From Windows 95 to Web3, can we do better?
Crypto! Ukraine! Good news on climate! Adorable Baratunde!
Let’s jump right in by addressing the elephant in the room.
Yes I was that adorable as a high school senior back in 1995! I’m rocking cornrows, wearing the afrocentric t-shirt from the rites of passage program I completed, and beaming in front of my PC with a Windows 95 logo on it before most people had access to Windows 95. That picture should lure you to check out my latest Puck piece which I wrote about crypto, web3, and the promise of a chance to build a more inclusive financial system along with “generational wealth” for historically excluded folks. Come for the throwback image. Stay for the historical analysis and future hopes of a longtime technophile who’s too old to believe the hype and too young to stop believing in us.
In other me-news, I’ll be keynoting with my friend Priya Parker at SXSW Edu next month in Austin, Texas and sticking around for all of SXSW. If you know good things happening, including culinary good things, let me know!
For something more accessible, check out this digital magazine I was a part of. It’s something Mailchimp helped bring to life, and it’s called Bloom Season. It’s a beautiful collection of stories about small business successes and struggles for entrepreneurs of color. It’s worth it for the artwork alone.
Now for some links…
Putin’s Pickle (Puck)
The best analysis I’ve seen of the Ukraine situation is from my Puck colleague Julia Ioffe. Here’s an important paragraph:
The U.S. and Russian systems of government are also predicated on fundamentally different promises to their citizenry. The U.S., at least on paper, claims to be a government for the people; Russia does not. If anything, it’s built on the opposite assumption: the people exist for the government, to make it great, to build it up through their sacrifice. The notion that the government should work for the people, not the other way around, is something that the Russian opposition has been trying to popularize for years, but it hasn’t gained all that much traction. So when Western sanctions make life harder for the average Russian, the average Russian is more likely to rally around Putin and the Russian flag, and to blame the West.
I’m an Asian American Harvard student. The anti-affirmative-action case does not speak for me. (Washington Post)
Since it’s Black History Month and Lunar New Year, check out this opinion piece from a current Harvard student speaking their own mind about the divide and conquer tactics of those trying to kill off affirmative action by pitting the Black and Asian communities against each other.
Whoopi Goldberg, Joe Rogan and journalism's infotainment problem (MSNBC)
Key quote: “maybe the real problem here is having five random people discussing complex topics that they don’t appear to fully understand or appreciate.”
Ecuador Court Gives Indigenous Groups a Boost in Mining and Drilling Disputes (NY Times)
Some good news on respecting indigenous rights, climate, and government by will of the people all the way from Ecuador. If you like sharing good news in Instagram, here’s the post from Amazon Frontlines worth boosting.
The humbling presence of Thich Nhat Hanh, with Jack Kornfield (KCRW)
If you’ve heard of “mindfulness” odds are it’s because of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. He’s been coming up in my life all week from various sources. This is a short audio reflection on his life to listen to while you do dishes or anything really. Also worth checking out an excerpt of Oprah’s interview with him.
And finally a video of… me.
It was 10 years ago that I published How To Be Black! I was thinking of how to commemorate that fact, when a series of computer errors led me to discover this video from November 2011. It’s a recording of my announcement for the book I’m not sure I ever widely distributed. I recorded it from a side room at a conference I was speaking at in Porto Portugal. My face is different. My voice is different. My eyes are covered by glasses, but it’s still me!
Thanks for reading. Always more to come.