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four of the books I read in March 2018

The Love + Justice Reading Rally: March 2018

I’ve been saving what I’ve been reading and metabolizing this month.

From partnering with another women to create an impact that’s never been seen before in their industry (Misty Copeland and her publicist); to the feminism and masculinity models in Black Panther; to online trolling and cyber security; to narcissim; trauma and politics; the “male glance” (different than the male gaze and necessary reading) and subversive make-up tutorials — these are some of the pieces threading its way into my consciousness this month.

I’m sharing this Love + Justice Reading Rally with you in case there’s some good material in here for you, too.

(I publish a new  reading rally once a month, at the end of the month.)

Ok, here we go.

Here are four of the books I read(and reread!) this month


When They Call You A Terrorist, by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

Gather Together in My Name, by Maya Angelou

Sister Outsider, by Audre Lore

Intercourse, by Andrea Dworkin

(aff links)

I love everything about this.

Be Your Own Beloved Portraits on Instagram:

“In my body positive portrait sessions one thing I don’t do…is pose you. Because I find that most posing in photography is rooted in creating imagery that makes the subject’s body look smaller. To me, that goes against the idea that all bodies are worthy, right here right now (and not just when you’re photographed in a ‘smaller’ pose). Instead, we explore how YOU want to move or stand or rock your photo. We make it resonant to your body in that moment. We ditch the societal norms (and yes, the photography norms) and take photos that explore embodiment and self-connection not just presenting an idealized version of you to the viewer. And what happens is we see that self-connection, your reverence, your passion, your joy. And to me, that’s what makes you shine in your photos.”

I wonder if this explains at least part of what goes on in our own communities, when we’re veering sharply away from critique and call-ins and call-outs to outright, deliberate, committed destruction

“When your brain is in a stressed state, almost everything is perceived as a potential threat” – Emily Nagoski PhD

via Monica Ballard on Instagram

Toi Smith and I have had conversations about how much we LOVE author Ijeoma Olou’s make-up tutorials. She’s a serious writer showing us how to get the the winged eyeliner of our dreams while delivering a bon mots about smashing the patriarchy and INHABITING the beauty and style that our mainstream institutions — the law, schools, workplaces, media, our whole damn culture — have tried to legislate and erase and control in black women. Her makeup tutorials are culture-breaking and culture making. And twenty-something Sailor J takes this to a new level. Her make-up tutorials are examples of the most brilliant culture-making. You’ve gotta watch this.

This Viral “Thoughts & Prayers” Makeup Tutorial Is Making People *Super* Uncomfortable

Maybe I don’t hate Twitter, after all.

Roxane Gay offers to write ‘Batgirl’ movie after Joss Whedon exit

And it looks like Warner Bros. is interested


If Oprah can’t do permanent lifelong weight loss, maybe it can’t be done.

Hannah Eko is a writer I’m following everywhere.

As A Black Woman, I’m Tired Of Having To Prove My Womanhood

“Ain’t I a woman?” Some historical evidence suggests Sojourner Truth never asked her most famous question. But as a tall, dark-skinned black woman, it’s a question I’ve grappled with all my life.

Trans and non-binary fitness trainers are building tiny empires — on Instagram

Most gyms don’t know how to serve trans and non-binary folks, so trainers are creating their own.

This is wrenching

How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday

I Spent a Day Trying to Get to Know a Real-Life Narcissist

Over the past decade, we’ve taken to describing people we don’t like as narcissists when really they’re probably just dickheads. But what would a real, diagnosed narcissist be like?

Beware of the Sneaky Spiritual Narcissist – Terri Cole

Beware of the Sneaky Spiritual Narcissist

Writing Wednesdays: Roseanne Cash’s Dream

Rosanne Cash’s Dream

Writing Wednesdays: Narcissism and Resistance

Trump, Clinton & Trauma: Reflections on Politics by Dr. Gabor Maté

Underneath all psychiatric categories Trump manifests childhood trauma. Clinton evinces her own history of early suffering, even if milder in its impact.

Trump, Clinton and Trauma

Why Questlove, Not Gwyneth, is my Lifestyle Guru

The Maternal Wall. It’s a thing. This reminds me a lot of what Dr. Danusia Malina-Derben is saying about our “motherstopping culture”

Perspective | Moms are punished in the workplace, even when we own the business

Necessary reading.

Meet The Politician Getting Death Threats For Campaigning For Women’s Rights In Italy

h/t Soraya Chemaly on FB

When whisper networks let us down

“The tired argument against whisper networks is that they bypass “due process,” supplanting a fair investigation with rumor and conjecture. This is both true and untrue. Whisper networks certainly aren’t due process, but they also don’t bypass due process: they exist in a vacuum of due process.” The tired argument against whisper networks is that they bypass “due process,” supplanting a fair investigation with rumor and conjecture. This is both true and untrue. Whisper networks certainly aren’t due process, but they also don’t bypass due process: they exist in a vacuum of due process.

