Essential black authors to read

I realise its Black history month in America, while in the UK its November but regardless this is a really good list of black authors with plenty of interesting subjects for reading over the year. I have already added a few to my 12 audiobooks to read this new years resolution.

Once again don’t read the comments, who down votes something like this? Actually don’t answer that, I know too well.

Mind the Gap, How Common Medical Symptoms Appear on Dark Skin

Me and Claire who I haven’t heard from in a very long time got talking about last year. From the covid19 pandemic, to the vaccine, systematic racism and to trypanophobia. It was during that conversation mind the gap was mentioned.

I had never really imagined or thought the images and books medical students might be learning from, may not have people with dark skin. Meaning an unbalance in the treatment of dark skinned people simply because of education.

Simple things like finding veins which are relatively easy to see under white skin can be challenging under black skin (generally). There were other aspects which I hadn’t ever thought about…

This where mind the gap came up… from the root

A Zimbabwe-born medical student living in London is filling in an important blind spot in the medical community: informing healthcare providers and patients how symptoms for a broad range of conditions appear on darker skin.

It’s the kind of problem that feels shockingly outdated for the 21st century, but as 20-year-old St. George student Malone Mukwende recently told the Washington Post, the lack of teaching about darker skin tones, and how certain symptoms would present differently on nonwhite skin, was obvious by his first class at the University of London school.

“It was clear to me that certain symptoms would not present the same on my own skin,” Mukwende told The Post, referring to conditions like rashes, bruises, and blue lips. He quickly extrapolated that the same would be true of other people sharing similarly dark skin.

Malone Mukwende
Malone Mukwende

If this was dated in the 80’s I would understand but Mukwende started the book which is free to download in 2020!

Shocking but so glad of the solution, although its worth noting there is things missing from the book where you could help.

My new years resolutions for 2021

Ian Forrester selfie with a mask

Its been quite a year and everybody is looking for a better year in 2021.

Following my review of last year… here’s my New Years Resolutions for 2021; which follows on from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 ones.

  1. Live in another country for a short while
    Regardless of the pandemic, I’m still keen to spend a serious amount of time in Europe. I know we just left Europe (don’t get me started) and its now even harder to do what I had planned last year. Regardless I got to try and apply for the Estonian digital nomad visa.
  2. Head further a field with the scooter
    A follow on from the last lot of resolutions, even with Covid19 and Brexit, I’m holding out hope that I can find a way to either the Netherlands or Ireland. I almost went to the Netherlands over the summer but the rules changed meaning I would need to self isolate for 14 days after coming back.
  3. Take better care of my skin.
    face creams

    This is a follow on from last year, my sleep, alertness, etc are great but I for decades have neglected my skin. Since I was young, I would use petroleum jelly on my face and hands. I only really noticed the issue with this while shaving. But I was convinced by my barber to stop doing this and use proper face moisturisers. My family were amazed my skin turned out as well as it did we 30+ years of petroleum jelly. So its time for something new and less harsh?

  4. Step up my gratitudes
    My lovely ex-colleague Nicky told me about a book shes been using, called the 6 minute diary. Last time we talked about my gratitudes. So from new years I’ll give it a go. It will likely the most I have handwritten in a long time. Thanks Nicky again and look forward to seeing what hits the paper.
  5. Host more film nights and dinner parties
    This is a repeat of the last year but even with Covid19, I’m going to put this on the list, as I could do much better. Heck I got enough Chocolate to do a tasting night every month right now.
  6. Spend even more time with the Diabolo
    Diabolo whip
    The pandemic has given me so much time with the Diabolo. Its amazing to see how fast I have improved in the community garden. A while back I wanted to learn the Vertex and now I’m getting confidently doing it but got a long way to go before I start throwing genocide vertex’s. Although I feel I can watch a video on youtube and pick it up within a week or two now. However I still don’t get the infinite suicide, it should be easy but it never works for me.
  7. Send a email out to friends and family once or twice a year
    I’m slightly preparing to spend even less time in Facebook and looking at the alternatives to substack and medium. Most likely I will selfhost it now I’m running yuno host on a raspberry pi4. Either Writefreely or something with Activitypub.
  8. Self host and move to more decentralised/fediverse services.
    Its something I’ve been doing for a while but its time for the big push. As I’m spending more time at home, I got more time to learn and now my main services are running on the NAS. The RaspberryPi is a great platform for self-hosting. While thinking about the previous one, I posted something on Mastodon.
    Someone suggested this Github project and someone suggested Friendica might have what I need.
  9. Find an alternative to the pebble watch
    My Pebble with Sugru

    My friends have been really good to me, giving up their old pebble smartwatches to me. But as I’m now on my last pebble, its time to move over to something else. I enjoyed not having to pull out my phone to read a message and to even reply directly from the watch. But I can’t buy another one now. I had pinned my hope on the hybrid smartwatches but they don’t seem to have the ability to send a reply. Anyway, no more pebble after this one dies.
  10. Listen to a Audiobook every month.
    Another advantage of being at home is the amount of audiobooks I’m listening to. Right now I’m listening to one every week but 12 is a basic target and should be do able with the sheer amount of podcasts I’ve been listening too. This also fits with Audiable’s monthly subscription.
  11. Take a more political & strategic view on the status quo
    George Floyd 7 months later

