Race Inquiry Digest (Apr 29) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Tucker Carlson, the Chauvin verdict and the burden of “white civilization.” By Chauncey Devega / Salon

On a near-nightly basis, Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson conducts master classes in white supremacy and hate for his millions of viewers, nearly all of them white conservatives. His latest lesson involves the paranoid fiction that nonwhite people are coming to America to “replace” the majority white population, and that by implication the existence of the “white race” is imperiled both in the United States and around the world. Read more 

Related: Tucker Carlson is “chief white power correspondent” at Fox News, Jim Acosta says. By Bob Brigham / Salon and Raw Story 

Political / Social

Biden’s $1.8 trillion American Families Plan ramps up child care, student aid funding, and more. By 

Related: Republicans Are Risking a Major Realignment. By Mark Green / The Nation

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the police killing of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. An independent autopsy confirms Brown, a 42-year-old Black man, was shot five times by police, including in the back of the head. Brown’s family and their lawyers have only been allowed to see a 20-second video of the killing from a single body camera, which shows Brown had his hands on the steering wheel of his car when he was shot dead. Read more

Related: Andrew Brown Jr. Family Lawyers: Video Shows ‘Execution’ By Deputies : By Bill Chappell and James Doubek / NPR

Related: In North Carolina, a familiar pattern after the police killing of Andrew Brown Jr. By Belle Boggs / Slate 

3 Indicted On Federal Hate Crime Charges In Ahmaud Arbery Death. By Ryan J. Reilly / HuffPost

A federal grand jury in Georgia indicted three men Wednesday in connection with the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was shot while jogging in Georgia last year. Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan each face a hate crime charge and a charge of attempted kidnapping. These are separate from state charges brought against the three men last year over the February 2020 killing. Read more 

Related: What Is a Hate Crime? By Claire Hansen / U.S. News  

President Biden is putting his money on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Among its reforms would be an overhaul of qualified immunity — laws that shield far, far too many police officers from prosecution, nurturing a sense of law enforcement impunity. The bill has passed the House but needs Senate support to become law. Maybe Senate Republicans can be shamed by recent events into voting for it. Maybe. Read more 

Related: Karol Mason on the killing of George Floyd and the issue we must address: ‘The fear of Black people.’ By Jonathan Capehart / Wash Post Podcast 


Newark Police officers did not fire a single shot during the calendar year 2020, and the city didn’t pay a single dime to settle police brutality cases. That’s never happened, at least in the city’s modern history. At the same time, crime is dropping, and police recovered almost 500 illegal guns from the street during the year. Read more 

Related: Split-Second Decisions: How a Supreme Court Case Shaped Modern Policing. /NYT

Thanks to DeSantis’ fascist policies, civil-rights lawyers have their hands full in Florida. By Fabiola Santiago / Miami Herald

A civil-rights fight looms in Florida courts — and not a minute too soon. Hurrah to the civil-rights lawyers who filed a lawsuit in federal court in Orlando this week to challenge a newly enacted law that runs roughshod over people’s right to protest. They’re needed here before it’s too late, and Confederate-friendly Floriduh finds a way to secede from the Union. Read more 

Related: Florida’s new ‘anti-riot’ law benefits one person: Ron DeSantis. By Lizette Alvarez / Wash Post 

Republican-led legislatures push forward with efforts to restrict voting access. By Fredreka Schouten / CNN

Republican-controlled legislatures are charging forward with a raft of new state laws imposing limits on voting. GOP lawmakers in Montana recently passed new voting restrictions. And GOP legislators in Florida, Arizona and Texas soon could follow — as Republicans scramble to change the ground rules for future elections. “It’s continuing full-speed ahead on this nationwide trend by state legislators to restrict voting access,” said Jonathan Diaz, legal counsel for voting rights at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. Read more 

Related: Texas Republicans are takin voter suppression to the next level. By Charlotte Klein / Vanity Fair 

Gun crazy: For too many Americans, guns are tied to masculinity, patriotism and white power. By Chauncey Devega / Salon

