News outlets have failed to tell Americans about our history of racial injustice, leaving us to learn about events like the Tulsa Massacre from fiction

tulsa race massacre camps
Entrance to refugee camp on fairgrounds after Tulsa race massacre, Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 1921.

  • Americans need to understand the history of marginalized groups to create equity and understand current events.
  • News organizations have a responsibility to report on these historical stories even when they don’t fit neatly into the “breaking news” cycle.
  • Lynn Brown is a writer, professor, digital storyteller and traveler whose work centers on issues of race, place, culture and history.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In the wake of the widespread protests against racial injustice in the US last summer, many media organizations began the – in some cases long overdue – process of looking inward for ways to create racial equity in their organizations. Public diversity statements became the norm, and many organizations started or buffed up their DEI efforts and made high-profile hires of people of color into key leadership positions.

All of this is wonderful. In fact, this internal work is necessary for all organizations committed to creating equity; however, media companies have an extra responsibility that is often overlooked. News organizations have the responsibility to understand and inform the public of the context in which a lot of this change is taking place. Because of how traditional journalism privileges things that are happening right now or in the future, the public misses a major part of the story about racial injustice, which has become a major stumbling block to moving forward.

With racial justice issues, it is often in the past where the real heart of the story lies. Without a solid understanding of what has gone on before with regards to systemic racism and injustice, it can be hard to really get a grasp on the true gravity of the situation, the deep feelings behind this most recent push for racial justice, or the intricacies of the systems that need to be dismantled in order to truly make change.

The trouble with traditional models

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests last summer are a great example. Understanding the fervor with which BLM protestors pushed back against police violence requires that the reader, and thus the reporter, understand just how long-standing the tension between police and the Black community is. Not just in terms of the last few years, but also in terms of the last few decades and even centuries. Rather than starting, as many such articles do, with Rodney King – one of the first videotaped instances of police violence against a Black man – it’s more accurate to do an in-depth report on the countless unnamed people who were victims of similar violence in the decades before video evidence was available. Protests like those we saw last summer are the culmination of all of the stories that went untold in the past, not just those that are breaking in the present. However, if those stories of the past remain untold, there will always be a gap in understanding.

Traditionally, any historical context a reporter feels the reader might need in order to understand a story is added in as succinctly as possible. Usually a line or two, maybe a paragraph, describing the background is included at the end of a story. This is part of the “inverted pyramid” style of writing we often learn in journalism school. However, this practice assumes that the story’s background is common knowledge and all a reader really needs is just enough information to jog their memory or inspire them to look into the subject further on their own.

In the context of racial justice, however, this just isn’t the case. There is often no memory there to jog because so many of these historical instances of injustice went unreported in mainstream media outlets when they happened, and were then relegated to the halls of academia, where only those studying subjects like history, ethnic studies, or critical race theory had easy access to them.

Part of the problem is that up until very recently news outlets were highly segregated. Breaking news about violence and injustice enacted on communities of color were relegated to news outlets run by often wildly underfunded news organizations within the communities themselves, and were rarely reported on in the mainstream news outlets. Thus, the work that these local organizations did, as well as the work they didn’t get to report on, never became common knowledge. Instead, these stories were relegated to history with little to no reliable way of making it to mainstream consciousness.

Filling the gaps

Currently the most reliable way that these overlooked stories are being told seems to be via fictional media. For example, media interest in the 1921 Tulsa Massacre only resurfaced after its depiction in the HBO show “Watchmen”. The problem here is that TV and movies can only do so much. It’s not really the job of TV writers to inform the public, and fictionalizing these important stories shouldn’t be the only way to bring them to the public consciousness. In fact, having fictionalized versions be the first, and sometimes only, way these stories reach the mainstream media can be detrimental. Fictionalized versions of historical events can create an inaccurate understanding of the issue at hand, and cause the facts of a story to seem open to interpretation.

