Race Inquiry Digest (April 25) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Closing the Racial Wealth Gap. By Courtney E. Martin / NYT

The United States tolerates a widening chasm between the very rich few and the many with low incomes. Even more shameful, the burden of poverty falls heaviest on African-Americans and other people of color. “We tolerate levels of poverty that are grotesque and entirely unique among developed nations.” Read more

Another sign of Elizabeth Warren’s relentless focus on inequality. By Jared Bernstein / Wash Post

When it comes to offering polices that target American inequality, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is on a tear. So far, the Democratic presidential contender’s proposals have taken on wealth concentration, affordable child care and the excessive power of dominant companies. On Monday, she introduced a proposal to significantly reduce the stock of outstanding student debt. Read more

Democrats Consider: Is A White, Straight Man The Safe Bet Against Trump? By Danielle Kurtzleben / NPR

Democrats have 19 candidates and counting to pick from ahead of 2020, the most diverse field in American history in terms of gender, race and sexuality. And while they try to pick whom they personally like, they are also doing some serious mental gymnastics around the question of electability — whom their fellow Americans might vote for. Read more

The case for African American reparations, explained. By Joe R. Feagin / The Conversation

The question of whether the U.S. government should compensate the descendants of enslaved and oppressed African Americans has never gotten this much attention. Even former President Barack Obama deflected this concept while he was in the White House. As a sociologist who has researched systemic racism and reparations for decades, I can explain why this issue appears to be gaining traction. Read more

Baltimore Writer D. Watkins: “We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America.” Amy Goodman / Democracy Now

“We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America.” That’s the name of a new book by D. Watkins that amplifies the experiences of poor black Americans typically sidelined by the public and the media—including his own life story. Listen here

Now playing at the Supreme Court: How to preserve white power in four easy steps. By Dana Milbank / Wash Post

The Trump administration and Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices Tuesday held a legal seminar on how to preserve white hegemony in four easy steps. Step 1: Devise a discriminatory policy. Step 2: Create a pretext. Step 3: Muddy the waters. Step 4: Blame the victim. Read more

The Good Ol’ Boys: 2 Years In, Trump Is Making Our Courts A Lot Less Diverse. By Jenifer Bendery / HuffPost

Whether it’s for district courts or higher-ranking appeals courts, Trump’s confirmed lifetime judges are overwhelmingly white men with records of opposing abortion, LGBTQ rights and voting rights. Read more

Recovering an erased history: The Chinese railroad workers who helped connect the country. By Chris Fuchs / NBC News

“The Chinese and the Iron Road: Building the Transcontinental Railroad” and Chang’s separate book “Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad,” which is scheduled to be released in May, both describe the Chinese taking on some of the most dangerous, most exhausting assignments for less pay (and worse treatment) than their Euro-American counterparts. Read more

Facebook while black: Users call it getting ‘Zucked,’ say talking about racism is censored as hate speech. By Jessica Guynn / USA Today

“White men are so fragile,” she fired off, sharing William’s post with her friends, “and the mere presence of a black person challenges every single thing in them.” It took just 15 minutes for Facebook to delete her post for violating its community standards for hate speech. And she was warned if she posted it again, she’d be banned for 72 hours. Read more

The Other Segregation. By Whitney Pirtle / The Atlantic

The segregation of America’s public schools is a perpetual newsmaker. The fact that not even 1 percent of the incoming freshman class identifies as black at New York City’s elite Stuyvesant High School made national headlines last month. And New York isn’t unusual. The minority gap in enrollment at elite academic public schools is a problem across America. Read more

Two more states are dumping Christopher Columbus to celebrate indigenous people instead. By Christina Maxouris / CNN

Vermont and Maine are the latest to join the growing number of cities, states and municipalities that have renamed the October holiday for the people who lived in America long before the explorer arrived. The legislatures of both states passed bills last week that would change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The bills are awaiting the governors’ signatures. Read more

Kate Smith’s racist songs aren’t surprising, but we can do more than cover up a statue. By Michael A. Fletcher / The Undefeated

Everywhere you look in American history, racism coexists with something noble. A partially covered statue of singer Kate Smith is seen near the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on April 19. Read more

Mississippi, the only state with a Confederate symbol in its flag, is offering a new flag design on license plates. By Michelle Lou and Brandon Griggs / CNN

Mississippians who’d like to display their state flag minus its Confederate imagery can rejoice in a newly approved specialty license plate. The state’s flag has long contained an image of the Confederate battle flag, also known as the Southern Cross. Mississippi is the only one of the United States with a flag featuring the Confederate symbol. Read more

Duke Ellington’s melodies carried his message of social justice. Michelle R. Scott and Earl Brooks / The Conversation

At a moment when there is a longstanding heated debate over how artists and pop culture figures should engage in social activism, the life and career of musical legend Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington offers a model of how to do it right. Read more

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