Another tweak to the format of this column this week, I won’t be responding to or analyzing the stories here, to get my analysis watch the series on the I,Hypocrite YouTube channel.
In The Guardian this week, Noreena Hertz puzzled over why the gender pay gap has persisted in Iceland despite the government’s many policies to eliminate it, including generous paid leave for new mothers and fathers, state-subsidized childcare, and gender quotas for corporate boards. “Explanations vary,” she wrote, “from women going into less well-paid professions, to the penalty paid for working part-time that we’ve found in the UK as well, to the time it takes for employers’ implicit gender biases to shift.”
Airbnb sent out an email to their users on Saturday asking them to agree to a new “community commitment.” Not doing so will result in the loss of your Airbnb account.
The email specifically details the commitment, which is essentially a non-discrimination policy. It reads, “You commit to treat everyone — regardless of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age — with respect, and without judgment or bias.”
In early June, we announced that we would review every aspect of the Airbnb platform to help ensure we are doing everything we can to fight bias and discrimination. We asked Laura Murphy, the former head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington D.C. Legislative Office, to lead the process.
During our review, we looked at every part of Airbnb and sought advice from experts such as former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the leaders of dozens of different organizations.
We’ll be implementing a new policy called Open Doors. Starting October 1st, if a Guest anywhere in the world feels like they have been discriminated against in violation of our policy – in trying to book a listing, having a booking canceled, or in any other interaction with a host – we will find that Guest a similar place to stay if one is available on Airbnb, or if not, we will find them an alternative accommodation elsewhere. This program will also apply retroactively to any Guest who reported discrimination prior to today. All of these Guests will be offered booking assistance for their next trip.
When Twitter announced Thursday that it was shutting down its video service Vine, the news sent a good many people into a state of shock, sadness and fury.
Vine, which allowed users to make six-second video loops, was beloved by people everywhere ― but it held a particular importance for black people, who were among its most active users. The app, which was purchased by Twitter in 2014 and has an average of 200 million active monthly users, was dominated by millennials, many of them African-American. Users like King Bach and Alphacat and young funny women like Simone Shepherd are among the most popular black Viners, and the app gave them a reach that took their careers to a whole other level.
Over the years, Vine grew into a sensational display of often startlingly funny videos. Black creators, who remain underrepresented in the entertainment industry, used the platform to show each other, and the world, just how many forms black creativity and black excellence could assume. Through humor and joy, Vine allowed users to redefine blackness on their own terms and through their own reflections; it allowed them to show off sides of the black experience that don’t usually make it to air on national TV.
Imagine if, during the Jim Crow era, a newspaper offered advertisers the option of placing ads only in copies that went to white readers.
That’s basically what Facebook is doing nowadays.
When we showed Facebook’s racial exclusion options to a prominent civil rights lawyer John Relman, he gasped and said, “This is horrifying. This is massively illegal. This is about as blatant a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act as one can find.”
Facebook says its policies prohibit advertisers from using the targeting options for discrimination, harassment, disparagement or predatory advertising practices.
“We take a strong stand against advertisers misusing our platform: Our policies prohibit using our targeting options to discriminate, and they require compliance with the law,” said Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook. “We take prompt enforcement action when we determine that ads violate our policies.”
Satterfield said it’s important for advertisers to have the ability to both include and exclude groups as they test how their marketing performs. For instance, he said, an advertiser “might run one campaign in English that excludes the Hispanic affinity group to see how well the campaign performs against running that ad campaign in Spanish. This is a common practice in the industry.”
Satterfield added that the “Ethnic Affinity” is not the same as race — which Facebook does not ask its members about. Facebook assigns members an “Ethnic Affinity” based on pages and posts they have liked or engaged with on Facebook.
Student protesters at the University of California-Berkeley gathered in front of a bridge on campus and forcibly prevented white people from crossing it. Students of color were allowed to pass.
The massive human wall was conceived as a pro-safe space demonstration. Activists wanted the university administration to designate additional safe spaces for trans students, gay students, and students of color. They were apparently incensed that one of their official safe spaces had been moved from the fifth floor of a building to the basement.
In the video, the activists appeared to let several students of color pass unmolested, but white students were forced to find other routes. A few who tried to force their way through were violently rebuffed. Protesters shouted “Go around! Go around!” at a white man on a bicycle.
Another student was told, “This is bigger than you,” by a protester. “This is about whiteness.”
On the heels of Blue Cat Cafe’s anniversary, Austin’s first cat cafe was vandalized on Friday, October 21. Statesmanreported that someone spray painted “Fuck you gentrified scum” on the cafe’s door and front of its adjacent food trailer. The person or persons also glued the doors shut.
Blue Cat Cafe’s grounds on East Cesar Chavez are controversial. It is adjacent to the lot that used to house pinata store Jumpolin, which was suddenly demolished in 2015. The land is owned by F&F Real Estate Ventures, run by Jordan French and Darius Fisher. People call the razing as unfair, and don’t believe any business they see as benefiting F&F (i.e. paying rent) should exist on the property. This includes the cat cafe.
And via the I,Hypocrite Facebook page: