Issue #28

Black unemployment, McDonald’s, Danielle Ponder, The Dossier goes daily September 8

Starting Tuesday September 8 The Dossier will be in your inbox every morning. The Dossier is the essential daily briefing that keeps you informed, inspired and mildly entertained.

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Happy Labor Day weekend!

📰 Toplines

Market Watch: Initial jobless claims fall 130,000 to 881,000, but drop tied to change in statistical method

WSJ: U.S. Trade Deficit Widest Since 2008 in July as Imports Outpaced Exports

CNBC: ‘Historic’ CDC order bans evictions through the end of the year. Here’s what to know

NYT: After Accusations of Police Cover-Up, Daniel Prude Case Goes to Grand Jury

Courier Journal: Protesters fill streets outside Kentucky Derby, calling for justice for Breonna Taylor

USA TODAY: Anita Hill backs Biden, despite his 'mistakes' in handling her testimony during Clarence Thomas hearings

Chicago Sun-Times: Emmett Till’s childhood home granted preliminary landmark status

AJC: ACLU of Georgia says nearly 200k voters were wrongly removed from registration rolls in 2019

CNN: Michael Bloomberg is giving $100 million to help graduates of historically Black med schools pay off their loans

Bloomberg: Michael Jordan takes DraftKings equity stake, boosting shares

ESPN: Serena Williams rallies past Sloane Stephens in three sets to advance at US Open

⚖️ Food for thought, food for the soul

Public Defender. Singer. Songwriter.

While attorney-vocalist Danielle Ponder didn’t win NPR’s 2020 Tiny Desk contest, she most certainly got noticed:

Danielle Ponder worked as a public defender in her native Rochester, NY for five years before pursuing her music career full time in 2018.

Ponder discussed her career change in an interview with NPR this weekend:

In music you’re telling a story. And a good storyteller or a good songwriter is telling a story in a way where the audience empathizes, or can see themselves in that person’s shoes. And I think a good defense attorney does the same thing.

She continues:

They may not pick up a book. But everyone loves music and people will go to concerts. There is an ability for musicians to speak to people who other folks may not be able to speak to.

I wrote this song before all of this happened. I guess with the track record of this country I should have known that it would find its relevance again. It was Willie Simmons’ story in March, and then it was George Floyd’s story in May. And now it’s Daniel Prude’s story in September.

These songs are timeless because we have not found a way to end the pain and suffering of Black people in this country.

Check out Danielle Ponder’s music on Spotify and YouTube, and take a minute to snag some merch from her website like we did.

🦠 COVID-19

Heading into Labor Day, the U.S. reports nearly 6.3 million cases of coronavirus with the death toll approaching 190,000.

Globally, there are 27 million cases of coronavirus and nearly 900,000 deaths.

STAT: Fauci warns that Labor Day celebrations could drive Covid-19 spikes

Washington Post: U.S. says it won’t join WHO-linked effort to develop, distribute coronavirus vaccine

📉 Black unemployment rate is 13%

You might have seen headlines that read something like “Unemployment rate falls below 10% for the first time since March.”

Such headlines are criminally misleading because they only apply to white people. Here’s the breakdown of the August unemployment rate:

U.S. — 8.4%

White — 7.3%

Latino — 10.5%

Asian — 10.7%

Black — 13%

In August, Black unemployment was 55% higher than the overall U.S. unemployment rate and 78% higher than the white unemployment rate.

This is just more evidence that “the” headlines are not “our” headlines.

👀 Not lovin’ it

A group of 52 Black former McDonald’s franchisees are suing the fast food company for $1 billion in damages. The suit alleges McDonald’s knowingly discriminated against Black franchisees with practices including the following:

  • Steering Plaintiffs to locations with low-volume sales and higher operating costs, such as higher security costs due to crime, higher insurance rates, and higher employee turnover, because of their race;

  • Excluding Plaintiffs from the purchase of restaurants in the open market because of their race;

  • Providing Plaintiffs with misleading financial information to induce them to purchase McDonald’s least desirable franchises;

  • Requiring Plaintiffs to invest in rebuilds and/or renovations within short time frames not required of White franchisees;

  • Excluding Plaintiffs from the same growth opportunities to higher-volume, lower-cost stores offered to White franchisees;

  • Failing to provide any legitimate business reasons for repeated denials of franchise opportunities to Plaintiffs over many years;

  • Denying Plaintiffs meaningful support to allow them to overcome financial hardships, while White franchisees were routinely provided such assistance, including, but not limited to, permanent rent relief and impact funding;

  • Depriving Plaintiffs of the same legacy opportunities offered to White franchisees through McDonald’s Next Generation (“Next Gen”) program;

  • Retaliation against Plaintiffs for rejecting offers to continue operations in crime-ridden neighborhoods with low-volume sales, including through targeted, increased, and unreasonable inspections;

  • Disparate treatment with respect to inspections and grading of Plaintiffs’ restaurants as part of a scheme to generate bad business reviews to force Plaintiffs out of the McDonald’s system because of their race; and/or

  • Placing Plaintiffs in untenable positions of economic duress, denying them eligibility for growth and renewal of their agreements, and arbitrarily denying final approval of their buyers, so that Plaintiffs had no choice but to exit on McDonald’s terms, at a loss.

Read the lawsuit here.

One of the more damning data points cited in the suit is the more than 50% decline in the number of Black franchisees from 377 in 1998 to only 186 in 2020.

McDonald’s has long branded itself as a company not only interested in Black consumers, but in supporting Black communities and creating opportunities for Black operators.

That seems to have attracted a certain type of entrepreneur. As Marcia Chatelain wrote in The Atlantic earlier this year:

While conducting research for my most recent book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, I learned that for African Americans, franchising isn’t just about making individuals rich. In fact, African Americans have used the wealth generated from franchising to help close the racial employment gap by providing jobs in their communities, and they’ve shared their dollars with historically black colleges and universities and partnered with storied civil-rights groups, like the NAACP. Even today, black franchise owners often see themselves as torchbearers of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, although they often forget about his wish to see organized labor and his critiques of capitalism.

Like what you see? Suggestions? Criticisms? Anything we missed? We’d love to hear from you!

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