It is not the job of the fiction writer to educate the public and tell the facts of important stories, it’s the job of the journalist. If journalists didn’t do it adequately enough the first time, isn’t it our responsibility to go back and remedy that now?

Tell the history

Some reporters, most often reporters of color, have managed to bridge this gap in historical context with their work. Most notably journalists like Nikole Hannah-Jones, who spearheaded the award-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, or Ta-Nehisi Coates whose 2014 Atlantic piece “A Case for Reparations” sparked a national conversation that went all the way to the floor of Congress. But there are so many more important historical stories to be told, many of which don’t fit neatly into the breaking news cycle, making it difficult for journalists eager to tell these stories to find homes for them.

If news organizations are truly committed to the cause of truth telling and racial justice, it is necessary to break with tradition and find ways to tell more of the stories from the past that are so vital to creating the future we want to see.

Lynn Brown is a writer, professor, digital storyteller and traveler whose work centers on issues of race, place, culture and history. She’s an adjunct associate professor at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and the New School and her work can be found in GQ, Sierra Magazine, Ebony, Vice, and others. Find her on Twitter at @lrdbrown79.

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Richard Branson is leading a campaign to end the death penalty, along with other key business figures. The Virgin Group founder said there is an urgent need to abolish the practice.

Virgin Group founder, Sir Richard Branson, is spearheading the campaign.

  • Sir Richard Branson spoke to Insider about his ongoing campaign to eradicate capital punishment.
  • The Virgin Group founder called the practice “barbaric” and “inhumane.”
  • He has teamed up with several other business leaders to help spread the message.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has joined forces with other business leaders to launch a campaign to abolish capital punishment in the US and other countries.

The 70-year-old billionaire announced the Business Leaders Against the Death Penalty Declaration in a virtual SXSW event in Austin, Texas, last month.

The declaration was coordinated by the UK-based organization, Responsible Business Initiative for Justice, and has gained 21 signatories. They include Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Ben & Jerry Ice cream, Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post, Helene Gayle, a director at the Coca-Cola Company, and telecom tycoon, Dr. Mo Ibrahim.

The push to end the death penalty comes amid a global focus on racial and economic justice, exemplified by the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.

In an interview with Insider, Branson described the death penalty as “barbaric” and “inhumane.” He explained his involvement in several cases throughout the years where innocent people were sent to death row, in the US and elsewhere. This led him to realize capital punishment is arbitrary and flawed, he said.

Branson gave an example of a case he took up, which involved Anthony Ray Hinton, a man who spent 28 years on Alabama’s death row before being exonerated in 2015. “He was framed for a double murder he didn’t commit, only because the police and prosecutors needed a Black man to convict,” Branson said.

For every eight people executed in the US, one person is freed from death row – often after decades, as was the case with Hinton, Branson added.

This case, among others, highlighted another problem for Branson – that the death penalty is also a symbol of oppression, as well as racial and social inequality.

“Look at people on death row. In most US cases, it’s people of colour and the poor that are sent to death row,” he said. “Some in the US have called it a ‘direct descendant of lynching’, and I’d say there is much evidence of that. In some countries, it’s become a tool of political control and oppression,” Branson said.

Branson believes it is even more crucial to end capital punishment, given it is a wasteful and ineffective misallocation of public funds. Now more than ever, governments must be responsible with public finances given the hard hit on countries’ economies due to the pandemic, he said. “Public funding could be spent on schools, healthcare, infrastructure instead,” he added.

The involvement of so many notable business leaders in the campaign demonstrates an increasing willingness to speak up on issues of inequality, the danger of executing innocent people, and the need for fiscal responsibility.

“We have to ask ourselves: does the death penalty serve a real purpose for us as caring human beings?” Gayle said in a statement. She noted how it felt even more urgent to focus attention on preventable deaths in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its terrible loss of life.

