Image for post
Image for post
A moment from my live show on May 21, 2020 that led to this resource kit

On Thursday May 21, I hosted a live stream show / discussion built around my 2019 TED talk “How To Deconstruct Racism One Headline At A Time.” The audience tuned in from Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and my own website baratunde.com.

If you missed it, here it is at one hour, 11 minutes of awesome.

At the end I promised to combine all the resources I recommended or those that emerged from the viewers into one place. This is that place. If you missed the show, you can re-watch. …


Image for post
Image for post
The LA City Council public comment site. Add a comment by clicking “New,” and be transported back to 1998!

I’m a fan of food.

It’s true. I eat it literally every day.

I’ve been missing, however, eating out at my local favorite restaurants. I literally have had dreams about dining out at a restaurant and while eating at that restaurant, I was also ordering delivery from another favorite restaurant. Anything to avoid my oven.

Sadly, with the necessary public health orders to stop dine-in service, nearly all restaurants have been forced into using third party delivery services like Doordash, UberEats, Postmates, Grubhub and others.

Those companies (sorry, “platforms”) can be terrible for the finances of restaurants with fees adding up to 30% of the revenue per order.


Image for post
Image for post
Portrait by Cléa Dieudonné

Listen up everybody. I’ve come across a new media organization that’s got me so excited, I’ve decided to join as an ambassador and help with its US launch. It’s called The Correspondent, and it’s a Dutch-born journalism organization that is member-funded, in-depth, and fiercely ad-free. I am consulting on their upcoming membership campaign, working on messaging, acting as a spokesperson, and of course I’ll be joining as a paying member myself.

I’m doing this because I believe the stories we tell shape the reality in which we live, and we need better stories. …


Trust Issues

Six demands, from a citizen to Big Tech

Image for post
Image for post

The stories turn up daily: Social media is being used to undermine democracy. Someone has run off with millions of Social Security numbers stored by a major financial institution. Internet service providers are selling our browsing history to marketers. There are machine-learning algorithms that literally don’t see black people. Facebook has apologized (again) for something horrible it has facilitated (again).

This stream of bad news showcases the far-reaching impact of how our personal data is used — and misused. I’d say we’re in a crisis, but in the interest of positivity and solutions-oriented thinking, I’ll call it “an opportunity.” This moment of deep distrust in big tech gives us an opportunity to rewrite the rules, formal and informal, governing how the data we generate is collected, used, and valued. …


Trust Issues

How to do a data detox, in a zillion easy steps

Image for post
Image for post
Illustration: Tiago Galo

Hackers obtained the Social Security numbers of more than 145 million Americans. Paid political chaos monkeys allegedly harvested data from at least 87 million Facebook profiles in an effort to influence the 2016 U.S. election, the Brexit vote, and possibly more. In a practice that could easily become discriminatory, police departments are mining social media profiles in the name of public safety.

These stories are all connected by a common denominator: data. …


A member of the British ruling class.

This past August, I vacationed for three weeks with my girlfriend and her father. We traveled throughout England by rail, visiting mountains and coasts and monuments and seeing a lot of sheep. Sheep are to England what rats are to New York City and what abusers of power are to Hollywood. They kind of run the place.

We were a happy and nonobvious trio. My girlfriend and her father (I’ll refer to him as American Dad) are white. I’m black. These are relevant facts because this story involves a Nazi.

We were on the train to the town of Bath. American Dad was seated to my left. An Englishman was seated to my right. Tall can of beer in one hand, he was eager to talk. …


My time at Rikers Island

Image for post
Image for post

Next Stop: The Garden!

Rikers has a garden. Detainees used to raise chickens here, but we are told the chickens got eaten by wild hogs. Is this another veiled warning or subtle attempt to communicate the predatory environment of jail, or is it simply that they had chickens here until the wild hogs ate them? And how did wild hogs get on an island? Did they take the bus and pass through security?

The New York Horticultural Society operates the programs at this garden. The women detainees we meet tell us they love the garden. It’s a break from life in jail, and they gain skills. They say they wish they could spend more time here. I wish I could as well. …


My time at Rikers Island

Image for post
Image for post
Rikers Island. Photo: AP Images

Want to get to know a city? Go to its jail, preferably as a visitor. That’s my conclusion after spending a day at Rikers Island in March of this year.

After 10 years, I thought I knew New York City. I’ve visited the Museum of Modern Art. I’ve seen someone defecate in the middle of the street. I’ve paid rent. …


Image for post
Image for post
I wrote this letter based on the campaign hosted at http://www.toimmigrantswithlove.com/

Dear Immigrants,

Thank you.

For introducing my mother to Pan-Afrikanism which lead to her political awakening which led to my non-Nigerian parents imprinting me with my Nigerian name which has led to many curious looks from actual Nigerians and some criticism but mostly awesomeness.

Thank you.

For providing me safe passage thousands of times in my taxis and rideshares as you hustle to make it in America.

Thank you.

For being half of my best friends. You Ghanaian, Congolese, Eritrean, Indian, Trinidadian, Lebanese bunch are amazing. I would be more lonely and would laugh less without you.

Thank you.

For Indian food. Seriously, you should license your food and wedding formats. It’s just better than anything the West has to offer and could provide a solid revenue stream. …


Image for post
Image for post
Opening night at The Glass Room, a pop-up in New York City that reveals how unhealthy our internet habits are.

Disclaimer: I was paid to host the opening night event because I’m good at hosting things I believe in.

Disclaimer to the disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this post or for my subsequent visits to the space.

Remember when LinkedIn lost all those passwords? There’s now a printed volume of books with all the passwords in them so you can see if your’s is there. The book’s title: Lost Your Password?

About

Baratunde Thurston

AUTHOR: How To Be Black. FORMERLY: Fast Company, The Onion, Daily Show. BOARDS: BUILD, Brooklyn Public Library. HALL OF FAME: SXSW.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store