Entries tagged "race"

Oakland and Tech: What and who is a city, or a technology *for* ?

Written in partial reply to a post by my friend Susan Mernit about an experience at a tech event in Oakland. Real estate coasts are pushing tech businesses and workers to Oakland. I already live in Oakland and love it.

There is an incredible opportunity to learn from the rich history and amazing people who have made up Oakland long before recent transplants. Oakland was a Black city. It’s been a pretty lesbian city for a long time. I still have a lot to learn about it and it’s history. It’s a very diverse city.  The tech business in general has some real room to grow around its social environment and vibe. It was a much more nerdy, inclusive happy-go-lucky vibe (unsurprisingly) before it became such a big money driver full of people who aren’t focussed on ideas first and dollars second. It seemed more Woz than Jobs. I think the challenge of tech’s actual business and products and the challenge of Oakland now aren’t that far apart. It’s learning how to humanize and keep people and our needs and selves seen and met. Not re-arranged to meet the needs of algorithms. Because the machines are getting smarter every day. And eventually they will need us less and less if we don’t recall why we built them in the first place.

 

Toni Morrison explains Charlie Rose’s privilege to him. Slowly.

Toni Morrison patiently schooling Charlie Rose on privilege and offensive questions:

If I’m going to say when are you going to write about Black people to a white writer? If that’s a legitimate question to a white writer then it is a legitimate question to me? I just don’t think it is….As if our lives have no meaning without the white gaze.

The rhythm starts building into this at 2:47 but watch the whole thing. I especially like the raised brow when she says “journalist” to him. Her absolutely profound self-legitimacy of voice (among other things) is inspiring to me. Her standing in her self is beautiful. She holds the moment. She does not seek only to make him comfortable. She does not avoid what is at stake. She does not cede herself in explanation. She holds the space and it is the interviewer who must understand. Toni Morrison creates a very rare genuine moment on television. Video after the jump. I’m trying to keep the pages concise.

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