Damon Young is the truth.

America Doesn’t Have a Gun Control Problem. We Have a White-People Problem

Last August, as my wife and I and two of our friends biked through the Great Allegheny Passage in McKeesport, Pa., a city 12 miles from Pittsburgh, I joked that we probably wouldn’t see any more black people until Maryland. I was wrong. In the 150 miles between Pittsburgh and Cumberland, Md., we saw four.

I get asked about business contracts a lot and I am thoroughly unequipped to advise anyone in this matter. Maybe this resource can help. (H/t Michelle Mazur)

The Contract Shop – The Contract Shop™

this, from s.e. smith, is so very good

What My Godfather’s Glass Eye Taught Me About Disability Humor | s.e. smith

“When is disability humor appropriate and when isn’t it?”

my god. This is so good. Bryan Washington is the food writer I didn’t know I needed and now can’t be without. HIs Bayou Diaries are INCREDIBLE.

In Houston’s Diverse Culinary Landscape, Who Cooks, Who Eats, and Who Gets to Stay? | Bryan Washington

Bryan Washington on his fast-growing city, food as culture, and why you can’t talk about Houston’s cuisine without talking about race.

Holy shit. This is so smart and had my mind making all kinds of necessary leaps and twirls.

“If mainstream impact investing continues to operate within the culture of the “free market” and prioritize capital returns, by definition it will promulgate economic injustice. Is it not perverse that Ivy League-educated white men from predominantly white male dominated institutions are able to accrue wealth by investing in African American women entrepreneurs — now that diversity is considered an asset, and the latest example of doing well by doing good — while the majority of African American women are excluded from building wealth through impact investment vehicles

More on impact investing. For me, this parallels what we’re seeing in empowerment spaces, where we’re often trying to ameliorate the symptoms of a diseased system while avoiding making root-level systemic change. Eg we prescribe entrepreneurism to ameliorate the wage gap…for the select few women who can leave corporate jobs. This is individual exceptionalism, not collective empowerment.

Missing The ‘Impact’ in Impact Investing? – BALLE Views – Medium

If the goal is to disrupt social injustices, impact investing must not resemble the very same exclusionary systems it works to dismantle.

This pains me. Pains me. I love Bitch magazine and I truly believe that revenge is a practice we shouldn’t be cosigning.


Blacks Were Enslaved Well into the 1960s

More than 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, there were black people in the Deep South who had no idea they were free. These people were forced to work, violently tortured, and raped.

I love McSweeney’s.

Open Letter: An Open Letter to the Phrase “Positive Vibes Only”

On using your influence and your platform:

“I’m a big believer in using your influence responsibly. I don’t think people understand how much pressure influencers are under to talk about every issue under the sun. But that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. That’s not a part of everyone’s story. I would much rather see people using their influence responsibly and genuinely, versus talking for the sake of talking. When I make content, I’m not thinking “What’s going to make people riled up?” I’m usually thinking: “I have to get this off my chest. Or “How can people benefit from this?” That’s important to me.” I’m a big believer in using your influence responsibly. I don’t think people understand how much pressure influencers are under to talk about every issue under the sun. But that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. That’s not a part of everyone’s story. I would much rather see people using their influence responsibly and genuinely, versus talking for the sake of talking. When I make content, I’m not thinking “What’s going to make people riled up?” I’m usually thinking: “I have to get this off my chest. Or “How can people benefit from this?” That’s important to me.”

A Beauty Vlogger Who’s Not Afraid to Be Honest

“Hey Ladies!” Genderqueer in Female Entrepreneur Groups.

So many posts in entrepreneur groups start out with “Hey Ladies!” What do you do when a genderqueer person wants to join your female only space?

Here’s what publisher Petra M says about Cecilia Keating’s article on feminist bookstores:

“there is no better way to learn about feminism and its many facets than by becoming a patron of a feminist bookstore. To learn more about the re-emergence of feminist bookstores, or how to become part of this kind of community of practice, read this month’s feature story, “The Reinvention of the Feminist Bookstore” by new LiisBeth contributor, Cecilia Keating.”

The Reinvention of the Feminist Bookstore – LiisBeth

Want to level up your knowledge of feminism? Good news! Feminist hangouts of the 1970s are making a comeback-with the help of crowdfunding and innovative business models.


Open Letter to Oprah about Weight Watchers – Joslyn P. Smith – Medium

You were 14. I was 15. You carried a son. I carried a son. You lost a son. I lost one, too.

