Recommentunde: Bargain Basement Blackness | 28 July 2020

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The Recommentunde Newsletter

Sent on 28 July 2020 Edition

Hi you,

It’s me.

COVID came from bats. I knew I didn’t like Batman for a good reason.

The Feds are going full gestapo in Portland. Maybe they don’t understand that people are shooting fireworks at federal buildings to celebrate America and all the winning.

The president shared a video of a black woman who— Oh, I’m not even going to waste the character count on that one.

Tomorrow I’m starting production on my podcast, How To Citizen with Baratunde, in earnest. The best part: we are recording most of the show with you! If you’ve come to Live On Lockdown, this will feel familiar. In the opening of the series, we will take on the true meaning of the word “citizen.” I’ve just interviewed Valarie Kaur, and with you, I’ll sit with Eric Liu, the CEO of Citizen University.

Show up with your own ideas, thoughts, and questions for me and Eric. Register here. We tape at 3pm Pacific Time Wednesday July 29, 2020

And now, for your regularly scheduled programming:

I'm experimenting and put my opening remarks from this email on my instagram. If you IG, please check it out there and share it.

How McKinsey Is Making $100 Million (and Counting) Advising on the Government’s Bumbling Coronavirus Response

Blood-boiling investigation by ProPublica

Thanks Elizabeth for sharing this and the appropriate rage along with it. Many people who argue for “small government” are liars. For decades they have hollowed out the government and replaced it with overpaid McKinsey consultants who do a worse job at higher cost and tell them the government should be hollowed out. Another name for this activity: looting.

“Defendant Shall Not Attend Protests”: In Portland, Getting Out of Jail Requires Relinquishing Constitutional Rights

Another one from ProPublica

If these Portlanders were protesting for the right to get a haircut, we would have a different federal response. This is not a drill, and yet this is not new. Read. Get mad. Get active.

American exceptionalism was our preexisting condition

Article in The Washington Post

Everything about this article. Everything. I can’t remember who shared it with me, so I’m going to say it was Suri from Wakanda.

Michelle Obama has a podcast

Twitter link

By the time you read this it could be out on Spotify. I know the producers so basically I know Michelle Obama!

A Rush to Use Black Art Leaves the Artists Feeling Used

Article in The New York Times

Every company thinking of saying something woke about race or bringing in an artist or speaker (like me), should keep a few things in mind. Look inside first. How do your own employees feel about working there? What do your products and the way you market them say about whether you behave as if Black Lives Matter? Operationally are you committed to old school exploitation — where do you bank? Who are your vendors? I will gladly take your money to give a pretty talk, but then I’m gonna say all this to your face too. And in this moment for companies to be bargain basement shopping for black talent is doing it all wrong. Before you reach out to some “marginalized” person trying to get a piece of their talent, say the following to yourself: I’m going to treat this person like I would treat Bill Gates. We could avoid a lot of wasted energy if you just treated everyone like a straight, white, male billionaire.

DNA Study from 23andMe Traces Violent History of American Slavery

Article in the New York Times

Science proves it: slavery happened, and it was real bad… now with haplogroups! But seriously, this is a novel use of scientific data.

How to person woman man camera tv

Video on YouTube

Thank you, Sarah Cooper.

Texas parents consider learning pods, tutors as reopening plans falter

Article in The Texas Tribune

Really thoughtful piece about a growing trend that has not easy answers. I also recommend this Twitter thread from a parent able to pull off one of these pods yet cognizant of what that means for he wider society. In a truly responsive environment, school districts themselves would facilitate these pods and ensure more equal access to learning during this difficult time. Maybe McKinsey can overcharge a district to tell them that.

Remembering the roots of Challenge Accepted.

Instagram post by Sophia Bush

You’ve seen those “challenge accepted” Instagram posts and may have posted one yourself. Did you know the origin of the meme was inspired by massive rates of violence against women in Turkey and attempts in that country to make it easier to kill women? I didn’t. Now I know. Now you know.

A Socially Distanced Conversation: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

Video on YouTube

Refreshing to see these two.


Video on YouTube

You deserve this. We all do.


I've been adding to the Recommentunde YouTube playlist and Spotify podcast playlist just for you.

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Peace and Love.