#5SmartReads - January 24, 2022
Hitha on legislating Big Tech, the teacher-student divide, and Sarita Choudhury
A gentle reminder that you can join the conversation of the day’s reads by clicking the title above and add your thoughts in the comments! My goal for #5SmartReads has always been to start conversations and share our thoughts and perspectives. I hope to see you there!
New step to curb tech giants’ power advanced by Senate panel (Associated Press)
In “wow, bipartisanship still exists” news, I give you some common sense regulation of the largest technology companies in the world.
Now while the intent of the bill makes sense, enforcement and implementation is going to be the difficult part. And the claims made by the companies that will be impacted by them - hampering security and privacy - seem somewhat comical, given how they use their users’ data.
With BBB likely not happening in this Congress, bills like these are among the few I expect to come to the floor for votes and get signed into law. More to come.
I couldn’t tell you why I’m still watching ‘And Just Like That.’
Maybe I’m a masochist (and that’s why I read books about pandemics while living in one). Maybe I’m nostalgic.
Maybe it’s both of these things - AND Sarita Choudhury. Who is the GOAT of the show, in my honest opinion.
The real Sarita is even more engaging and charming than her character Seema, and I’ve noted down this quote from Sarita re: criticism:
“I’m so excited by it all. I know that sounds weird. I feel there’s something very alive going on in the conversation. I’m shocked by some of the criticism only because it’s really hard to add four new characters and do a good job. You’re naturally going to fail somewhere. And I was impressed by how the show gave us all full lives. When you’re added to a show, it’s usually just to help progress the protagonist, but in this show, I don’t feel like I’m ever doing that.”
America's Health Care Depends on Women (VeryWell Health)
A full recovery from COVID will only happen if women lead it. Especially within healthcare, which has too often de-prioritized the health, safety, and economic security of the women seeking care and those who work in it.
My brilliant friend Meg has worked throughout the industry - in patient care as a nurse, in both pharmaceutical development and distribution, in academia, and in investment and governance. She backs up the headline with facts, statistics, and actual plans.
Plans that would be covered by the Build Back Better bill (so get your voting and volunteering plans ready for the midterms).
Paid leave. Flexible work options. Vocational training. These three things can help steady our fragile healthcare system and rebuild a solid foundation to build a truly equitable system upon.
Kate Hudson's Absurd Empire (Back Row)
This piece by Amy Odell is a scathing rebuke of all celebrity-fronted businesses, and I’ve read this no fewer than 5 times because I find something new every time I read it.
“Hudson, who is gorgeous and fit and cares about what she eats, has fallen into a troubling pattern many women celebrities have, where they cast their empires in an sheen of “wellness,” a word unique in its simultaneous emptiness and appeal.”
I have a lot of feelings about this. Thin, beautiful, White women are able to get away with this and that they are making a lot of White men (who have traditionally held most of the money and power) even richer and more powerful in the process. The circle jerk of a celebrity face - press all too willing to feature them (because they sell covers and clicks) to produce products that no one really needs and does more harm than good is tired and old and yet inescapable. All the while, women-founded businesses that are carefully manufacturing products that solve actual problems and help people don’t get the same funding, press, and resources to scale.
Amy does a phenomenal job of connecting all these dots. And if you haven’t subscribed to her newsletter, you must! It’s brilliant.
History is written by the winners. It’s rarely written to present the full, unvarnished picture of what really happened. Only in my history classes in college was I taught about this lens, and only in a handful of classes (colonization and imperialism, African-American studies).
Books are being banned and social studies and curriculum is being whitewashed in states all over the country. That these lessons are largely being taught by White teachers as well…
If you are not Black and posted a black box on your Instagram grid 18 months ago and read a book about anti-racism or white supremacy, please take a look at what’s happening in your community (school board elections, changes in curriculum, the diversity breakdown of teachers in your school district) and take some kind of action.
Anti-racism is not a destination, but a long journey that requires us to show up and work, every single day. I have a deep respect for our teachers and what they are tasked to do with too few resources and wages that don’t capture the value of their work.