    There’s been a number of books and podcasts, which have led me to the fact people around me think things are generally ok. Yes with the pandemic, they changed their minds for this year but I hear again and again – “Next year things will go back to how they were and all will be ok.”
    No I’m 99% sure it won’t and frankly how it was, was not good enough. We need to fight harder for a better future for all. Its also clear to me the right has found a formula which is working but its easily broken by taking a active role in our democracy. May this year made this ever so clear to me.
  12. Finish my dating book
    Yes that book is being worked on between myself and Hannah. The latest draft is looking great. Honestly it reads like a real book! I’m now considering writing a epilogue but unfortunately my relationship ended during this year. Meaning a rewrite and rethink how to end it as such.
    There are other considerations like photography/artwork, formats, checking for consistency, where to publish, how to publish, etc, etc. Any thoughts do get in touch (like to avoid Amazon if I can and it makes sense)Here is a tiny sneaky paragraph from a draft chapter (Hannah is such a great writer and editor, you should hire her!)

    …I studied her face to see what her intention was. Maybe it was a spontaneous comment that didn’t really mean anything. Perhaps she was playing to the cameras that surrounded us?

    The longer I looked, the more smug her expression became. She might have been pretty before but that dirty grin said it all. If she was trying to push my buttons she had found them alright. What happened next was not my finest hour.

    Maybe the combination of divorce, Mr Tango and the button pushing had something to do with what happened next. It felt like I was thinking it but it came out.

    Regardless, I do take responsibility for what happened next…

    Bet you are dying to know what happens next right? Hopefully this year you will know.

So that’s the 12 for 2021 (still no real reason why its 12, it just is). Its a tough one because I wanted to include things like visit a new country but I decided its unlikely this coming year. I was also going to add one about getting the Covid19 vaccine/jabs but I just learned one of the ingredients includes pea protein? So it might be a even longer wait for me to get the vaccine.

Have a good new year all!

Worth watching: Death to 2020

Death to 2020

Death to 2020 was hysterical on so many levels, this missed out on my list of things you missed out on by a day or two.

I think of it like Screenwipe (if you haven’t seen the antiviral wipe, I highly recommend it) with black mirror budget and mockery running through it all.

Although very much around America and part of the UK, there is key issues are there. , , , #vote2020, #RuthBaderGinsburg, , , , , etc, etc.

Good work and something to laugh at while we head into 2021.

Small axe: Mangrove nine

Snakk axe

I heard the true story of the Mangrove Nine but to see it play out over a 2 hour TV show is just amazing. I wasn’t sure what to expect but with the great director Steve McQueen, I had a sneaky suspicion it was going to be (8/10) great. Its almost so great to see UK black history on the screen, as its usually displaced by American black history.

Really looking forward to the other episodes.

Human rights aren’t about party politics, its about morals and values

I heard the news about Gina Martin and up-skirting (or really sexual abuse) a while back but her Tedx talk is very powerful, especially her questions to all men near the end.

I was quite taken by this slide.

Human rights aren't about party politics, its about morals and values
Taken from Gina Martin’s slides at TEDxWarwick

Theres a lot of parallels with many other things including black lives matter, transrights, disability rights, feminism, etc. All transcends party politics and the endless squabbling; this is a question of human rights and human dignity…

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and the police

Good to see Emmanuel Acho back at it…

I found this episode of uncomfortable conversations with the police quite a interesting one. Although good, it felt like there was something missing? Maybe there was a lot of outtakes or it was edited down quite a lot. What ever it was, it was intriguing but too short?

Wonder how different it might be with the UK police?

Christian Cooper Creates Graphic Novel About Racial Injustice

If you remember the Christian and Amy Cooper incident in Central Park? It was the exact same day as when George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis by the police. I was so badly shaken by this incident, as it touched a deep nerve.

Amy apologised for whats its worth, but Christian Cooper took a lot from the experience and went one further.

Christian Cooper, the Central Park bird-watcher who was racially profiled by a white woman, has created a new graphic novel for DC Comics about racial injustice influenced by his own experience.

Amazing and so very powerful I mean his cool calm handling of the incident was just incredible, then later seeing him accept his apology was powerful and now this?

I’ll be seeking out a copy just to have and share with others.

#BlackLivesMatter and Wakanda forever

I personally haven’t said much about the riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin (I also have been to Kenosha in the past). Once again another black person (Jacob Blake) shot in America. Don’t get me started about Kyle.

I can’t say enough about the death of Chadwick BosemanKing T’Challa

For a bit of light relief, you need to check out the Black Jeopardy with T’Challa. He will be massively missed and was a genuine great king.

