A Guide for Responding to White Supremacist-Sympathizers
*Sigh* Hey folks, in the wake of the tragic events that have taken place recently, I’m going to give you a guide for responding to those important (or not so important) people in your life.
Before that, however, let’s make a couple of things clear. Racism — especially inciting hatred and oppression — is neither dead, nor new. Racism is unacceptable, period.
Publicly gathering to express that any person(s) should in any way be judged by something other than the content of their individual character incites hatred, oppression.
Isn’t making someone out to be less than human the most blatant example of fighting words? Isn’t inciting hatred and oppression necessarily an attempt to incite violence? Isn’t advocating the subjugation of people creating a clear and present danger?
Hate is not an opinion. Hate is not “free speech”.
Unfortunately, there’s a litany of rhetoric that white supremacist-sympathizers reflexively spout in tragic situations like Charlottesville, VA.
Here’s a guide on the various forms of white supremacist-sympathizers and how to counter these toxic beliefs:
Are YOU a Slave Though?
This is a rare exception where I’ll use a word I consider highly offensive to illustrate a point. Dear white supremacist-sympathizers, simply because I’m a free nigger (and I use the term free loosely) doesn’t mean there isn’t a systemic oppression of black people. Read The New Jim Crow.
Racism Has Gotten a Lot Better!
Like I said, read at least the first chapter of The New Jim Crow. Or watch 13th or Dear White People if you don’t have the attention span.
Tell me more about how racism has gotten a lot better. #ReportHate
Eh, It’s Free Speech…
“Guess you have to take the good with the bad, it’s what our country was founded on,” this is often found alongside a casual shrug.
Was it? Let’s fact-check that.
The American republic was founded on a set of beliefs that were tested during the Revolutionary War. Among them was the idea that all people are created equal, whether European, Native American, or African American, and that these people have fundamental rights — Library of Congress
The First Amendment doesn’t give anyone a right to free speech, in fact it doesn’t even stop government from interfering in free speech. “Congress shall make no law…”
That’s right, everything you’ve held to be protected under the First Amendment is simply a restriction on law-making. This is why the courts are so influential in constitutional matters.
MLK Was Better than Malcolm X
It’s embarrassing how widespread this one is. You’ll even find people of color debating this one. Could slavery have been abolished in the absence of violence? Peaceful non-violence alone is as futile as violence alone; and even together they were both assassinated.
What About Racism Against Whites?
This could also come in the forms of BlueLivesMatter, AllLivesMatter, or especially WhiteLivesMatter and arguments about “reverse racism”. Here I will provide a caveat that this is predominately racism via ignorance.
Anyone can be racist, yes. However, reverse racism/reverse discrimination is a misnomer. I don’t care if you went to an all black school and were singled out.
Think of it this way, lets say all black people and all white people hated each other equally, the difference is that a white person (77% of America) may stumble into a room filled with black people (12% of America) and feel threatened, but a black person can’t avoid entering a room where they feel threatened.
This isn’t even taking into account that the vast majority of civic, financial, economic, educational, and even charitable institutions are owned and operated by white people.
These People Are a Minority
Again, I wish this were true. I’m not disputing this because it brings me pleasure, but because it is dangerously false. Unlike Donald Trump supports (see this article) It’s not unreasonable to assume that their is a white supremacist for every non-jailed black person in America, while at the same time, the average white person may have never even encountered a white supremacist.
There are as 917 groups across the country. Click the link to see a map.
Edit: Washington and Jefferson Owned Slaves!
This is so problematic. The problems with the confederacy — you know, that treasonous collective that pit brother against brother to preserve slavery among other things?
These problems are different from those of reparations. If you want to talk about reparations, there are voluminous tomes on that subject at your local library.
