music Worldwide. His first transformational win was the 1973 release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and he would recruit and cultivate a stunning list of artists including The Rolling Stones, Queen, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Natalie Cole, Grand Funk Railroad, Steve Miller, Bob Seger, Anne Murray, Glen Campbell, Iron Maiden, Heart, Kenny Rogers, Duran Duran, Maria Callas, and Ravi Shankar. Menon died on March 4 at age 86.

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