SPONSORED: What’s that you say? You haven’t heard of the Global Readiness Forum? Don’t worry. Neither had we, which is why we had no choice but to create it! But who are we and what exactly is it that we do, you ask? Simply put, the Global Readiness Forum is a group of global business leaders and language industry veterans who study current events and trends at the intersection of language, culture, ethnicity, geopolitics and global business — you know, the types of things that led many of us to be curious about the world and language in the first place, but which, too often, go unnoticed in our traditional day-to-day work.
My interest is piqued! How do I get in on the action? We’re currently accepting applications to join our client-side discussion group, reserved for senior-level professionals working in client-side roles in global operations, which meets at 9 am Pacific Time every other Friday.
Can’t make it? Don’t currently qualify? Tune in to our sister podcast, The Venn Diagram, hosted by Michael Reid, and be sure to check out this week’s curated topics below!
July 2, 2021
This year in the United States Juneteenth made its last-minute debut as a federal holiday when President Biden signed into law legislation making it an official holiday. Although Juneteenth has been celebrated for well over a century in some parts of the country and was already an official state holiday in most US states, many in the US lack knowledge around relevant traditions and appropriate ways to celebrate the holiday. This week, we will look at one way not to celebrate it, as Ikea learned the hard way when they offered a racially insensitive holiday menu in their Atlanta store that included fried chicken and watermelon without consulting any Black employees. Then we’ll dive deeper into the two underlying Black racist food tropes surrounding fried chicken and watermelon with a glimpse back at a couple of past related racial blunders committed by KFC Australia and the British government, and consider some insights shared by Black Americans around the stigma of eating fried chicken and watermelon in front of white people.
In the news, we’ll discuss the Latinx colorism in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights,” for which he offered an apology, followed by a look at two censorship fails made by Coca-Cola and the US website Insider Voice, an instance of cultural appropriation surrounding Michael B. Jordan’s J’ouvert rum, and discover what happens when a British influencer and BTS fan attempts to “identify as Korean.”
In closing, we’ll look at an Iowa county swapping eponymous Johnsons, and finish up with one of our favorite topics — border zone oddities, with a glimpse of the Kazungula super-bridge that connects Zambia and Botswana, barely missing Namibia and Zimbabwe.