News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Dahlia Francis is sitting on a small couch at the foot of her bed, in her shared flat, on a housing estate in south London. She wears her new uniform of pyjama bottoms and a Zoom-ready plain T-shirt. Her room used to be a living room. Now the only communal space is the kitchen, where Francis’s three flatmates occupy a small dining table. They, like almost half of Britain’s workforce, are also working from home.

Francis, who is 29, is a credit controller for a charity in central London. She commuted there, by bus and tube, for a little more than a year. There were baking competitions and quizzes and a kitchenette, where gossip and tea flowed freely. Now the kettle is silent and the cubicles are empty. They are likely to remain so for the rest of the year.

For the first few weeks after her office closed in late March, Francis was too busy to consider her new circumstances. Then they hit her – and got her down. Days spent in her bedroom hunched over a laptop, centimetres from where she slept, blurred into endless weeks. She has become lonely.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The day Kim Hye-min threw up on the job while working as a graphic designer at a small broadcasting firm in Seoul, she was so overwhelmed by stress that it made her sick to her stomach. When a senior co-worker shamed her for being just a few minutes late, it echoed what she had heard from older South Koreans all her life: she wasn’t good enough. At lunchtime, she made a run for the restroom stall.

“The criticisms kept building up,” she says, until she reached the point where she didn’t think she could take it anymore. For 26-year-old Hye-min, as for many young South Koreans, life choices feel forced and fixed — and not like actual choices at all. Many feel so beaten down by the rigid social and professional demands of their country that they refer to it as “Hell Joseon,” a play on Korea’s old dynastic name. The path is especially bleak for young women, who must contend with the nation’s deeply rooted misogyny. Deviation from the mainstream is widely viewed as disobedient, and sometimes, in the eyes of older generations, even unpatriotic.

“It’s something to do with Korean society,” Hye-min says. “There’s only one way to engage in relationships with others, or one type of person who’s considered acceptable. And for people like me, it’s really hard.”

Again and again, her parents would ask her, “Hye-min, why can’t you be like your classmates and study hard and do well? Hye-min, why can’t you be like your peers and hurry to finish university and get a job?”

Hye-min never understood why she should have to rush through a school system that did nothing but judge and rank her, only to find a lifelong position at a company that would do the same. She dropped out of university for a year before transferring, sought out counseling for her battered self-esteem, and quit her job, despite knowing that all of these choices would be looked upon as failures. Perhaps toughest of all, Hye-min knew that, even if she were to achieve “success,” it was unlikely she’d be compensated fairly for it: South Korea’s gender wage gap is the worst in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with men earning on average 32.5% more than women.

Her parents would ask, “Hye-min, why can’t you be like other women your age and find a nice man and get married?”

Hye-min, however, has no plans to get married. Nor does she expect to have children. After years of being told she must strive to be a good student, good employee, good wife, and good mother, she eventually decided she no longer wanted to partake in a system that ties her social currency and self-worth to such a punishing status quo. So Hye-min opted out. “Why do I have to continue on, going through these difficulties?” she says. “For what?”

Read the rest of this article at: rest of the world

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The giraffe is nearly down. Two men have stretched a thick black rope in front of the animal, to trip her up. The giraffe hits the rope, and the plan seems to be working until she gains a second wind and breaks into a fresh run. Her body sways backward and forward like a rocking horse being pulled along on a dolly. Six more people grab onto the ends of the rope, and the group runs behind her, holding tight, pitting their meager strength against her weight. It would be no contest, were her veins not coursing with tranquilizer. She loses her footing and careens forward, her legs splaying out behind her. But her seven-foot-long neck still stretches resolutely skyward. A woman leaps from behind her back, collides with her neck midair, and rugby-tackles it to the ground. People run over, carrying a hood and a drill. The giraffe—an emblem of verticality—is now fully horizontal.

The team of people who have drugged, tripped, and tackled the giraffe is a mix of scientists, veterinarians, and rangers who study giraffes in the few parts of the world where the animals still live. Giraffes are so beloved and familiar that it’s tempting to think their numbers are solid and their future secure. Neither is true. Giraffe populations have decreased by 30 percent over the past three decades. Only 111,000 individuals remain. There are at least four African elephants for every giraffe. To safeguard a future for giraffes, researchers need basic information about how far they roam. GPS trackers can offer answers, but to get a tracker on a giraffe, one must first take it down.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