I’m Not Racist, There Are Just Some Racists In My Party
If you hold someone down while someone else rapes them are you a rapist? How would you feel about that? If you still defend the racist…you ARE the racist. People don’t call me tall because their feelings are hurt, they call me tall because I am tall. It is time to cast aside delicacy with the alt-right snowflakes who erupt when called racist. News flash, I wish you WEREN’T racist, and no person of color would call you one unless it were true.
Retaliation to non-violence with non-violence, and to violence with self-defense is justified under the vast majority of legal and ethical laws. Speaking personally, I’ve seen the look of fear, shame, or indifference on those who see something and do nothing.
Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change. -Malcolm X
A venture fund might make 20 investments. 15 of them will probably return nothing. 3 or 4 may return 5–10x. And 1 or 2 may return 20–30x. This hypothetical fund will return 2–4x despite the fact that 75% of investments returned 0x.
This strategy of portfolio composition is known as “venture capital economics”. Big returns on a few investments in the portfolio drive the returns for the whole portfolio.
This model has other problems. By far the largest is illiquidity. Once a venture investment is made, the fund will not realize a return until the company sells or IPOs. Limited partners, who commit capital to venture funds, have to commit for 7–13 years. Few investors can afford to think on that time-scale.
A venture fund cannot change its mind about an investment once it’s been made due to the same illiquidity constraints. There is no way for a venture fund to liquidate or reduce their their investment even if presented with new information.
Typically venture funds won’t invest in direct competitors to a portfolio company to avoid conflicts of interest (this decouples at the latest stages of private investment, but not series A/B/C). This means that venture firms will invest in only one company within a competitive space, even if the space is big enough for multiple successful companies. Venture investors must choose either Uber or Lyft. Facebook or Linkedin. Pandora or Spotify. Postmates or Doordash. This is risky in that it doesn’t accommodate diversification as a way of hedging risk.
Generally speaking, Multicoin Capital gets the best of both worlds: venture capital economics but with public market liquidity. We experience venture capital economics as we invest in promising protocols while they are young and aim for outsized returns on every investment. But all the assets Multicoin Capital invests in are liquid. This means that we reserve the right to change our minds about a given investment.
If we thought an investment could be 10x, and we discover while we’re up 2x that upside is capped at 2.5x, we can take our profits and move on. On the other hand, if an investment is down 50%, we can sell and get half our invested capital back. Many venture funds attempt to do this by salvaging the companies, but this is usually a laborious process. When we choose to cut our losses, we can do so overnight with minimal headache.
Most importantly, Multicoin Capital can invest in competing protocols rather than having to pick a single winner in a competitive space. This significantly lowers risk for investors. It is generally easier to spot trends than it is to pick specific winners. For example, there are many smart contract platforms today: Ethereum, NEO, Stratis, Lisk, Aeternity, Tezos, WAVES, and more. Although Ethereum is the market leader today, there are strong cases to be made that smart contract platforms will not be winner-take-all platforms. So there is real opportunity in investing in smaller platforms at 1/100th the price of Ethereum’s $30B network value.
Historically, investing in technology trends meant investing in illiquid assets. This creates risk because capital is locked up as the technology evolves and the market changes. Cryptoassets offer a unique and novel investment profile, one that combines venture-style upside potential, but with lower risk and shorter commitment due to asset liquidity. Or in other words, venture capital economics with public market liquidity.
One of my earliest memories in life, around 2 or 3 years old, is about putting together a Lego set, a big pirate ship, lined with cannons on the sides and decked in pirate flags. I haven’t stop building things since then. I wholeheartedly believe that I didn’t choose to be an engineer, “it” chose me. I can’t even tell if it was nurture or nature since my mother, my step-father, my step-brother and his wife, are also engineers. My best friend from high school ended up being an engineer too. I grew up in an environment that fostered my desire to build and create all sort of things. Lego sets were just the beginning; I quickly moved onto helping with some basic carpentry, drawing, cooking, playing music, and as I reached my teens, electronics, and simple computer programs to manage all my video games. However, one thing was always tacitly present in my mind whenever I made something:
If my creation was good enough, others would recognize it.
