American mainstream media want us to believe they are champions of diversity, but everything about the industry shows otherwise.

Notepads the author collected from industry conventions back when a future in mainstream journalism seemed realistic.

When Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections, American media became awash with stories and commentaries about how diversity and inclusion were going to be the antidotes to systemic racism.

The stories became even more amplified when Biden put together the most diverse cabinet in American history — one that, unlike his immediate predecessor’s — “looks like America.”

The irony, however, is that the U.S. mainstream journalism industry itself doesn’t look like America…

It’s mentally exhausting to be constantly thinking that things white Americans do every day could get me killed

A woman protests the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Photo by Geoff Livingston

There is not a day I step out my door without wondering if that’s the day my blackness catches up with me and prevents me from returning home alive.

It’s mentally exhausting to be constantly thinking that things white Americans do every day could get me killed — that because of the color of my skin, I have to be extra cautious to ensure I live to see another day. And it’s even more dehumanizing to know that the people I fear most are police officers, who are supposed to protect me.

My first interaction with police occurred in the…

We are fighting to preserve the democratic ideals that lured us to America.

The author’s daughter wears bracelets of Kenya and the United States, the two countries of her heritage.

The first time I was asked the question, I didn’t know how to respond.

“If American is so bad, why are you here?”

I was asked the question by an American man of European descent, who was a classmate at the University of California, Berkeley, where we were studying journalism. We had been embroiled in an argument that began when he stated firmly that Americans were “the richest people in the world.”

I was winning the argument by using information I had learned after living in the…

“Uber vs Lyft” by stockcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Since the COVID-19 shutdown in March, I have had a strong urge to stand up and speak against Uber and Lyft. As the virus spread across the country, the two ride-hailing companies, which I had been working for since 2014, abandoned the drivers who make up the core of their business.

Because they had us misclassified as contractors, we did not qualify for traditional benefits, which depend on how much an employer paid into the unemployment insurance fund. We found ourselves at the mercy of the state, which decided to award $167 a week to every Californian who didn’t qualify…

The United States has just fairly elected Donald Trump, an openly racist and misogynist right-wing zealot, who has bragged about forcefully grabbing women “by the pussy.” You, my white liberal friends, cannot understand how this could happen in 2016 America. You truly didn’t expect this to happen. What should you do?

You sob. You cry. You scream.

But that’s not enough. You, my white progressive friends, decide to reach out to me. You text me. You call me. You tag me on Facebook to apologize.

“I’m sick to my stomach with shame,” you write.

But most of you, my white…

Edwin Okong'o

Award-winning Kenyan-American journalist, essayist, and humorist—a storyteller by any medium necessary. Reject of mainstream media.

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