Cohen and Greenfield wanted to ensure they played their part, too. They told Insider: “We have some of the world’s loudest voices – and we have a responsibility to use them to fight injustice wherever we see it.”

Businesses need to do more than just say Black Lives Matter, they added: “We need to walk our talk and help tear down symbols of structural racism.”

Jason Flom, chief executive of multimedia company Lava Media, is also involved with the campaign. When asked about the main objectives he hoped to achieve, he told Insider: “Goals include changing hearts and minds in the general public, as well as educating the next generation of prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, and prospective jurors.”

There are 56 countries that still retain death-penalty laws as of 2019, according to Amnesty International. Since 2013, 33 countries have carried out at least one execution, the BBC reported. More than 170 UN member states, out of 194, have abolished capital punishment in law or declared a moratorium.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The new CEO of Diddy’s Revolt TV wants to make it the world’s largest Black-owned media empire

Detavio Samuels
Detavio Samuels.

  • Detavio Samuels, 40, is the new CEO of Diddy’s Revolt.
  • He wants to help expand the network’s coverage of social justice.
  • To Insider, he discusses the state of Black media, and the future he wants to help build.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

There’s an African proverb that Detavio Samuels keeps in the back of his mind: Until the lion learns to tell his own story, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

“It’s a proverb about how, as long as you don’t control your own narrative, someone is always going to set themselves up to be the victor,” Samuels told Insider.

He thinks about the proverb often, because “that’s what we’ve had for centuries,” he said. “There are Black stories not being told because the power isn’t with the people who are authentic and inside the culture.”

On March 3, Samuels, 40, was announced the newest CEO of Revolt TV, the cable network owned by hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, which specializes in creating music-themed content for Black audiences.

Founded in 2013, it is one of the few Black-owned cable networks and was previously helmed by Roma Khanna until she resigned as CEO in July. Revolt is broadcasted in over 60 million households and is known for its popular show “State of the Culture,” in which Joe Budden, Remy Ma, and Eboni K. Williams discuss pop culture and politics.

In addition to the robust schedule of entertainment programming, as CEO, Samuels wants to bolster content addressing important topics in the Black community, such as socioeconomic discrimination, intersectional feminism, and wellness.

In April the network launched Revolt Black News, and Samuels wants to expand its coverage to highlight activists, center Black women, and focus on investigative and breaking news. Later this year Revolt TV will be offered on more television and mobile platforms, such as Apple TV, Roku, Android, and iOS. Currently, about 75 to 100 people work at the company, and Samuels is planning to expand that, too.

There are plans for a possible podcast, too. “The dream is that we will be the largest Black-owned media company in the world,” he said. “So we’re doing it.”

On the same day of Samuels’ appointment, Revolt also announced Colin McIntosh as COO and CFO, and Deon Graham as chief brand officer of Combs Enterprise.

Revolt’s social justice

Too often Black people become the antagonists of their own stories. In 2017, Color of Change found that major news outlets regularly, and disproportionately, depict Black families as dysfunctional, while white families are often shown as stable.

Poster for the new REVOLT show “Crew League” in which hip hop stars and their friends compete against each other.

The same study also found that media outlets are more likely to portray Black men as absentee fathers, despite research arguing the opposite, and that although Black family members make up 26% of those arrested on criminal charges, they represent 37% of criminals in the news. White people are portrayed as criminals only 28% of the time even though they constitute 77% of crime suspects, according to Color of Change.

“Much what of we’ve seen of how Black people are depicted is through the white gaze – it’s how non-Black people see us,” Sofiya Abena Ballin, an award-winning journalist, and creator of Black History Untold, told Insider.

“Black people are seen as a threat, as a stereotype, or as a caricature,” she continued. “Black media has been trying to consistently undo that work. That’s why it’s important to have us there.”

The past century has seen the creation of outlets such as Black newspapers, radio stations, and networks seeking to communicate information and tell the stories of the Black community. In the era of social media, there are more opportunities for people to become the narrators of their own truths.