Too many Americans love guns more than they do other human beings. There have been at least 50 mass shootings in America since the massacre and apparent hate crime attack against Asian Americans in the Atlanta area on March 16. In response to discussions about an assault weapons ban after the mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News’ Chris Wallace, “If there’s a natural disaster in South Carolina where the cops can’t protect my neighborhood, my house will be the last ones that the gangs will come to, because I can defend myself.” The next day, Graham circulated a video of himself shooting an AR-15 assault rifle at a South Carolina gun range. Read more

Homeland Security Will Assess How It Identifies Extremism in Its Ranks. / NYT

The Department of Homeland Security will undergo an internal review to root out white supremacy and extremism in its ranks as part of a larger effort to combat extremist ideology in the federal government, officials said on Monday. The task of identifying extremists throughout the United States, and specifically in government agencies, has come to the top of President Biden’s agenda since Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Many of the rioters were found to be members of extremist groups.  Read more 

Want to Fix the Racial Wealth Gap? Start By Canceling Student Debt. By Sabrina Calazans / The Nation

Latinx borrowers with loans are already more likely than other racial groups to postpone making life-changing decisions, such as getting married and having a family. Instead, they are forced to put their lives and dreams on hold, starting a cycle that contributes to the ever-increasing racial wealth gap, where the median net worth of white families is about eight times that of Hispanic families. Read more 

Related: Biden wants to fight racist exclusionary zoning laws. Will it work? By Nicole Karlis / Salon 

Related: Covid’s park resurgence shows how Biden stimulus money can fix green space inequity. By Dr. Eugenia South / NBC News 

As the cars began to pull away from the oak-tree canopy of Windsor Gardens Cemetery, she turned around to stay a little longer at her little brother’s gravesite and make a promise. “I promised him I would fight until we get justice and reformation for him,” Princess Blanding said. “And I will keep that promise.” Nearly three years after her little brother — beloved high school biology teacher and corny-joke connoisseur Marcus-David Peters — was killed by two bullets fired into his gut by a Richmond police officer, Blanding is keeping that promise in a bold way. She’s running for governor of Virginia. Read more 

The leaders of organizations for Native Americans are raking CNN commentator Rick Santorum over the coals after he claimed that white European colonizers “birthed a nation from nothing” in America and that “there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.” Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), ripped Santorum’s “caveman mentality” on Monday night and demanded that CNN fire the former GOP senator. Read more

Michigan is in the midst of a brutal surge of COVID-19 infections. ICUs are nearing capacity, and thousands of infections are hitting each day. The B.1.1.7 variant has driven this surge: The more transmissible variant accounts for 99 percent of new cases in the state.  As the state races to vaccinate residents and reopen its economy and schools, it appears that, like the beginning of the pandemic, Black communities across generations are getting infected and dying of COVID at higher rates than their white peers, according to a Mother Jones analysis of state data. Likely because older residents received the early share of vaccinations, this surge has unevenly afflicted younger residents—young Black men and women in particular. Read more 

Agriculture was once a major source of wealth for Black American families. According to scholar Thomas Mitchell, by 1910, up to 80 percent of the Black middle and upper class owned farms. But over the course of a century, Black-owned farmland has diminished to the point of near extinction: Only 1.7 percent of farms were run by Black growers in 2017. “We’re looking at about 98 percent of farmland ownership being in white hands today, and that’s more racially skewed than it’s ever been before,” Farming While Black author Leah Penniman told Bite podcast last year. “I think it says a lot about this nation, the fact that all the arable land is concentrated into the hands of one demographic group.” Shown is Tahz Walker who stands on land that he and others own communally as part of Earthseed Land Collective in Durham, North Carolina on March 14, 2021. Read more

Related: To attorney Greg Francis, the story of Black farmers is an example of how systemic racism continues to impact Black Americans.  By Meghan Roos / Newsweek 

The Morehouse College debate team has experienced much success over the years. It was a finalist in the 2015 United States Universities Debating Championship (USUDC), which is the national championship for the British Parliamentary style of debate. And its A-team of senior Daniel Edwards and sophomore Caleb Strickland won tournaments at Vanderbilt, the Social Justice Debates national championship and reached the finals of the Western States Debating Championships. But at the Penn USUDC 2021 earlier this month, Edwards and Strickland were subjected to racist taunts from opposing teams and felt compelled to withdraw from the tournament. Read more 