This is brilliant. A food-cart social experiment created by chef Tunde Way: “If I created the framework where I outline a problem that is indisputable, and I position you as an antagonist, and I give you a way to solve the problem tidily and be the hero — in the moment, anything other than the $30 choice becomes antisocial behavior”…Social pressure also explained why the handful of white people who decided to pay the $12 did so with apologies, trying to justify their choice. “That explained to me why the folks who refused to pay the $30 were equivocating, because they understood that they were participating in antisocial behavior.”

One chef’s social experiment: Charge minorities $12, white people $30


“Art didn’t invent oppressive gender roles, racial stereotyping or rape culture, but it reflects, polishes and sells them back to us every moment of our waking lives. We make art, and it simultaneously makes us. Shouldn’t it follow, then, that we can change ourselves by changing the art we make?”- Lindy West

We Got Rid of Some Bad Men. Now Let’s Get Rid of Bad Movies.

We deserve films that don’t teach us to hate ourselves.


I feel confident my toddler telepathically dictated this article.

Toddler Feelings Helpline

I want to celebrate this, and I want to introduce a note of caution. I’m Canadian, and Canadians love to be held up as the contrast to everything that’s wrong with the United States. There a smugness to our (apparent) progressiveness…and what happens is that this disappears the systemic oppression and CURRENT inequities and racial intolerance of white Canadians and our government from view. It’s real. And we need not to look away.

“Canada has typically liked to position itself as the inclusive, tolerant nation in juxtaposition to America and its history of racial violence. You see this, for example, in the way the Underground Railroad story of Canada as a safe haven is repeated often and well known, while the fact that slavery existed in Canada is virtually unknown. And of course thinking of Viola’s story, we imagine racial segregation as something that happened in the US but in fact it was widely practiced in Canada as well.”

Viola Desmond, the Black Woman Who Fought Against Segregation in Canada

The Feminism of Black Panther vs. Wonder Woman

transformative justice in wakanda 

by Adrienne Maree Brown

I want to say: let’s apply this audacity not just to non-profits but to our art and businesses too.

“We have to get over our self-doubts, impostor syndrome, and survival mentality. We may think that being modest is a virtue, but it is not; it’s actually really destructive. When we lower our ambitions and settle only for survival, it affects not just our individual organizations, but the entire field.[…] From now on for every strategic plan, every grant proposal, every major donor interaction, let us ask ourselves: Are we being bold enough? Are we shooting for the stars? Should we add a zero to the request? Should we add two fricken zeroes and a puppy?!””

Marginalized Communities and the Audacity of Ambition

Together we rise. A case study in excellence and getting ready by partnering and by  experimenting in new territory

Misty Copeland’s Secret Weapon Is a Woman of Power, Too

Meet Gilda Squire, the publicist who transformed Misty Copeland, the ballerina, into an international brand. Their partnership remains little known, but its results have changed both of their lives and inspired others to expand their own sense of possibility.

Misty Copeland’s Secret Weapon Is a Woman of Power, Too

This is an extraordinary essay. Extraordinary. About how our cognitive gender bias is so ingrained that it shapes whether or not we take certain stories seriously…and whether or not those stories (or TV shows or movies, or or or ) even get imagined and made in the first place.

The Male Glance By Lili Loofbourow

I’m always encouraging people (including entrepreneurs) to invest in what’s important to them. Here are some banks American culture makers could switch to , in order to put our money where our principles are.

1 Year After #BankBlack, America’s Biggest Black-Owned Bank Still Doing the Work

This would fix it pretty damn quick

Uber’s Bozoma Saint John: Tie exec pay to boosting diversity

What our “money blocks” can show us about dismantling capitalism

It’s time for us to recognize the truthfulness of our bodies responses to oppression and let these visceral truths lead us toward alternatives.

Michael Eric Dyson says whites should keep ‘individual reparations account’

“…Mr. Dyson suggested donating to the United Negro College Fund or paying “the black person who cuts your grass double what you might ordinarily pay.” “Look, if it doesn’t cost you anything, you’re not really engaging in change; you’re engaging in convenience,” Mr. Dyson said. “You’re engaged in the overflow. I’m asking you to do stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’m asking you to think more seriously and strategically about why you possess what you possess. “That is what I meant by an I.R.A.: an individual reparations account,”

How I Can Offer Reparations in Direct Proportion to My White Privilege

What it looks like to pay for the unearned advantages my whiteness has afforded me.

by Chris Moore-Backman

“ As Michelle Alexander puts it: “Nothing short of a radical shift in public consciousness holds any hope for us to end, once and for all, our nation’s history and habit of creating cast e-like systems in America.” We’re in need of a comprehensive reparations approach that reflects and nurtures this radical shift, an approach that’s powerful enough to catalyze what Ta-Nehisi Coates calls “a national reckoning.” For white folks, this means that reparations need to be nothing less than jarring. If we’re not feeling seriously disoriented, the needed shift probably isn’t happening.”