Ballin said that gatekeeping and diversity are only part of the story. Black people need to support each other as well, she said, giving the example of many Black celebrities who may decide to pass over Black media in lieu of a large, mainstream outlet.

“When you complain about how you’re depicted, it’s because you go to the ‘popular mainstream’ news outlets that you deem to be more valuable and are not owned and run by Black people,” Ballin said. “But they don’t have a true understanding of who you are as a person.”

‘This is the moment’

Samuels has come a long way from the rocky mountains. He was born in Boulder, grew up in Denver, and graduated from Duke University in 2002 with a B.A. in political science.

In 2006, Samuels earned an MBA and a Master’s degree from Stanford University. From 2005 to 2007 he worked in marketing roles at Johnson & Johnson and GlobalHue before pivoting to advertising and digital media at RadioOne as president of its subsidiary, iOne.

But in late 2019, Samuels wasn’t sure he wanted to work at Revolt because he wasn’t too interested in giving up his presidential control at iOne.

The turning point of Samuels’ career came when Samuels’ father died last year. His father was a professor of African American literature at the University of Utah and instilled in his son the importance of Black liberation.

Walking out of his father’s funeral, Samuels decided it was time to dedicate his career to a cause. He went back to the Revolt team as chief operating officer and began his rise through the network’s ranks. His first day was the same day George Floyd was killed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

YIMBY with a conscience: Meet the 26-year-old real-estate heir who wants to make affordable housing a reality in the Biden era

Donahue Peebles III
Donahue Peebles III.

  • Donahue Peebles III has worked for his father’s real-estate firm, Peebles Corporation, since high school.
  • He’s passionate about gentrification, telling Insider that lack of affordable housing is “a failure of American society.”
  • Peebles talked to Insider about affordable housing, gentrification, and what he expects under a Biden presidency.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In real estate, there are NIMBYs and YIMBYs, and Donahue Peebles III knows where he stands.

For decades, “NIMBY,” which stands for “not in my backyard,” referred to homeowners who oppose nearby development. The “YIMBY,” naturally, says yes to the same proposition. To hear Donahue Peebles III tell it, more development won’t just be good for his family’s company – he’s a real-estate development heir – but also a key to civil-rights progress in the Biden era.

“As developers, we have such an outsized effect on the world in which everyday folks live, far more than an options trader would or your Wall Street executive,” Peebles told Insider. “Everybody, every day, interfaces with real estate, multiple times a day.”

Peebles works at Peebles Corporation, which was founded by his father, Donald Peebles II, in 1983 and has grown into of the nation’s largest real-estate investing and developing firms, with a portfolio topping $8 billion. The company made his father one of the richest Black real estate developers in the US, with a net worth estimated at over $700 million.

The Peebles Corporation utilizes public-private partnerships to develop properties with civic interests in mind, focused primarily on the New York, Washington DC, Miami, and Los Angeles markets. It specializes in residential, hospitality, retail, and mixed-use commercial properties. 

Peebles is his father’s chief of staff, a position he has held since early last year. He said he has no interest in separating himself from his father’s legacy, saying there is “so much value” in being allowed to help build on that. 

In an interview with Insider, Peebles spoke about the affordable housing crisis, how his company is trying to help curb the effects of gentrification, and what he’s expecting under a Biden presidency. 

Donahue Peebles III
Donahue Peebles III (L) alongside his father (R).

Peebles calls the affordable housing crisis ‘a failure of American society’

Peebles has been working for his father’s firm since his senior summer in high school. Born in Washington, DC, Peebles spent his childhood in South Florida and attended high school in New York before matriculating to Columbia University to study economics.  

“My real-estate education happened simultaneously with my regular education,” he said. “As a little kid, you always want to go to McDonald’s and get a McFlurry or go to your friends’ house early on a Saturday before basketball practice. My father would say, ‘Sure, but I need you to learn the value of this building first.'” 