I didn’t realize it then, but while the pleasure of building didn’t depend on the external praise, my perceived quality on the end result did. Nevertheless, because I grew up surrounded by like-minded people, the recognition was there. And while for most going through college expands their horizons, I ended up with more engineers around me, tasked with making engineering solutions and being graded on it. The assumption that the quality of my creations depended on others immediately recognizing it was even further cemented as I was being handed my degree. My graduation project was a one-of-a-kind design for a high-fidelity vacuum tube amplifier. This tube amp (which now sits proudly in my living room) was the epitome and the most accurate physical manifestation of my implicit thought. All I had to do was turn it on and the quality spoke for itself. It ended up being awarded the prize for best graduation project without having to open my mouth to “sell it”.
I don’t believe there was anything wrong with thinking like this, had I stayed an engineer. This philosophy led me to file my first patent at 22 years old, and was the fuel for becoming technical team lead of my IBM team before I left. And that’s when, for the first time in my life, I veered away from the engineering path. My then friend, now also business partner, convinced me that I could stop giving my creations to others and for me to reap their benefits. She convinced me that I could be an entrepreneur. Yet, neither her nor me, were prepared for the uncomfortable truth we quickly learned:
Nobody cares how great your creation is.
I found myself in a world where terrible products were praised and phenomenal inventions overlooked. Notoriety no longer depended solely on quality, but on buzz. Salesmanship, publicity, marketing, virality, and particularly reputation, were now more important. I had only considered the reputation of a creation to be a by-product of its quality. My philosophy of quality speaking for itself was no more, and in its place a new understanding of something I have failed to concentrate on my entire life, building clout. In hindsight, I should’ve seen this coming. I was able to partner up with 2 out of my 3 current co-founders because I had built a reputation with them before hand. We are over halfway through our fundraising and for every single one of our investors it was the reputation built with them that was the key to their interest. Suddenly, I was aware of this new commodity. The success of a creation as a tandem collaboration with the reputation of the creator.
“If a great musician plays great music but no one hears… Was he really any good?”
Maybe in an idealist world, but the harsh truth is that with the ridiculous excess of options we have nowadays, we are relying of superficial things to filter out content.
I’m doing something about it and working on building my presence because my product is not going to do it for me. In fact, if I want my startup to be worth paying attention to, I better become somebody worth listening to. So, whether you are “a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker”, don’t wait for your creation to speak for you. Build your name with as much decisiveness as you do your product and don’t wait until the last minute it like I did.
Commitment to diversity and inclusion prompted speaking out
This week, the Texas Legislature formally gaveled out of the special session called earlier this summer by Gov. Greg Abbott. Of the twenty items placed on the call — i.e., issues eligible for consideration during the 30-day session — nine passed.
But one of the most contentious and hotly debated topics, the so-called “bathroom bill,” did not.
The bathroom bill was an attempt to restrict where transgender Texans can use the bathroom and weaken existing non-discrimination protections in Austin and other cities across Texas.
Business, including Austin’s tech sector, played a key role in the bill’s defeat. They didn’t want to follow the path set by North Carolina, which saw billions of dollars exit the state from lost tourism and corporate investment after their legislature passed a bathroom bill. Business and tech also knew that passage of a divisive bathroom bill would only set Texas back in the ongoing recruitment battle for talented employees.
That’s why you saw some of the world’s biggest companies stand up and publicly oppose the bathroom bill, including 3M, Amazon, AMD, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung.
