Today in Tabs: The Brunch Heard ‘Round The Web

Let us do now what you fear most.

Today in Tabs: The Brunch Heard ‘Round The Web
[Photo: Flickr user CZR-E for The Come Up Show, Screenshot: via Twitter]

Hi, hello, it me, Rusty Foster!! [Ed: It not me, it Bijan.] Today I’ve got a Very Special Issue of Tabs for you. Today’s newsletter is tangentially about Ethics In Journalismsms, but mostly about representation, and, by extension, survival. I’m happy to present to you, dear reader, the first (ever!) NONWHITE TABS1. Jack in to the ‘net and hold on to your asses. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride. Let’s begin.


A few words, first, from Jazmine:

Like all good things, this began over brunch. Durga Chew-Bose wondered aloud about the inability—or unwillingness, tbh—of editors to find writers of color for their publications, and posed a solution: What if we did the job for them? What if we put together a database of writers of color as a resource for editors? What if we made this so easy that people couldn’t ignore it?

First: we finished brunch. Then, along with Vijith Assar and Buster Bylander, we set the plan in motion: create a site that listed writers of color, searchable by location and interest, and promote it to assigning editors. Finally, I did what I do best: bullied Bijan into helping us out. Consider this the big launch2 of: Writers of Color dot org.

[Lil’ Wayne voice] Ok I’m goin back in (hi it’s Bijan again).

First up: If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all (which, if you haven’t, get yourself the fuck woke), you’ve probably been hearing a lot about black death, McKinney, TX, and swimming pools. I grew up close enough to McKinney to have visited a few times, close enough that watching the video of a police officer assaulting black teenagers at a pool party was uncanny. What really got me was something my coworker Jamil Smith wrote:


…I imagine Becton will have her scars from the experience of being assaulted by Casebolt, as will the two boys at whom the officer pointed his weapon. I wonder if they’d seen the videos of Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, and Walter Scott being shot and had a feeling they were about to become hashtags. (Emphasis mine.)

Who gets to use public pools without pain of assault? Which spaces belong to everyone? These are the animating questions of a melanin-rich life.

As TNC might say, on y va. We’ve got ground left to cover. Let’s talk salmon and baseball cards, which are still part of the American Dream. DIVERSIFY YOUR PORTFOLIOS, BROS. U tryna Shonda tho?

Are you high right now? Do you ever get nervous? Are you single? I heard you fucked your girl, is it true?

[BILLY MAYS VOICE]: But wait, there’s more. I’ve brought along an intern, the too-smart-for-his/our-own-good Vijith Assar.


HAHAHA okay Bijan, it’s a funny idea, but I’ll bet you $5 that nobody ever actually reads this thing because I don’t think it’s possible to compile a media industry newsletter (or whatever this operation is supposed to be, I’m still confused) without any white people. What on earth would a diverse media even look like? Like BuzzFeed, ascendant with mind-boggling growth and absolutely terrifying to incumbents? Bless your heart. This might end up being the shortest Tabs in history, aside from the days when R—— just forgets to send one.

Anyway, let’s talk about tech. I’ve been juggling all manner of weird bugs for the past few weeks while working on this goddamn web site, some so baffling that I felt like Ramsey Nasser trying to create قلب, a programming language entirely in Arabic. It kept breaking because our founding nerd fathers forgot to allow certain fundamental technical infrastructure to accept multilingual characters. There is always a point of failure, and it is always English—even today, GitHub still won’t recognize the actual name of Nasser’s language. New emoji options notwithstanding, the tech industry is Anglocentric at its core, and it may be irreversible unless we all agree to give up the internet for a while.

Sound familiar? Even if it’s obvious that we’ve assembled police forces which don’t reflect the demographics of the people they’re “protecting” (i.e. attacking), the outrage spreads within a media echo chamber with the same problem; we privilege white people to report on everything, including the police. Minority writers have it almost as rough as black NYPD job candidates, which is why compiling this many links is already the most difficult internship I’ve ever had.

Maybe the most important thing BuzzFeed has figured out is this: If, in 2015, you’re still trying to reach your coveted younger demographic through old white men, those snake people will go elsewhere because you’re already just a bunch of Tabs; irrelevant nonsense, or hate-reads at best. And since the similarly exclusionary tech industry apparently intends to keep absorbing you into their proprietary platforms, maybe you aren’t even that anymore.

Flexing resumes: Me, my face, and I. Ball is life. For the haters. You’re hearing things wrong. Who’s white?. How to save a life.


Today’s Lesson: I could continue, but this is already far too long. If I had to leave you with a lesson (also, a thanks for making it this far), I’d say this: Open your eyes. Listen more, speak less. Use Jazmine and Durga’s list. There are so many of us, and our stories are beautiful.

Finally: never, ever tweet.

Today’s Song: “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd

~And a thousand faces swirled around me, clamoring that / my life be burned~

Today in Tabs will be back tomorrow with a quiz, and Monday if I manage to stop debugging Paul Ford’s new book and read the thing. Until then, see you on Fast Company and in email and keep it real, team.



1. As an aside: You’ll notice a lot of personal stories in these tabs. That’s okay. It’s one of those things about being a writer of color and having access to the internet—we write to convince ourselves that we’re not imagining things, and to convince others that white reality isn’t objective reality. Really, I suspect it’s something to do with reminding ourselves that our lives—our narratives—matter too.

2. Lol how sad, this is a newsletter.

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