To Peebles, housing affordability is one of the most pressing issues facing the US right now. “There’s no reason that somebody gainfully employed should have to be housing insecure, or struggle with finding an apartment they can comfortably afford on their full-time salary,” he said. “That’s a failure of American society.”

Read more: How full Democratic control of Washington DC could transform real estate

Part of the problem, he said, is that developers are being restricted in terms of when and where they can build new housing. He cited historic preservation in the West Village, for example, which prevents developers from knocking down existing brownstones to create more housing. 

These restrictions exist “even though they were constructed to satisfy the housing needs of a New York that’s about one stitch the size of New York City is today,” he said. “Instead of treating the symptoms, we need to begin to treat the underlying cause of the disease, which in my mind is a consequence of artificial supply constraints.” 

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, told Insider that, for the most part, the organization was all for more affordable units in landmarked areas.”That can be achieved through adaptive reuse and new construction,” Berman told Insider.

But there is often a catch: “What is often proposed however is large new entirely or predominantly luxury developments which do little or nothing to address affordability issues and actually often make the situation worse, not better,” he continued. 

Meanwhile, Simeon Bankoff, executive director of NYC’s Historic Districts Council, an organization that advocates for the city’s historic and cultural neighborhoods, noted that as a developer, Peebles has a vested interest in more laxity on development. “If people who are in the business of doing real estate development didn’t have to deal with regulations, they wouldn’t.” 

Bankoff said the number of landmark properties in New York City overall is very small, the city has one of the most complex building ecosystems and construction ecosystems in America, and finally, it has a “limited amount of land. If someone wants to come in and build a high-density, residential development in a low-density zone, it’s difficult.” Doing that has nothing to do with landmark designation, Bankoff added.

Peebles Corporation is raising money for a fund to help minority entrepreneurs

Peebles, along with the corporation, has also been working to assist minority and women entrepreneurs as it seeks to help close the racial wealth gap and curb gentrification. 

He called the racial wealth gap a social failure of capitalism. Talent, he said, is thought to be distributed equally, but without opportunities, underrepresented and underutilized business owners, entrepreneurs, and firms will still struggle to grow. 

Read more: Meet one of the youngest Black entrepreneurs in tech, who just raised a seed round topping $4 million that included Alexis Ohanian

“It seems as though people who have a fair amount of economic privilege already are those who have been encouraged to become entrepreneurs and become owners,” Peebles said, adding that consumers and society will benefit more if more people with talent are provided with opportunities.

A development project isn’t like an options trade, he said, and there are so many different economic tributaries that flow from it – from the developer making money to the bank getting the land and the equity partner getting deployed capital.

The goal is to find a way to democratize access to capital and involve local businesses and long-term residents of particular neighborhoods in that neighborhood’s economic growth, he said, rather than a third party coming in from outside, attracting all the capital and renovation work. Right now, he said, the Peebles Corporation is raising an emerging developers fund that will help provide capital to women and other developers of color who seek to develop in the communities in which they live. 

And this, Peebles said, will hopefully guard, in some ways, against more gentrification. 

 “I like to say the struggle of the 19th century was emancipation,” Peebles said. “The struggle of the 20th century was enfranchisement. And the struggle with the 21st is without a doubt, economics. If we can help bridge the racial wealth gap by whatever means, I think we’re doing our society a service.”

Corporations need to give employees better safety nets, Peebles says

Peebles expressed optimism about the future of affordable housing with Joe Biden in the White House and congress under unified Democratic control.

He praised the section of the $900 billion in COVID-19 relief and $1.4 trillion stimulus package passed in December that assisted renters and made 4% the permanent minimum rate for low-income housing tax credit bonds. Peebles predicts this will help create a boom in affordable housing.

democrats win house
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Read more: How Democratic control of Washington could threaten real-estate investing

He’s also expecting a revision of a few tax policies that could have large-scale economic consequences, such as the 1031 exchange. He also hopes to see a revision in the structure of opportunity zones – designated geographic areas that have been identified as low-income subdivisions. 