John Lewis died on Friday from complications due to pancreatic cancer, an illness that divided the last few months of his life into “good days and days not so good,” as he recently told me. He’d seen a lot in his 80 years — from a modest youth as the third of ten children in an Alabama sharecropping family, to a brutal and exhilarating early adulthood in the civil-rights movement, to his storied tenure in Congress, where he represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District from 1987 until his death. His later years were marked by novelty, much of it lamentable: the election of Donald Trump, who he believed was the worst president for civil rights in his lifetime, and his cancer diagnosis in December, less than a year before he had a chance to see Trump voted out of office. Neither the ups nor the downs much swayed his sense of optimism. Even its most recent test — the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the protests, rioting, and often violent police crackdown that followed — engendered in Lewis abundant cause for hope. Just over a month before his death, Lewis spoke to New York about why he’d stayed the course for so long, even as timeworn political strategies seemed inadequate to fixing urgent social problems, and he openly feared waking up one day to find that American democracy had disappeared. This instinct to be vigilant, but stubbornly hopeful, was, for many, among his most inspiring traits. He remains in death an example of what can be won if one is willing to make, in his words, “good trouble.”

I’m curious, watching what’s happened this past week or so, what has stood out to you?

This determination of the young people, even not so young. Not just in America, but all around the world. I’ve come in contact with people who feel inspired. They’re moved. They’ve just never been along in a protest — they’ve never been in a march before — they decided to march with their children and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and to walk with them. They’re helping to educate and inspire another generation of activists. It’s seeing an effect. There can be no turning back; there can be no giving up.

When you were protesting in the 1960s, was it an intentional strategy of yours to provoke white violence against yourself?

First of all, we believed in the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. We had attended nonviolence workshops. When we were beaten, arrested, and taken to jail, we never struck back. We said, If you’re going to beat us, in effect, let it be in the daylight. So people can see what is happening. And we used our bodies as witness against segregation and racial discrimination. The philosophy of nonviolence became a way of life. A way of living.

When I was arrested the first time, in 1960, I felt free and I felt liberated. I felt like I had crossed over. And the local authority, the local officials, they couldn’t fight us by putting us in jail. So we filled the city jails in Georgia, in Tennessee, and all around the South. And people around the country didn’t like what they saw, seeing these young, well-dressed black students being arrested and taken to jail.

What people did then, it appealed to the conscience of the American people. People couldn’t take it. They couldn’t understand it. Taking the beating and thrown in jail. People pouring hot water, hot coffee on us. We changed the attitude of hundreds of thousands of people.

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine

News 07.20.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In early June, Robin DiAngelo addressed 184 Democratic members of Congress who had gathered, by conference call, for what the party leadership had named a “Democratic Caucus family discussion on race.” It was 10 days after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, gave introductory remarks, and soon DiAngelo began. “For all the white people listening right now, thinking I am not talking to you,” she had a message: “I am looking directly in your eyes and saying, ‘It is you.’” She cautioned the white officeholders not to think that because they marched in the 1960s, or served a diverse district, or had a Black roommate in college, they were exempt from self-examination. Until they reckoned with the question of “what does it mean to be white,” they would “continue to enact policies and practices — intentionally or not — that hurt and limit” Black lives.

The invitation to speak to the caucus was just one in a deluge for DiAngelo. Before Floyd’s killing, she was a leading figure in the field of antiracism training or, as she sometimes describes it, antiracism consciousness raising. It’s a field shared by nonwhite and white trainers, and DiAngelo, who is 63 and white, with graying corkscrew curls framing delicate features, had won the admiration of Black activist intellectuals like Ibram X. Kendi, author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” who praises the “unapologetic critique” of her presentations, her apparent indifference to “the feelings of the white people in the room.” In 2018, when she published her manifesto, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism,” Michael Eric Dyson provided the foreword. She is “wise and withering,” he wrote, “in her relentless assault on what Langston Hughes termed ‘the ways of white folks.’” “White Fragility” leapt onto the New York Times nonfiction best-seller list, and next came a stream of bookings for public lectures and, mostly, private workshops and speeches given to school faculties and government agencies and university administrations and companies like Microsoft and Google and W.L. Gore & Associates, the maker of Gore-Tex.

But as prominent as DiAngelo was then, she has become, since Floyd’s death, a phenomenon. As outraged protesters rose up across the country, “White Fragility” became Amazon’s No. 1 selling book, beating out even the bankable escapism of the latest “Hunger Games” installment. The book’s small publisher, Beacon Press, had trouble printing fast enough to meet demand; 1.6 million copies, in one form or other, have been sold. And as countless companies and institutions put out statements denouncing racism and expressing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and committing themselves to inclusivity, DiAngelo’s inbox was flooded with urgent emails: requests to deliver (virtually because of the pandemic) workshops and keynotes at Amazon, Nike, Under Armour, Goldman Sachs. The entreaties went on: Facebook, CVS, American Express, Netflix.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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