ATA actively opposed the bathroom bill by:
hosting an event in November with TechNet about the importance and potential negative impact of the bathroom bills;
speaking out in January in opposition to the bill by arguing that:
The bathroom bill will undermine the technology community’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and negatively affect the Austin tech sector’s ability to recruit the world’s brightest and most talented individuals;
organizing a tech community letter in opposition to the bathroom bill, which garnered 433 signatures and was delivered in person to Gov. Abbott, Speaker Joe Straus, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick;
walking the halls of the Capitol, speaking with legislators and staff about the importance of opposing discriminatory legislation;
These coalitions provided up-to-the-minute information sharing, allowing strategic decision making around where to allocate limited time and effort during the 30-day special session sprint. They also helped to organize large scale visits to the Capitol where folks representing their companies could blanket the building and speak to the press all in the same day.
Your voice matters
Individual efforts — from calling and writing your legislators to showing up at the Capitol to testify — add up and make an impact. How you choose to get involved is up to you, but there are opportunities for you to make your voice heard using as little as two minutes of your time (calling your elected officials) to as much as the better part of a day (signing up to testify in person).
Regardless of what amount of time and effort you can invest, speaking up is essential. You may not be convinced that your individual voice can make a dent in the legislative process, but facts prove otherwise: the collective voice of thousands of people just like you is what helped to stop the bathroom bill.
Again, the bathroom bill didn’t die on its own — it took concerted efforts from thousands across the state.
But just because the bill failed to pass once doesn’t mean it’s dead forever. Supporters have promised that the issue will come back up either in a subsequent special session that could be called by Gov. Abbott or the next regular session beginning in January 2019.
So this topic is not going away. It’s crucial for the grassroots of Austin’s tech sector to stay engaged on this and other policy issues that are key to our community’s long-term success and growth.
Austin Tech Alliance is a member-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting civic engagement in Austin’s tech sector. We focus on:
Educating the tech grassroots on issues that impact them
Advocating for tech-forward solutions to community challenges
Activating the tech community to speak up, participate, and vote
An Austin energy consultancy has filed suit against developer Chris Milam, alleging he took their trade secrets and then fired them. Meanwhile, the controversial entertainment venue project at The Backyard in in limbo.
Driving west of San Marcos, travelers encounter the peaks and valleys of raw and beautiful Texas Hill Country. A large swath of it, encompassing a portion of the Blanco River as well as the Devil’s Backbone, is now up for sale. The 2,382-acre property has attracted the interest of a "diverse buyer pool," according to one of the listing agents, while a nonprofit group is being formed to try to raise funds to preserve the land.
A bankruptcy judge has approved the agreement for Houston-based Landry’s Inc. to acquire the assets of Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group.
The Aug. 17 hearing followed an Aug. 7 auction in which Landry’s emerged as the highest bidder with a $57 million offer. Through the deal, Landry’s is acquiring Joe’s Crab Shack — which it previously owned between 1994 and 2006 — and Brick House Tavern + Tap.
However, billionaire Landry’s CEO Tilman Fertitta has said he plans to sell off the…
I moved to Austin right after college in 2012. I fit the stereotype of a typical Millennial. I wanted to live a certain lifestyle and working for a company with limited options seemed suffocating. I had a lot of big ideas and no clue how to implement any of them. Despite not having a stable salaried job, I was determined to buy a house in Austin. My lack of education regarding buying real estate and not knowing the difference between a good home purchase and a waste of money, lead me to a career in real estate. I wanted to help others like myself buy their first home, and I wanted to become a real estate investor. After a few years, a career change, and a lot of trial and error, I was finally able to buy my own house in Austin.
A realtor’s income is commission based and is not a stable salaried job. It tends to be harder to qualify for a home loan. After talking to a lender and not getting the budget I wanted to buy a home in the area I preferred, I spoke to my sister, and we decided to join forces. I had the cash, and she had the salary job, and together we qualified for a higher priced home. Our budget was under $300K, and our search was tough. We were looking for single family homes in east central Austin (zip code 78702), and with my criteria, there were only a handful of homes on the market. Most of these homes were tear downs or needed way too much work and were out of our budget. After making a few offers and getting beat by investors with cash offers, I stumbled upon our house. For some reason, I saw the potential of this once dark, damp and smelly home. It seemed like a project we could take on. I wasn’t thrilled that it didn’t have central A/C or that the house looked like a dark cave (natural light is important!) but I had found the house. Luckily the owner of the house didn’t want to sell to an investor and was happy that I would be living in and maintaining her old grandmother’s house.