“…I’m disappointed in what I’ve experienced and understand as a lack of integrity, honesty, and an outright assault on people. In our current movement, there is no space for disagreeing with dignity, no room for dignified debate and critique. Social media, Twitter in particular, has become an unsafe place for dissent, often ending in a psychological attack on people with opposing views…As an abolitionist, I don’t believe in throwing people away. I believe we create spaces and places where people can be held accountable for the harm they have caused as well as continuing to nurture people to be a part of the larger community we are trying to shape. But the online bullying, terrorizing, shaming, and harassing must stop. Like any organizer worth their salt I’m open to critique, but I won’t be bullied or treated badly. I’m an imperfect human, and as such I have a proclivity to make mistakes. And while I make mistakes, I am not my mistakes.”- Patrisse Khan-Cullors

We Didn’t Start a Movement, We Started a Network – Patrisse Cullors


“You can be a woman of color or you can be a queer woman and not necessarily have an intersectional analysis…. You can be a white woman or a man of color and have an intersectional analysis. It’s one of the reasons why I stay away from the idea that you can tell if a movement or an organization is intersectional just based on who’s leading it. That’s not always the case.” Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw

No Single-Issue Politics, Only Intersectionality: An Interview With Kimberlé Crenshaw

By Laura Flanders , Truthout | Interview

I think a lot about the politics of affection. I’ve written that (your) likability is a social trigger that can be used as a form of manipulation to advantage you as a seller. I’ve also been thinking a lot of about the requirement that we have to like someone in order to respect them, for work with them…I think it’s limiting. There are lots of people I don’t personally like who are brilliant and doing necessary work. Ijeoma Oluo takes this on in her book “So You Want To Talk About Race”. She writes, roughly, that if you don’t like someone, or a group, but you’re still committed to the outcome or the cause, just work elsewhere or do it differently. Others have written about ally-ship, and how if your commitment to a cause is dependent on being liked by the people you’re allying with, that’s a pretty tentative commitment. Anyway. That’s all to say that I followed a link from the feminist magazine Liisbeth to Adam Kahane’s article describing his new book about “Stretch Collaboration”.

“Our conventional understanding of collaboration is that it requires us all to be on the same team and headed in the same direction, to agree on what has to happen and be able to make sure this happens, and to get people to do what needs to be done. In other words, we assume that collaboration can and must be under control. But this conventional assumption is wrong. When we are working in complex situations with diverse others, collaboration cannot and need not be controlled. Unconventional, stretch collaboration abandons the assumption of control. It gives up unrealistic fantasies of harmony, certainty, and compliance, and embraces messy realities of discord, trial and error, and co-creation. Stretch collaboration enables us to get things done even in complex situations with people we don’t agree with or like or trust.”

Collaborating with the Enemy


“The casual disposal of real lives through the wood chipper of dehumanization/conspiracy/deep state fan fiction has nothing to do with fact or journalism….The lies that we outline in the case are demonstrably false, but none of these sites took the time to fact-check, confirm their story, or even ask me to comment on the tales they told. They created a persona from drawing fantastical lines to connect vague data points, and launched harmful accusations as an attack on my credibility because they did not like what the video I captured showed: that violence inevitably arises from the kind of hate these outlets routinely broadcast. Real people are really harmed when fake media spreads fake news.” [emphasis mine]

The Courts Could Make Fox News and Alex Jones Pay for Pushing Fake News About Real People

By Dahlia Lithwick

how information warfare and disinformation campaigns work

PDF – www.li.com

**anti-woman bias shows up in evaluations about women professors**

Student Evaluations Can’t Be Used to Assess Professors. They’re Discriminatory.

By Kristina Mitchell

Imagine that you’re up for a promotion at your job, but before your superior decides whether you deserve it, you have to submit the comments section of an internet article that was written about you for assessment. Sound a little absurd? That’s in essence what we ask professors in higher education to do when they submit their teaching evaluations in their tenure and promotion portfolios.

The Complete Guide to Understanding and Dealing With Online Trolls

“Fatties Gonna Fat.” That’s the first message I ever received from an internet troll. I had two immediate thoughts: What does this even mean , and who has enough free time to send this kind of nonsense to strangers ? Now, over six years later, I’ve become an expert in online harassment the hard way.

I’m sorry I even had to save this or share this, but, internet.

Crash Override Network // Resource Center

Resource Center Guides and Other Resources. Programs and Tools

And that brings me to the end of the list of articles I saved this month. Thanks for reading – I hope there was something in here for you.

If you’d like to read last month’s Reading Rally, you’ll find it here.


Kelly Diels teaches culture-making entrepreneurs & creators how to develop a substantial body of work that changes EVERYTHING -- your life, your industry, our world. (AKA Thought leadership for people who cringe at the phrase "thought leader".)  Her Sunday Love Letter can help you surface *your* unique method, step by step, week after week. www.kellydiels.com/subscribe

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