 

Don’t understand intersectional diversity, after this you will

On this landmark 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, historians Martha S. Jones and Daina Ramey Berry reflect on what the 19th Amendment means for Black American women. The women’s suffrage movement was a predominantly white cause, one that sacrificed the involvement of Black suffragists in return for support for the 19th Amendment from Southern states. The 1920 legislation enfranchised all American women, but it left Black women, particularly those living in the South, to fight racial discrimination when registering to vote and going to the polls. It wasn’t until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that this type of racial discrimination was prohibited by federal law.

Vox

1920 – White women in America finally gained the absolute right to vote

1965 – Women of colour in America finally gained the absolute right to vote

Its always sad to hear the past mistakes we have made, but even worst when we are making the same mistakes. For me this makes very clear the absolute importance of intersectional diversity. You could imagine a lot of joy in 1920 but only for one section of women, the importance to look beyond one aspect of diversity.

A open conversation about race with Tara & Stef from Truly Inc

During a very busy time over the last few months, I recorded a number of podcasts including the ones for the tech for good live (which I highly recommend listening to).

One of my friends from the past the incredible Tara Hunt aka Miss Rouge interviewed me for the Anatomy of White Supremacy in Marketing podcast (Anatomy of a strategy podcast). We sat back and just chatted, so theres a lot in the podcast which was cut but the core parts were contextualised and added to the 30min podcast.

I really enjoyed the conversation with Tara Hunt and Stef Forester (not related as she lost a R somewhere in the name). It was late night (almost midnight) when we recorded and although I was standing at my standing desk, we could have kept on going for another hour easily.

If I can offer a tip for new listeners of the Anatomy of White Supremacy in Marketing podcast. I would start with Tara and Stef talking about the bigger reasons for the podcast.

For the past few months, between COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, we’ve opted to put a pause on AoaS to create space for other conversations (with the exception of the episodes with Laura Fitton and Joe Jackman, which we thought were relevant to the COVID-19 discussion).

Now, we see that our silence on the topic of Black Lives Matter was akin to saying, “This is not our problem.” This was wrong and it took a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion facilitator, Karlyn Percil of KDPM Consulting Group, calling me (Tara) out on this silence to knock me out of my comfort zone (and white fragility).

So, Stef and I sat down and decided that we need to do the work and speak up about it and that this podcast was a fantastic place to start. This episode is the introduction to a series (which will be as long as it needs to be) of conversations with Black professionals in various parts of the marketing industry on their experiences, perspectives and insights into how marketing – as an industry, an institution and as a practice contributes to the perpetuation of white supremacy and anti-Black racism.

Then naturally the interview with moi before listening to the other great interviews which currently there is Anatomy of Code-Switching with Cher Jones.

UK Home Office to scrap ‘racist algorithm’

Black lives matter
Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash

I couldn’t help but see the clear connection between a conversation we had on the most recent tech for good live podcast and the UK home office’s not officially announced decision to scrap the algorithm for people applying for UK visas. BBC also reports similar.

The Home Office is to scrap a controversial decision-making algorithm that migrants’ rights campaigners claim created a “hostile environment” for people applying for UK visas.

The “streaming algorithm”, which campaigners have described as racist, has been used since 2015 to process visa applications to the UK. It will be abandoned from Friday, according to a letter from Home Office solicitors seen by the Guardian.

The transcript is online, now (massive thanks to tech for good making these). Ade made such a great point…

The Home Office response was, not only that they knew but that their focus was making the application simple to use, right? So, the overall performance was judged sufficient to deploy, and the home office told the BBC it wanted the process of uploading the passport application photo to be simple.

Simple as in white…?! Seriously!

I’m glad its scrapped but we have to ask serious questions how it even made it out? Is something we talked about in the episode and the absolute responsibility of developers and technologists to call these things out. Passing it off as a MVP isn’t good enough.

As Ethar says…

This does create a two tier dam. Do you think that does create.. Well.. part of that situation? It’s the fact that we technologists build to the greatest value first. In the event where we’ve chosen, we’ve made an explicit choice that white people have the greatest value in that context by doing what we’ve done and said that people of colour don’t matter.

I highly recommend listening to the whole podcast, its well worth your time. As there’s some great thoughts from Vimla and David too. Just listen and enjoy!

https://pod.co/tech-for-good-live/black-lives-matter-special-canaries-in-the-coal-mine-with-ian-forrester

Special editions of Tech for good live podcasts coming your way

Black Lives Matter - Cancelling cultur

About a month ago a few friends cc’ed me into a conversation with tech for good live on Twitter by friends

After a while we finally got talking agreed a schedule and I went about getting people to join me on the agreed 3 podcasts. I won’t lie, getting time with busy people in the middle of lockdown was difficult but I managed.

Now I’m very happy to see the first one with David EastmanErinma Ochu, Ethar Alali and Naomi Mwasambili

Enjoy it, email and rate techforgoodlive on google podcasts and itunes. Look out for the next two and thanks to pod.co for sponsoring techforgoodlive

I did talk about doing more around previously and now you can see some of the action I took to date.