Race Inquiry Digest (April 8) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – White supremacy must be undone — institution by institution. By Michael Gerson / Wash Post

The national debate on race — which the president has made more angry and urgent with his racial demagoguery — is hindered by imprecise language. Most whites do not feel personally guilty for the United States’ long history of imposed white supremacy. A white man who has lost his job at the coal mine, or the daughter of a recent Ukrainian immigrant, probably does not regard himself or herself as privileged. And they are not likely to have an emotional investment in the debates over race that have dominated U.S. history. Read more Also see , “A Brief History of White Supremacy” by Ronald J. Sheehy

FBI Chief Christopher Wray Warns Of ‘Persistent, Pervasive’ White Supremacy Threat. By Mary Papenfuss / HuffPost

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress on Thursday that white supremacy is a “persistent, pervasive threat” to U.S. security — despite President Donald Trump’s indications to the contrary. Read more

‘There Is Clearly Something Happening’: Fires Destroy 3 Black Churches In Louisiana. By Shannon Van Sant / NPR

Federal authorities have joined the investigation into a string of fires that engulfed three historically black churches in southern Louisiana in the span of just 10 days. Read more

‘The Best of Enemies’ Review: A Klansman and a Civil Rights Activist Become Friends. By A.O. Scott / NYT

In 1971, C.P. Ellis was the Exalted Cyclops of the Durham, N.C., klavern of the United Klans of America. Ann Atwater was a fair-housing activist, advocating for better treatment for the city’s African-American residents. The beginning of their unlikely real-life friendship is the subject of “The Best of Enemies,” the latest muddled and well-meaning big-screen attempt to find solace in the history of American racism. Read more

A New Adaptation of “Native Son” Reaches the Limits of What the Text Has to Offer.  By Troy Patterson / The New Yorker

A contemporary update of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” is necessarily an overhaul. To transport the action of the novel—published in 1940, set in the Jim Crow nineteen-thirties, rife with melodramatic energy that is positively Victorian—to the twenty-first century requires not just a rejiggering of its particulars but a reconsideration of its essence. Premieres on HBO. Read more

2020 Democrats vow to sign House reparations study bill. By Maeve Reston and Gregory Krieg / CNN

Over the course of a few months, the candidates have wrestled with the question while liberal activists carried on a parallel debate over the definition of reparations, as they set out to create more concrete parameters for both the public and the candidates. Their consensus: H.R. 40, a piece of legislation handed off from former Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who left Congress in 2017, to Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who is carrying the torch into this new Congress. Read more

63 years after landmark Brown v. Board case, segregated classrooms persist. By Adam Northam / USA Today

More than six decades after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregated schools unconstitutional, one Mississippi school district has largely segregated classrooms — some all-black, some majority white. That continuing segregation in the 2,800-student Brookhaven School District, a 65% black district in southwest Mississippi, is made possible by an informal “parental request” policy that allows parents to ask for specific teachers for their elementary-aged children. Read more

Why black voters are so important for Democrats in 2020. By Harry Enten / CNN

Several Democratic presidential contenders made their way to New York City this week to speak at Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention. That so many 2020 hopefuls are attending a prominent gathering of black activists should come as no surprise: Black voters are the base of the Democratic Party and hold major sway in the primary. Read more

Pete Buttigieg Explains His Agenda For Black Voters. By Danielle Kurtzleben / NPR

Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential candidate and the mayor of a small, majority-white city, came to New York this week to appeal to black voters. “I believe an agenda for black Americans needs to include five things that all of us care about: homeownership, entrepreneurship, education, health and justice,” the mayor of South Bend, Ind., told the audience at the National Action Network’s conference. Read more

Edge of Sports: David West vs. Goliath. By David Zinn / The Progressive

West—who retired from the NBA last summer after winning two consecutive championships with the Golden State Warriors—is now the new chief operating officer of what is called the Historical Basketball League. The HBL, which hopes to launch by 2020 in twelve cities across the country, is audacious in its vision. It would be a league that actually pays college players for their labor. Read more

What Hollywood Is Getting Right (And Wrong) About Colorism. By Julie Pinero / HuffPost

Fighting for inclusion in Hollywood means considering how not just racism but the colorism within that influences the casting of Black, Latinx and Asian-American roles. Read more

For Nipsey Hussle and Rap’s Thriving Middle Class, Staying Close to Home Can Have a Price. By Joe Coscarelli / NYT

The Los Angeles rapper who was killed last weekend was one of a number of successful hip-hop artists who have remained where they got their start, despite the risks. Read more

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