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.

Clearview AI GDPR’s reply

Today I got my reply from Clearview AI after I submitted my request

Clearview AI GDPR request submitted

The reply was short…

Subject: No Results

Hello,
You are receiving this email as a response to your request for data access. After running the photo provided through our algorithm, no results were found.
You can click here to learn more about how Clearview collects the images that appear as search results, and how those images are used and shared.
Regards,
Clearview Privacy Team
I don’t buy it… and feel like I should try again with a slightly different picture for reference. I was looking forward to reporting them to the ICO, although they never followed up on my houseparty complaint.

#blacklivesmatter, here comes the difficult part!

Canary in the coal mine

I found this guardian opinion piece pretty apt.

Everyone applauds a movement for social justice until it “goes too far” – when it starts making “unreasonable demands” in the service of its “political agenda”. This moment, where sympathetic onlookers start shimmying away from their earlier expressions of solidarity, was always inevitable. It is easy to agree that black lives should matter. But it is hard to contemplate all the ways the world needs to change to make them matter – and for most people, it’s simpler to say that the goal is admirable, of course, but that these particular demands from these particular protests at this particular moment are just going too far. We project our failures of imagination on to the movement, and we decamp from the cheerleading stands into the peanut gallery. “Defund the police”? How about we come up with a less provocative slogan, for a start? These Black Lives Matter protesters, they don’t make things easy for themselves, do they?

We tend to think that protest is confrontational, and change is consensual – first, a painful moment with marches in the streets and impassioned orations, followed by something less dramatic, a softer path of negotiation and adaptation. But the opposite is true. Protest is the easy bit. More specifically, protest is a smooth part sandwiched between two very rough ones.

The momentum to change things for the long run is always the issue. How do you make sustainable change? This is part of the reason why I’m interested in the public pledges by companies.

You didnt come this far to only come this far
Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Me personally, I have doing other things in the background. For example I took the opportunity Tech for good put out on twitter to record 3 podcasts with other people of colour.

I along with other noble colleagues have taken up the challenge of reverse mentoring the all white all male senior management at work. I’m taking it very seriously as its a great opportunity to actually make some long lasting changes.

There’s more happening but I need to keep that quiet for now. Hope to have more details to share soon!

The story behind the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute

John Carlos and Tommie Smith made headlines across the world when they raised the black power salute on the podium after winning in the 1968 Olympics. That protest brought them death threats, and they were expelled from the games.

Vox is on fire recently. The story behind the 1968 Olympics black power salute is something worth watching.

The incredible story of Freedom house ambulance service

I learned today about the incredible story of Freedom house ambulance service thanks to 99 percent invisible. Generally the story goes that back in the 70’s in Pittsburgh, if you call for help in getting to a hospital, a hurst driver or the police would throw you in the back and take you to hospital.

A man called Peter Safar from Europe, proposed that together they could train lay people to be medical professionals and  start providing ER quality treatment right away, before the patient arrived at the hospital.

After designing advanced ambulances and putting people through a  intense 300-hour course. They had their first comprehensively trained first responders. They were all black people and operated in black parts of Pittsburgh where taxi driver, hurst drivers and the police were not reliable or wanted to go.

Its was a massive success and became the start of the profession we know as paramedics.

Group photo of Freedom House attendants and the Pitt physicians who
trained them. At front row, center, is Nancy Caroline, M.D., who developed national standards for emergency medical technicians. At far left, in white lab coat, is Peter Safar, M.D., known around the world
as the “Father of CPR.” Photo courtesy of University of Pittsburgh

However!

Freedom House’s five ambulances were running nearly 6,000 calls a year. And not only were they getting to the patients faster than the police, but they were also providing demonstrably better care. At a city council meeting, Safar presented data showing that as many as 1,200 people a year had been dying needlessly while in the care of other emergency services. Freedom House paramedics, by contrast, had saved 200 lives in the first year alone. Doctors and medical directors from around the country flocked to Pittsburgh. Freedom House medics were invited to conferences as far away as Germany. Everyone wanted to see what they were doing and learn how they could copy it.

Photo credit: University of Pittsburgh; Freedom House paramedics with ambulance.

But in spite of its growing fame, Freedom House would eventually become a victim of its own success. Other neighborhoods were wondering why this predominantly Black community was receiving better care than theirs.

Of course there is more to the story but I was struck with the similarity to something Douglas Ruskoff talked about in his most recent monologue.