Opportunity zones, he said, are like “government-funded gentrification” and they need to be structured so they can help create jobs and economic opportunities within the communities they target, rather than creating economic hubs that are pushing out existing communities. “You want a rising tide that lifts all boats,” he said. “Not a new dock.” 

The situation might be different for individual citizens, however, and Peebles said the pandemic has the potential to spark conversations around entrepreneurship as a whole. Many people realized that the job security and safety nets they had are not as secure as they once thought. 

If corporations, he said, could find ways to provide a more robust social safety net for people, it could boost innovation as it would give more people freedom to fail, which “would encourage more entrepreneurial risk-taking, which in turn would hopefully help bridge the racial wealth gap.”

He called real estate “such a challenging, creative industry,” but said he wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. “The problems we solve are at times both very immediate and practical, but also indelibly complex. It’s one of the best intellectual and social challenges.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider

11 books to pick up in the new year that you missed reading in 2020

Traci Thomas
Several of the books recommended by Traci Thomas.

  • Traci Thomas is the host of “The Stacks” podcast, where she connects with authors, actors, screenwriters, and politicians to use books as a catalyst for larger conversations on race, privilege, and culture.
  • For anyone who didn’t get as much reading done as you would’ve liked during lockdown, Thomas has compiled a list of 11 books to kick off the new year on the right foot. 
  • These books cover everything from sports to climate change, to social justice, to race and privilege, and include titles such as ” Black Futures” by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham and “The Undocumented Americans” by Karla Cornejo Villavicenio.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

2021 is finally here. I know I’m not alone in being excited to welcome a new year, not because I think the world will miraculously be fixed overnight, but because new year means a chance at a fresh start, and I’m all for that.

As the host of The Stacks, a podcast about books and reading, I spend pretty much all my time talking about, sifting through, taking pictures of, and smelling books. When I reflect back on 2020, books were a cultural touchstone throughout the year.

Traci Thomas The Stacks Podcast
Traci Thomas, creator of The Stacks podcast.

When lockdown first began, many people took it as the opportunity they needed to finally read that Russian novel they’d been putting off since 1996. Then in May and June, books on anti-racist reading lists surged as a response to the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Finally in November, one book was on everyone’s wish list, President Obama’s memoir “A Promised Land.” 

While people were certainly talking a lot about books, I’m not sure much reading got done. Which is totally fine, no judgement. If you do want to kick off your new bookish self in 2021, here’s my list of 11 books from 2020 to begin. A few were pretty popular, and others flew under the radar, but they are all very good and worth your time. They range from sports to climate change, from social justice to rich kids, all in their own unique way diving deeper into the world we live in.

Once you finish reading through this list, the most exciting books of 2021 will be here (I’m looking at you “The Prophets” and “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African-America, 1619-2019)” and then we can truly move on from the year that was 2020.

Read more: 19 books that’ll give you hope and inspiration in uncertain times, recommended by founders, CEOs, and business coaches

1. “Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream” by Mychal Denzel Smith 

This book is a searing work of nonfiction that looks at America, both our realities and our myths, and asks us to consider who we are as a country. Smith has crafted a book that indicts the American Dream and the ways we, as a country, fail to live up to our self-professed ideals.

This book is a great jumping off point for the new year as we think about our collective resolutions as conscious citizens, and what we will have to give up in order to abolish the systems of oppression that hinder us all.

2. “The Office of Historical Corrections” by Danielle Evans 

This story collection is about the ways history, both personal and collective, can haunt, harm, and heal us.

The stories range from a college student caught in a confederate flag scandal to a womanizing artist who finally decides to apologize for his abusive behaviors, to a near future dystopia concerned with correcting the historical record.

