On culture and diversity in corporate America.

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August 23, 2019

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.


1.
The world at the brink:
But y’all keep looking for
Amelia Earhart


2.
The world at the brink:
Then we lost our minds over
a chicken sandwich


3.
The world at the brink:
Just ignore the smoke coming
from the Amazon!


4.
The world at the brink:
I wonder how Miley and
Liam are doing?


5.
Well, actually…
That chicken sandwich? It was
really, really good.


Have a deliciously satisfying weekend.


Ellen.McGirt@fortune.com
@ellmcgirt


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On Point


The Justice Department sent an email to immigration court employees with a link to a white nationalist site Proof that news curation is harder than it sounds, the offensive content appeared in a daily email briefing designed to keep immigration court employees abreast of current events. The email highlighted a link to an article posted on VDare, a white nationalist website, which included a series of attacks on specific immigration judges. The immigration judge’s union complained in a letter obtained by Buzzfeed News. “The post features links and content that directly attacks sitting immigration judges with racial and ethnically tinged slurs,” and included specific anti-Semitic language. The union’s chief is asking for an apology, better news clipping procedures, and a review of safety measures for immigration judges. Buzzfeed News


Corporate diversity efforts continue to leave out people with disabilities Unconscious bias may be largely to blame, says Nancy Geenen, the co-founder and CEO of Flexability, a firm that specializes in matching employers with talent and inclusion competency services. People often feel unsure around employees with disabilities or worry that promising prospects may be costly to accommodate. There are easy ways to address these concerns, she says, and employers should get serious about them. “Businesses with leaders and hiring managers who are trained to look past disabilities and hire (and promote) based on skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, and potential have a clear edge in the market,” she says. Some 20 million capable people with visible or invisible disabilities are in the workforce, and they struggle to find jobs. Last month, the labor force participation rate for individuals with disabilities was 20.8%, compared to 69.2% for those without, she says. Fortune


President Trump orders Education Department to expedite the forgiveness of student loan debt held by disabled vets Some 50,000 permanently disabled vets are eligible to have their student loan debts discharged, but bureaucratic roadblocks have kept more than half that group from relief. The directive signed by the president this week ordered the Education Department to create an expedited process to “eliminate every penny of federal student loan debt,” a number which would reach hundreds of millions of dollars. Associated Press


Hispanic journalism organization disinvites Fox News as a conference sponsor The National Association of Hispanic Journalists published a statement decrying recent remarks made by Fox News Radio Host, Todd Starnes, who said that America has “suffered” from the “invasion of a rampaging hoard of illegal aliens,” and that most “illegal immigrants” are violent criminals. As a result, Fox News is no longer welcome as a sponsor for their Excellence In Journalism conference being held in San Antonio next month. “Starnes brazen language is symptomatic of a culture that provides a megaphone for disinformation by those in power with agendas, including the Trump administration at the cost of the most vulnerable – immigrant communities,” wrote NAHJ president, Hugo Balta. “While alarming, the situation with Starnes is not an isolated incident and follows years of ongoing NAHJ conversations with Fox News and recent meetings with management.” NAHJ


On Background


Yeah baby, she’s got it Do take a few minutes to enjoy this wonderful profile of Venus Williams, the first Williams sister, the introverted one, the loyal one, the one who always understood her power and place in the world. It’s a masterful bit of work from writer Elizabeth Weil who transports us as close to Venus as most of us ever will get, and reminds us exactly who she always was: The first. “'I’m tall. I’m black. Everything’s different about me. Just face the facts,’ Venus said to reporters at age 17 when, in 1997, preternaturally self-possessed, she would become the first unseeded women’s player in the Open Era to reach the finals of the U.S. Open.” Well worth your time. New York Times Magazine


A glimpse at Atlanta’s overlooked ‘unhoused families’ Atlanta has incredibly high eviction rates: In Fulton County, in 2017, 22% of tenants were facing eviction notices (and in black-majority neighborhoods, it was above 40%). Yet to gain an apartment, prospective tenants must have no prior evictions, and meet several financial requirements. For Cokethia Goodman, who was evicted for late payments when she was young, it’s made it near-impossible for her to find a home. Goodman, who makes $9 an hour, came home one day to suddenly find out she was being evicted from her $950 per month home. This, after she made extensive efforts to keep her landlord happy: she never paid rent late, she “became a stickler for cleanliness,” and even avoided putting in repair requests. This upsetting New Republic article follows Goodman, and her six children, as they, like many others in Atlanta, struggle with housing insecurity. The New Republic


No, we’re not all immigrants When faced with anti-immigrant or racist sentiment, it’s common for people to start with an inclusive sounding phrase, like “we are a nation of immigrants,” or, “we are all immigrants when you think about it.” It’s an unhelpful framing, says activist, author, and professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. For one thing, it erases the experience of colonized Indigenous people and enslaved Africans. It’s also propaganda with a purpose, she says. “Misrepresenting the process of European colonization of North America, making everyone an immigrant, serves to preserve the ‘official story’ of a mostly benign and benevolent USA,” she says, and not one of a settler nation marked by typical violence. This essay, now over a decade old, is still an important corrective. (h/t Colorlines.) Counterpunch


Tamara El-Waylly helps write and produce raceAhead.


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Quote


“I can’t tell you if the bones found in 1940 belong to Earhart. (They could.) Or if she was captured and killed by the Japanese. (She probably was not, given that this rumor first started during World War II, rooted in racism, xenophobia, and hatred for the Japanese.) But after spending two years researching Earhart’s life, and the lives of the women who flew with her, I can tell you this: Earhart would be upset with us for chasing her shadow at the expense of almost everything else.”

Keith O’Brien, author of Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History.


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