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?

Whats really changed?

Print, The Black Experience in Graphic Design, 1968.

It was a hard read/listen but I’m glad to have read through the article which Leena suggested for me.

The Black Experience in Graphic Design: 1968 and 2020, has a number of black designers read through a hard copy article written in 1968 to see how much has changed or rather reflect on how little has changed.

As I started it was a hard read as there was a lot I recognise in my experiences as a designer in the earlier days of 2000. Like most of the designers featured, I stay hopefully too However I also listened/read the wired article – Five Years of Tech Diversity Reports—and Little Progress.

So little progressive… 

George Floyd mural in Manchester's Northern Quarter
At least george floyds mural stays in the northern quarter even today – Oct 25th 2020

Its coming up to 6 months since George Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis police. One of the things I am planning is a look at all those pledges to make a change by companies to see if they actually did what they pledged.

Part of my work is to extract the data from this amazing presentation. Put into a form where others can add to it, likely a airtable, mutliple google sheets or github somehow? I think what the original authors did is amazing but it they limited its impact by not separating the data from the format. Not a criticism of course, but I could really help if they provided the data or sources.

If you can help or can point at places which might help a XML type person like me, do shout. If you are interested in joining what happens next, drop me a message.

Little update

I started a google sheet, after pretty much manually pulling the data out of the Google Slide. There’s lot of room for adding others. I’ll likely drop the sheet somewhere, so others can add without messing with the existing data.  I’m testing the protected cell feature in Google sheets, although I have a copy if it all goes wrong. This gives me the chance to mess with Airtable I guess?

A unforgettable summer in the city: the mix

A unforgettable summer in the city mix

Its been one heck of a summer, from the covid19 pandemic, national lockdowns to the protests for .

Every once in a while I have been putting out a few mixes under the new album/category of locked down and mixing out. The mixes have been good but I felt they each had something missing, so this is the best bits of previous mixes put together into something extra special.

Its the mix I am listening to when I get out with the Diabolo or go for a long walk.

Enjoy!

  1. A new beginning – Marcus Schossow
  2. Chinook – Markus Schulz pres Dakota
  3. Opium (Quivver remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  4. Open up – Leftfield
  5. Intruder – Armin Van Buuren vs M.I.K.E
  6. My Beat (Ambassador extended remix) – Blaze
  7. Follow me (Jerome Isma-Ae Extended remix) – Jam Spoon
  8. Floyd (Extended mix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  9. Opulence – Simon Patterson
  10. Numb the pain – Will Atkinson
  11. Seven Cities (V-One’s living in the cities mix) – Solarstone
  12. Halcyon – Andy Moor
  13. Tears (Protoculture remix) – Dakota
  14. Outlaw (Extended mix) – Fatum
  15. Amino Acids – Tau-Rine
  16. Freedom (Extended mix) – ARTY v Muvy
  17. Indigo – 4×4

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.

3 special Tech for good live podcasts for #blacklivesmatter

Black heart street art
Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

The last one of the three special edition podcasts was released just recently. I blogged about them a while ago, but now they are all available for your listening pleasure.

  1. Tech for Good Live: (Black Lives Matter Special) – Cancelling Cultures (transcript and more info)
  2. Tech for Good Live: (Black Lives Matter Special) – Canaries in the coal mine (transcript and more info as its ever so topical at the moment)
  3. Tech for Good Live: (Black Lives Matter Special) – Time For Change  (transcript and more info)

George Floyd mural in Manchester's Northern Quarter

I want to thank all my guests who joined me on the podcast, as a lot of people agreed in principle but never stepped up and joined me. Annette, Ade, Vimla, Erinma and Naomi, you were all wonderful and a breath of fresh air.

Massive thanks to Ethar & David (pretty much my co-hosts) for joining me on every single podcast!

As every podcast ends, if you have anything to say about what was said, let techforgood know on twitter or email. Thanks to podcast.co for hosting the shows and finally a huge thanks to the tech for good live team.

Black lives matter
Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash

Remember Black lives still matter and I’d recommend listening to the others who also took up the offer.

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.

#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!