Narrowing Down Repairs
Once upon a time I coordinated weddings and consider myself a low key planner. The minute we went under contract on our house, I began gathering bids from contractors and planning out my renovations. I was determined to have all the work done in 2 weeks. Why? I knew that the first mortgage payment was due a month after we closed on the house and I wanted to get a roommate by that time. I didn’t want to pay the whole mortgage payment by myself, on top of all the renovation costs! The first thing I did was make a full list of all the work the home needed. I picked the top things I thought would make the most difference in the appearance of the home and get me the most rent. I then wrote down estimated costs next to each repair and reviewed the money I had available to pay for repairs. I decided to:
1.Paint the entire house (cosmetic)
2.Install new floors (functional and cosmetic)
3.Install central AC (functional)
4.Open up the kitchen wall to create a counter bar (cosmetic/functional)
5.Replace 2 windows (functional and cosmetic)
6. Repair laundry room (functional)
My original list was long, but those repairs can wait. For example, I originally planned to replace the kitchen cabinets. After getting a couple of contractors to look at my house, I decided to replace two windows and make a closet a more functional laundry area instead.
Over the years, I’ve found that contractors tend to overbook themselves and need to change timelines around last minute. I couldn’t risk that happening, so I created a timeline, checked in with the contractor’s weekly to make sure the dates we scheduled still worked for them. Once I had my list, I started making calls. I received bids for all of the work and created a spreadsheet. I set the appointments of when I wanted the work to be done. I scheduled the AC to be installed first…because…July in Austin. The next step would be painting the entire house. My sister and I did this job, I’m not a handy person and figured this was something we could do ourselves. Next on the list was replacing two windows and knocking down half a wall to open up the kitchen and create a kitchen seating area. The flooring would be installed last to avoid tracking dirt and paint everywhere.
Closing and Repair Costs
Cash to close:Cash to close is the amount of money you bring to closing, which includes your down payment, closing costs, and escrows for property taxes and homeowners insurance. We put 10% down.
Install Central Air: I found a reputable company through another realtor. Barton Creek AC Co. Our house is small, so, I looked into getting a mini split system instead of central air but it made more sense to go with central air, and the house had the attic space for a unit and ductwork. They completed the work in three days.
Electrician: I hired the electrician, Michael Tunks with Altek for work that was necessary for installing the AC. He completed the job in a day.
Floors: I had a few contractors come out to give me bids. The cheapest I could find was $1.50 a square foot. I did not hire him because when he came over to give me a bid, he didn’t measure the rooms and didn’t even look at the floor under the carpet. I didn’t get a professional vibe. I hired Edi Castellanos with EDC floors. He charged $2.50 a square foot for floors and the trim. They told me the work would be completed in 2 days and stuck to his word. I was very pleased with his professionalism and timeliness.
Paint: I am not a handy person, and I figured that we’d save money by painting the house ourselves. My sister and dad helped, and we all soon realized that painting SUCKS SO MUCH. We applied 3 coats of white paint over some very horrible purple, blue and beige walls. When they left me after a week, I still had three rooms to conquer. If you ever need a humbling experience, try painting three ceilings in a row. I think in total, painting took about a week.
Handyman: This will be an important hire. To find this person, reach out to your friends and family and find someone they trust to not only do the job well but complete the task within a reasonable timeline. I met my contractor, Marshall through a friend. He did everything I needed at a great price. He completed the work in about a week. It took luck and proper follow up to have a move in ready house in two weeks.
