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Equinox Owner Under Fire for Trump Funder: raceAhead

Stephen Ross defends Trump fundraiserStephen Ross defends Trump fundraiser
Stephen Ross, chairman and majority owner of the Related Companies and an investor in Equinox and SouCycle, defended his decision to host a high-price lunch for the president.Drew Angerer—Getty Images

Here’s your week in review, in haiku.

Thinking of an alt-
Mike: With a job, a life. Not
lifeless in the sun.

One day, that orphaned
baby will grow up and see
how he was betrayed.

Someone needs to come
for Tucker and help him get
some much-needed rest

Running out of food.
Running out of good ideas.
Running out of time.

Violent gamer?
Betty White. Bullied loner?
Betty White. Get it?

Wishing you a peaceful and bountiful weekend. 

On Point

How likely is a boycott of Equinox or SoulCycle? Stephen Ross, the chairman of The Related Companies which owns Equinox, SoulCycle, and PURE Yoga, is under fire for throwing an expensive fundraising event for the current president. Calls for boycotts were immediate, and Equinox and SoulCycle were quick to disavow the event and him. Axios is reporting that Ross is wondering if he should cancel. (He won’t.) Fashion critic Robin Givhan explains why she thinks the involvement of this particular set of brands in Trumpian politics is a unique betrayal and also why a successful boycott may not happen. “The choice is more complicated than simply being confronted with a Trump-branded product and turning away,” she writes. The spaces are designed to help you feel transformed. “They make you feel good about yourself. And that feeling can sometimes be hard to come by.” Washington Post

A new forum for 8chan, now with more transparency The new forum is called 08chan, hastily reconstructed after the original version lost its hosting service, albeit three mass shootings too late. Buzzfeed is reporting few details of the new destination, like who set it up and why, but has found that former 8channers are reassembling there. “The distinguishing feature of the new site is that it lives on ZeroNet, a peer-to-peer network designed by information activists to allow for uncensorable websites immune from government or corporate intervention.” There’s one problem, however. “Peer-to-peer networks expose a user’s internet address to anyone who cares to look. That’s how copyright lawyers catch people trading movies, music and software, and it’s how police and FBI agents arrest pedophiles trading child porn online.”  The Daily Beast

Neo-Nazi website founder ordered to pay $14 million for encouraging online attack A federal judge ruled yesterday that Andrew Anglin, the founder of The Daily Stormer website, must pay $14 million damages to Tanya Gersh, a woman he encouraged his followers to harass in part because she is Jewish. Gersh, a realtor who became involved in a real estate dispute involving the mother of white supremacist Richard Spencer, was bombarded with hate messages and threats after Anglin posted her personal information and pictures of her family. The Southern Poverty Law Center brought the suit on Gersh’s behalf in 2017. “This win isn’t just for me, my family and my community; this is a win for everyone who has been harassed, terrorized and bullied,” Gersh said in a statement. CNN


On Background

Smokey the Bear, beloved protector of the outdoors, turns 75  Because I write about race and culture, it’s my job to take a happy occasion like this and point out the ugly racist thing in its past. Because there’s always something! Every time! The Smokey character was developed as part of a broader fire prevention program supported in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, that at times linked forest fire safety to national security. To fight the good fight, they included shockingly racist images of Japanese soldiers in World War II. Wendy Melillo, a professor and Smokey expert, tells NPR, “The original posters were quite scary in nature. So they had the face of a Japanese soldier with a lighted match and a menacing grin and a slogan that said, ‘Careless matches aid the Axis.'” She’s really underselling it. NPR

Google Earth is helping to preserve Indigenous languages You can now click and hear Indigenous language speakers say words and phrases, even sing songs, through Google Earth. The initiative is part of a wonderful new project designed to support the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages. Dolores Greyeyes Sand, a Plains Cree language teacher from Saskatchewan who contributed to the project, says that language is an essential part of her identity. “Our language is so important because our culture is within that language, and in order to maintain our culture as Cree people we need that language,” Sand told CBC News. Editor’s note: The corporate headquarters of Google and Alphabet is located in Mountain View, Calif. and occupies land once inhabited by the Ohlone people. They spoke a variety of languages including AwaswasChalonChochenyo (also known as Chocheño), KarkinMutsunRamaytushRumsen, and Tamyen.  CBC News

Please look at these very good dogs It has been a difficult year this week, and every person with a heart has found it hurting for one reason or another. So do take a moment to enjoy this lovely photo-driven story of therapy dogs easing the anxieties of people large and small in hospitals, dentist offices, airports, schools, penitentiaries, and fire stations. We don’t deserve them, and yet, there they are. The Atlantic



Tamara El-Waylly helps produce raceAhead.


“Terrible things are happening outside… poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes. Families are torn apart; men, women and children are separated. Children come home from school to find that their parents have disappeared!”

Anne Frank (Jan 13, 1943)