Historical / Cultural

In February 1946, Sgt. Isaac Woodard, a decorated Black soldier just returning from World War II, rode a Greyhound bus, heading home to South Carolina. Woodard, who had just been honorably discharged from the Army and was still wearing his uniform, asked the bus driver to stop so that he could use the restroom. The driver reluctantly pulled over after calling Woodard “boy.”Woodard, who had just returned from more than three years of military service in the Pacific, stood up for himself and other Black veterans, telling the driver not to talk to him like that. “I’m a man just like you,” Woodard said. At the next town, Batesburg, S.C., the driver called the police. The Batesburg police chief pulled Woodard off the bus and immediately began beating him, plunging a blackjack into each of Woodard’s eye sockets and blinding him. Read more 

Hubert Harrison (April 27, 1883-December 17, 1927) was a brilliant writer, orator, educator, critic, and radical political activist. Historian Joel A. Rogers, in World’s Great Men of Color, described him as “perhaps the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time,” and civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph, described him as “the father of Harlem Radicalism.” Read more 

A conversation with one of the greatest living Black American writers on work, life, and why good fiction is like a game of basketball.

As an actor and singer, Cynthia Erivo knows how to command a stage. But to do so as someone else — someone like Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul — can be a peculiar feeling. It made preparation all the more key for Erivo as she took on the role of the powerhouse singer in “Genius: Aretha,” the National Geographic series chronicling Franklin’s life and work. Erivo says she relied heavily on Franklin’s media interviews and appearances, including a 1976 conversation with Dick Clark on “American Bandstand” to promote her album “Sparkle.” Erivo picked up the nuances of Franklin’s personality by paying close attention to how the singer would interact with a person she didn’t know well. Read more 

On a night when best director and best picture went to Chloé Zhao for her film “Nomadland,” the event highlighted an unprecedented number of films produced by and starring people of color. The sponsoring Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also sought to reimagine the annual TV show — threatened by years of declining audiences — to avoid the Zoom-induced chilliness and technical glitches that have cratered the ratings of other live award programs for the past year. Read more 

Related: Tyler Perry receives Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. By Hayley FitzaPatrick / ABC News


Fifty years ago today, the Washington Senators’ center fielder disappeared. He was 33 years old at the time, winner of seven consecutive Gold Gloves, a two-time World Series champion and Bob Gibson’s best friend. He could have had years of good baseball left in him, had many things been different. The man who sued baseball because he felt players should not play their careers locked to one team had summoned a media storm when he wrote Commissioner Bowie Kuhn in the winter of 1969 requesting that he become a free agent rather than report to Philadelphia after the St. Louis Cardinals traded him there. Read more 

The Alphas, the Savoy Big Five, the Second Story Morrys, and dozens of other hoops teams thrived during the Black Fives Era – a period of basketball before the NBA launched in 1946 and became integrated four years later. “Fives” is a reference to the five starting players in basketball. Barred from the Whites-only gymnasiums and athletic clubs, Black Fives teams played in church basements, armories, meeting halls and dance ballrooms. Rather than just isolated basketball games, these bonafide events also involved music and dance before and after games during an age of jazz — a celebration that sounds like NBA All-Star Weekend. Read more 

Long before Kendrick Carmouche started riding horses growing up in Louisiana, Black jockeys were synonymous with the sport. Black riders were atop 13 of the 15 horses in the first Kentucky Derby in 1875 and won 15 of the first 28 editions of the race. Everything has changed since: Carmouche on Saturday will be the first Black jockey in the Kentucky Derby since 2013 and is just one of a handful over the past century. Read more 

Justin Fields will be one of the first five quarterbacks taken in the draft. But the fact that he started the college season as the consensus No. 2 quarterback prospect, before inexplicably dropping as low as the fifth quarterback at times in some mock drafts – behind two white players with lesser pedigrees – is an indictment of an antiquated system as it pertains to Black quarterbacks. Read more

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