In this collection you’ll examine grief, race, love, and loss and find characters that confuse and excite you. This collection is The Stacks Book Club pick for January 2021, and you can hear our discussion on the podcast on Wednesday, January 27.

3. “Black Futures” edited by Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham 

This book was easily my most immersive and unique reading experience of 2020. It’s a collection of essays, art, memes, conversations, recipes, lyrics, and more that attempt to detail and encompass the experience of Blackness, both as a time capsule of this moment and a dream for our future.

Black Futures” is the embodiment of the saying “Blackness is not a monolith”. The topics found in the book range from Black Indigeneity to BDSM, from ocean preservation to Colin Kaepernick. Drew & Wortham poured so much love into this collection and into telling the many stories that make up the varied existences of Blackness.

4. “Loving Sports When They Don’t Love You Back: Dilemmas of the Modern Fan” by Jessica Luther & Kavitha A. Davidson 

If you love sports, but are finding it harder and harder to cheer for your favorite teams because you hate rooting for the owners and organizations that run them, this is your book.

This book covers brain injuries, racism, domestic violence, and the ways we can hope to move forward in creating a sports world that has room for both social justice and our fandom. This book feels particularly relevant as we watch sports in 2021 through the lens of leagues and teams putting profit over players (and fans) in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: 10 books to read to finally start making real money from your side hustle

5. “Minor Feelings: An Asian-American Reckoning” by Cathy Park Hong 

This is a collection of essays from poet Cathy Park Hong that examine the idea of “minor feelings” – the dissonance that occurs when America’s optimism contradictions the reality of one’s own life.

This book is memoir and cultural criticism and uses Hong’s own identity as a Korean American, and a child of immigrants, to tell the story of race in America and the ways Asian identities can complicate and expand our preconceived notions that are often centered only on Black and white.

6. “The New Wilderness” by Diane Cook 

A dystopian near future novel, this book tells the story of a mother and daughter who leave their over polluted city life and move into “The Wilderness State”, a place where humans had been previously forbidden. Now they, along with other volunteers, are living in the wild to see if people can live in and among nature without destroying it. Creative and imaginative and a commentary on our own, very real climate crisis.

7. “We Will Not Cancel Us: And Other Dreams of Transformative Justice” by Adrienne Maree Brown 

This super slim book was inspired by a July 2020 blog post from brown titled “Unthinkable Thoughts: Call Out Culture in the Age of Covid-19”. The book looks at “cancel culture” and the ways it functions and how we can transform it to serve a greater good. Told from the perspective of a Black, queer, feminist, “We Will Not Cancel Us” shifts the conversation away from those who have been “canceled” to those we are seeking transformative justice.

8. “Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America” by Ijeoma Oluo

Every woman and/or person of color has been faced with the white male counterpart who is less knowledgeable, less accomplished, and less skilled but somehow holds more power and authority, and respect. “Mediocre” explains the history of this phenomenon throughout American history. Oluo shows her reader the many manifestations of this mediocrity from “The Bernie Bro” to higher education. If you’ve ever felt gas-lit by the systems that are in place in America and have lacked the language to put words to your frustration, this is the perfect book for you.

9. “The Undocumented Americans” by Karla Cornejo Villavicenio

In this work of creative nonfiction Villavicencio takes her reader into the world of undocumented immigrants that is  rarely explored in art and media. This isn’t the story of The Dreamers or immigrants who have been deemed successful, it is instead the stories of day laborers, delivery people, domestic workers, and other undocumented people whose stories have cast them into the shadows of the American dream. “The Undocumented Americans” is a book about the reality of life for many undocumented immigrants in America who have been villainized, harassed, and demeaned.

Read more: The 14 best books to read to break into venture capital, according to investors, founders, and professors in the VC space

10. Ace: What Asexuality Reveals about Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex” by Angela Chen 

An overview of Asexuality and it’s many intersections, “Ace” is ambitious in its willingness to dive head first into the complexities of sex, desire, and relationships. Chen isn’t only talking about Asexual people, she’s also presenting a much more complex picture of Allos (folks who do feel sexual desire). “Aceis a wonderful encompassing introduction into the world of sexual desire. 

