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When academics and athletes end up in the hot seat

July 2, 2021, 6:21 PM UTC

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Did Phylicia Rashad make a fatal mistake? Also, important news from the State Department, a high school sports sanctioning body takes a strong stand against racism, and we’re looking for your best nominations for our 40 Under 40 list.

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

Shall we celebrate
easy access to the polls
and reliable

voting systems? Shall
we celebrate, united
against forces that

commit violence
against the way we govern?
Shall we celebrate

the coalition
that kept us safe from illness?
From hunger? From harm?

Let’s just celebrate.
Save our strength to persevere.
So much work to do.

Wishing a happy U.S. Independence Day for all who celebrate. Go grab yourself some joy.

Ellen McGirt

On point

Bye Phylicia?  Newly minted Howard University Dean Phylicia Rashad is under fire for a tweet celebrating the release of Bill Cosby, whose sexual assault conviction was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Wednesday.  “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted — a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” she tweeted. Howard University quickly followed up with a tweeted statement of their own, saying Rashad’s message “lacked sensitivity towards survivors of sexual assault.” Students and alumni called for her dismissal online. The timing is unfortunate, as Howard University struggles to address allegations that the school has failed to sufficiently address years of sexual assault accusations. Howard University hasn't announced any further sanctions.
Washington Post

The State Department will allow passport applicants to self-declare their gender The new rule, announced on the last day of Pride Month, abolishes the practice of requiring passport holders to provide medical documentation if their stated gender did not match the gender stated on citizenship or other identity documents. “With this action, I express our enduring commitment to the L.G.B.T.Q.I.+ community today and moving forward,” by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken in a statement. "It's great news for all intersex and nonbinary people, because it basically says that we can get our passports," says Dana Zzyym, a longtime advocate for the change. "We don't have to lie to get our passports. We can just be ourselves."

Mostly white high school basketball team stripped of winning title after crowd threw tortillas as their mostly Latino opponents The California Interscholastic Federation acted swiftly after video of the fans of Coronado High School boys basketball team throwing tortillas and taunting the players of Orange Glen High School surfaced. “The path towards real change comes with the development of empathy for those who are on the receiving end of this type of degrading and demeaning behavior, no matter the proffered intent of that behavior,” said the executive director in a media release.Their championship title is vacated. Among other sanctions are a state mandated racial sensitivity workshop and the entire high school is on probation until 2024. School administrators are also encouraged to build a bridge of understanding with the administration of the Orange Glen High School. It’s a good statement.

It’s time for your 40 Under 40 nominations! This year’s deadline is July 19, and we want your best, most creative and inspirational nominations for this now beloved franchise-list. Check out past lists here. Here’s the thing. DO NOT email us! The best way to make sure your nominees are considered is to fill out the form below.
40 Under 40 nominees


This edition of raceAhead is edited by Wandy Felicita Ortiz

On background

Look who’s saving Yiddish Only about a million people around the world still speak Yiddish, but the language is being adopted by a fascinating group of artists, linguists, academics and storytellers, who are injected new life into the language. Some are surprising advocates with equally surprising backstories. Satoko Kamoshida is a Tokyo-based sociolinguist who teaches the language while pursuing research examining the role of “collective memory in the modern Israeli Yiddish-speaking community and in the once-decimated Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Anthony Russell is an African American convert to Judaism and a trained opera singer. Along with a collaborator, he’s creating new music in Yiddish, and is doing his own research on the connection African American and Ashkenazi Jewish music. Zen? Zeyer kil.
Moment Magazine

All the racist bones When people of color attempt to correct people of no color when their commentary wades into territory that references, even unwittingly, colonialist or supremacist ideas, it is customary for others to defend them thusly: “But, [this person] doesn’t have a racist bone in their body!” This must end, says The Root’s Michael Herriot. “Recent advances in prejudice technology have finally given scientists the ability to identify the racism bone, revealing that many of the previously accepted self-diagnoses may not be medically sound,” he says in this important essay. While Herriot may be living with tongue-in-cheek syndrome, the disease he describes sounds dire. “Congenital Osteowypiposis is a communicable disease that affects nearly 53 percent of white women and more than 62 percent of white males,” he says. It spreads to the brain quickly and “results in severe delusion, the desire to say the n-word in retail stores, chronic apathy and an allergic reaction to people with melanin in their skin.”
The Root

Today's mood board

"What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"  — Frederick Douglass. A long weekend’s worth of reflection. 
Bettmann—Getty Images

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