House hacking is a term coined by Brandon Turner of Bigger Pockets, my favorite Real Estate investing website. Simply put, house hacking is getting other people to pay the mortgage payments on a house you occupy. This is done by renting out the other units or rooms. This idea of house hacking was the focus of my home purchase. My current house hacking options are: 1 roommate and charge $800 a month. Or, I could have two roommates and charge $650 a month. For now, I’m testing out short term rentals with no roommates.
My sister and I worked out a deal with this property. She does not live in Austin and won’t be residing in the property. She contributed half of the money needed for initial repairs and closing. I will pay the monthly mortgage since I will reap the benefit of living in the property and could have two roommates’ rental income that would cover the monthly costs. When we sell in 5–10 years, we will save the money needed to pay a realtor’s commission (since I’m a realtor) and she will get her investment back at that time. If you want to partner with a friend or family member, think it through carefully! Come up with an agreement…and put it in writing.
Learn From My Experience
I’ll be honest with you; this is the first year in my life that I’ve made a decent wage. I understand $49,793 is a lot of money. My sister and I work hard for our money and most of it went into this home, and that’s a big deal! I learned so much and now have a home in an area I love. I don’t have a slumlord or horrible property manager to deal with or chase down every time something goes wrong. I can rent out my rooms or host people on Airbnb. It’s the freedom and control I want in my life. Many houses are left sitting on the market because buyers can’t see past an old bathroom or kitchen that needs a little tweaking. My house sat for 45 days on the market, and two months later you can’t even find a house in the neighborhood for under $300K. The initial costs may not make sense to an investor who is trying to make a high profit from rental income, but it does make sense to many first time buyers who will be living with a significant other or roommate and will split that mortgage payment. Also, the confidence and knowledge you get from a home renovation project is something I can’t even begin to describe. There were so many other details I was going to include in this article — all of the struggles I encountered along the way. None of that even seems relevant now. After looking around at my beautiful home, I don’t even think about those little inconveniences. It was all worth it.
If you have any questions about buying a fixer upper in Austin or house hacking, please feel free to reach out. It’s not for everyone, but you’ll be shocked how a little paint and new floors can transform a house!
Here are some actionable steps to get you started:
Look at your finances! If you have a hard time-saving money, figure out where it’s going every month. Cut yourself off from those monthly memberships. Make a plan to save cash.
Talk to a lender. They will help you figure out what you need to do to finance a house. They may have options for you to bundle repairs into the loan. Don’t know a reputable lender? Ask me.
Pick an area you want to live in that fits your budget. Get an idea what the monthly mortgage payment is (My website has a mortgage calculator attached to each listing).
Start to look at homes. You’re not a home inspector but you’ll be able to eyeball some of the repairs you need to make. Make a list. Go home and guestimate costs. Use google and your realtor as your initial sources!
Be realistic. Pick a house with good bones and a good layout. Think paint and floors for your first house. Maybe a few other projects depending on your budget.
Once you’re under contract, schedule contractors to come over and give you actual numbers. Get a few bids for each repair. Now you can compare your estimated costs to the real costs. Reassess your repairs and make sure they all fit within your budget. You’ll get an inspection while under contract. This will give you a better idea of the repairs you should prioritize.
Schedule the repairs for after your close date! Check in with your contractors regularly to make sure you both are still on the same page about your timeline and costs.
Start looking for roommates/Airbnb/short term roommates. You can use craigslist, NextDoor, Facebook groups or Roomster to name a few. Your realtor can send you current and past properties in your neighborhood that are for lease so you can figure out how much to charge.
**These steps are a good starting place to get your wheels turning. You can research real estate investing for years and not learn as much as you will by actually pulling the trigger and getting into your first project. I wish you all the best!
Austin-based Car2go, which offers pay-by-the-minute car rentals, is owned by Daimler AG, the German automotive company. Now Daimler is in talks to possibly merge Car2go with car-sharing services owned by BMW, the Portland Business Journal has learned.