11. “Anna K: A Love Story” by Jenny Lee

 A young adult retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” set among NYC’s wealthiest teenagers. It is juicy with sex, drugs, mega-parties and, of course, a little romance. “Anna K” is a really good time, think Gossip Girl, and the best part is, there is a sequel coming out in April 2021, so by the time you finish this gem, you’ll be ready for “Anna K Away.”

Traci Thomas is the creator and host of “The Stacks,” a podcast about books and reading. She currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twin sons. Listen on Apple Podcasts, and follow “The Stacks” on Twitter and Instagram.

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Ben & Jerry’s partnered with Colin Kaepernick to unveil a vegan ice cream that ‘amplifies calls to defund and abolish the police’

Ben & Jerry's Colin Kaepernick Change the Whirled flavor
Ben & Jerry and Colin Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled flavor.

  • Ben & Jerry’s has teamed up with civil rights activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick to unveil a new vegan ice cream flavor that will be available next year.
  • The Change the Whirled flavor “celebrates Kaepernick’s courageous work to confront systematic oppression and to stop police violence against Black and Brown people,” according to the ice cream maker.
  • Ben & Jerry’s has a history of being vocal on racial, political, and social justice issues in the US.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Ben & Jerry’s has teamed up with activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick to unveil a new ice cream flavor, Change the Whirled.

According to Ben & Jerry’s, the flavor “celebrates Kaepernick’s courageous work to confront systematic oppression and to stop police violence against Black and Brown people.”

Like Kaepernick, Change the Whirled is vegan, and has a caramel sunflower butter ice cream base with fudge bits and graham cracker and chocolate cookie swirls. The ice cream will be available early next year, and all of Kaepernick’s proceeds will go to the Know Your Rights Camp, a Kaepernick-founded organization with the goal of “advancing the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities,” according to its website.

Read more: Nike just blew past Wall Street’s expectations, and experts say it’s thanks to tech and taking risks like its Colin Kaepernick campaign

“Ben & Jerry’s commitment to challenging the anti-Black roots of policing in the United States demonstrates a material concern for the well-being of Black and Brown communities,”  Kaepernick said in a statement. “My hope is that this partnership will amplify calls to defund and abolish the police and to invest in futures that can make us safer, healthier, and truly free.”

The ice cream will be sold in the US and parts of Europe for between $4.99 to $5.49.

The ice cream giant’s history of championing causes

Justice Remix'd Ben & Jerry's
Cohen and Greenfield announce a new flavor, Justice Remix’d, during a press conference in 2019

This isn’t the first flavor Ben & Jerry’s has released with a cause. In 2019, the ice cream maker – which calls itself an “aspiring social justice company” – unveiled its Justice ReMix’d flavor with the goal of bringing attention to criminal justice reform and racial inequality in the US, according to Ben & Jerry’s website

Read more: How Ben & Jerry’s embrace of social issues set it apart from the competition, boosted its marketing, and helped it build a positive workplace culture

Ben & Jerry’s has also used other avenues besides themed ice cream flavors to express its views on social and racial issues across the country.

In September, the ice cream maker and Vox Media launched the “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” podcast that takes a deeper look at racism and white supremacy throughout US history. And following the death of George Floyd, Ben & Jerry’s published a statement that was lauded by Twitter users for its length and details.

Last year, Ben & Jerry’s also publicly supported H.R. 40 which, if passed, could create the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans.

“Ben & Jerry’s is proud to diversify our flavor portfolio by honoring Kaepernick with a full-time flavor,” Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy said in a statement. “We deeply respect how Colin uses his voice to protest racism, white supremacy, and police violence through the belief that ‘love is at the root of our resistance.'”

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