How Centuries of Black Strength Created a Blueprint for Economic Recovery – Black communities have for centuries harboured a spirit of support and mutual aid. It’s time the rest of the country followed their lead. However In the monologue there is something oddly similar to the Freedom House story.

Economic success in Black communities inevitably leads to white jealousy, which in turn inspires more oppression, pogroms, and murder.

And there you have it… How many other stories from the past have this same pattern. How many of these stories are happening today?

I haven’t had a chance to check out the book Douglas mentions, A history of African-American cooperative economic, but he’s right its well circulated. Here is a interview with the author Jessica Gordon Nembhard.

The great white lie?

This is something which really got me thinking. All that white marble really has changed the way we think about the past. The lack of colour I always thought was a cost and material thing but to know it was originally there but removed is … lets say almost sinister?

Seeing all that white marble does have an effect on the way we see the past.

What have you actually done for #blacklivesmatter?

Black lives matter brand responses from twitter

Been looking at ways to keep an eye on what all these companies who claim to be antiracist and support . I found this piece from wired.

Its good but what we really need is a collaborative database like airtable, of all the pledges of support.

Black lives matter brand responses from airbnb

The best I have found is this slide deck from Lexie Pérez, Julian Cole, Stephanie Vitacca and Davis Ballard.

As protests and unrest have taken over the U.S. and other parts of the world –  brands rushed to speak out and align themselves with anti-racism.

We’ve gathered 100 + examples of brands responding to the Black Lives Matter movement. We’ve highlighted their responses, their actions and some reactions.

Black lives matter brand responses from linkedin

Its huge with about 130 companies covered from  Fashion, Retail Luxury, Technology, Sports & Fitness, Finance, Food & Restaurants, Entertainment & Media, B2B, Gaming, Advertising, Agencies, and Beauty & Health.

There’s some really shocking insights in there including these

Black lives matter brand responses from MarvelOdd one because Disney pledged $5 million to support nonprofit organizations that advance social justice, beginning with a $2 million donation to the NAACP. You would have thought Marvel would echo this?

Black lives matter brand responses from BeatsNow this lack of action was a surprise….!

Black lives matter brand responses from Facebook

This reaction was not!

Sure there must be some way to turn this great store of information into something we can use to keep the companies accountable in 3/6/12/18 months time? The data is there and I’m sure the authors won’t mind if its used for accountability…

Officer there is a black man…!

I mentioned a while ago how upset I was when watching the Amy Cooper video in central park. It became plain and clear if you call the cops and say the words “black person is doing X

Heck who could forget the guys sitting in Starbucks?

Heck when I was working in Starbucks (yes it happened believe it or not) there was a older white woman who came every day to read the free paper and rearrange her baggage, using the toilet and all while pouring free milk for herself. Did we ever call the police? Nope, never!

Trevor Noah covers a lot of cases, but he’s got zero on on the hashtag #Airbnbwhileblack. Although Airbnb has made changes, its not enough in a system of racism.

IC3 means excessive force, seems to be the call always?

There is a trend. When IC3 (police code for black male) is mentioned, excessive force is somehow authorized.

From the Guardian

Huugo Boateng was taking part in a charity bike ride with his father along the River Lea in north London when he says he was grabbed from his bike by a plainclothes police officer, threatened with a stun gun and fell face first into thorny bushes.

The 13-year-old told the Observer: “I’d turned around to see if my dad had caught up behind me, and suddenly this man came out of nowhere. He was crazy angry and shouting. I got scared because I thought he might be mugging me or trying to give me corona so I ran, but there was nowhere to go but in the bushes.”

While he was down on the ground, the teenager says the officer pointed a Taser at him and threatened to shoot. The officer then arrested Huugo and put him in handcuffs. Further down the towpath, his father, Andrew, 43, was told to get on his knees and put his hands behind his back. Andrew was also handcuffed. The two were detained, suspected to have been involved in a stabbing in the area.

The most ironic thing about the whole incident is…

The family were visited by a community officer later that evening. “Huugo didn’t want them to come in so they stayed on the doorstep and asked if we were OK,” said Andrew, who works at City University. He is also active in local projects including coaching a youth football team and volunteering for the outreach programme Kickoff@3 , which is co-run by a black Metropolitan police officer, Michael Wallace.

“I couldn’t vouch for a more humble and more dedicated member of the community,” said Wallace. “The irony is that Kickoff@3 is about building good relationships with youth and the police, and Andy is instrumental in helping with that programme. The bike ride he was doing was organised by us – we were raising money for a homeless charity and a domestic violence one.

If there was any doubt about the UK being less racist, its simply not. The racism is different but its still there