Race Inquiry Digest (August 1) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – National Cathedral On Trump’s Racist Comments: ‘Have We No Decency?’ By Sanjana Karanth / HuffPost

Leaders of the Washington National Cathedral have joined the voices denouncing President Donald Trump for attacking Rep. Elijah Cummings and labelling his majority-black district a “rodent infested mess.” The Episcopal cathedral released a statement on Tuesday. ” When such violent dehumanizing words come from the President of the United States, they are a clarion call, and give cover to white supremacist who consider people of color a sub-human “infestation” in America. They serve as a call to action from those people to keep America great by ridding it of such infestation. Violent words lead to violent action.” Read more

Trump puts minorities in his ‘basket of deplorables.’ By Jonathan Allen / NBC News

Trump has turned to demeaning Americans by the millions, a tactic he once depicted as disqualifying for a presidential candidate. By now, it’s clear that Trump’s targeting of lawmakers of color is a political strategy rather than an accident — and polls suggest that most Americans find it to be racist. Read more

Donald Trump, Elijah Cummings, and the Definition of a Rodent. By Jelani Cobb / The New Yorker

Last year, the pest-control company Orkin released its annual list of the “rattiest” cities in the United States, based on how many new rodent treatments the company performed. Baltimore, despite some noted improvements, made the list for the third year in a row, coming in at ninth place. New York came in third—with, again, one rat for every four people. (Chicago came in first, for the fourth year in a row.) Read more

Trump’s Racist Comments Have Spawned Violent Threats Against Lawmakers of Color. By Abigail Weinberg / Mother Jones

President Donald Trump’s racist comments directed at four congresswomen of color have spawned escalating social media attacks on the group know as the Squad, sometimes advocating violence against the lawmakers. Read more

Kushner properties under renewed scrutiny after Trump calls Baltimore a “rodent infested mess.” By Matthew Rozsa / Salon

President Donald Trump courted controversy this weekend with a flurry of racist tweets describing Baltimore as “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.” It turns out that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law who works alongside the commander-in-chief at the White House, owns property in the Maryland city with a history of actual rodent problems, according to a pair of investigations. Read more

Trump’s racism is an impeachable offense. The precedent of Andrew Johnson proves it. By Peter Irons / NBC News

Johnson’s deep-rooted racism, along with his verbal excoriation of his congressional foes as “treasonous” — something our current president has also done — led to his impeachment in 1868. Article 10 of his impeachment indictment provides a legal basis and historical precedent for making a president’s racist speech an impeachable offense, by itself, as evidence of unfitness to hold the highest and most powerful office in the land. Read  more

A Racist Stuck in the Past. In Trump’s mind, it’s still 1989. By Paul Krugman / NYT

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. Yes, Donald Trump is a vile racist. He regularly uses dehumanizing language about nonwhites, including members of Congress. And while some argue that this is a cynical strategy designed to turn out Trump’s base, it is at most a strategy that builds on Trump’s pre-existing bigotry. Read more

The Real Problem With Trump’s Rallies. By Kevin M. Kruse / NYT 

President Trump’s political rallies are certainly a spectacle, but a spectacle we’ve seen before. In both style and substance, the president’s campaign appearances bear strong resemblances to the rallies held a half-century ago by Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama. There are a number of similarities between the two politicians’ rallies. But there is one significant difference — and it shows how Mr. Trump remains a greater danger and poses a graver threat to peaceful political discourse, especially as we enter a presidential election campaign. Read more

Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon. By Tim Naftali / The Atlantic

The day after the United Nations voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China, then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh. Read more

Trump Makes Clear What Black Voters Had to Lose. David A. Graham / The Atlantic

“What the hell do you have to lose?” Trump said, addressing his question to black voters. The point, he said, was that African American communities were already a shambles, and their condition could only improve. The remarks drew shocked reactions at the time. Read more

Democrats Can Win by Running Against Trump’s Racism. By Steve Phillips / NYT

With every attack, Democrats are now speaking out. And decades of election data on voter behavior show that Democrats are on firm ground in making the president’s overt racism a prominent campaign issue. That data shows that there are enough white voters for Democrats to defeat a president stirring racial resentment. It might, in a tight race, be barely enough — but enough. And the math gets more promising in 2020 when the electorate will be more racially diverse than at any previous time in United States history. Read more

Journey to power: The history of black voters, 1976 to 2020. By Steve Kornacki / NBC News

Not that long ago, they were just a slender fraction of the party, one kept at arm’s length by presidential candidates. But today, black voters have emerged as a muscular political force and one of the most intensely courted constituencies in Democratic politics.In 2020, they are likely to account for at least one out of every four ballots cast in the party’s presidential primaries, more than tripling — and perhaps even quadrupling — the share they accounted for just a few decades ago. Read more

Virginia is proof that reparations for slavery can work. By Ken Woodley / Wash Post

The growing national debate over slavery reparations would benefit from the inclusion of this salient fact: The Commonwealth of Virginia has proved that reparations for a catastrophic racial injustice are possible and able to achieve their intended goal. Read more 

The Poignant But Complicated Friendship of Joe Biden and Barack Obama. By Steven Levingston / Wash Post

Indeed, over their eight years together in office, Obama and Biden taught us a lesson in male bonding, often startling us by professing their fondness for each other. Just days before their departure from the White House, the normally reserved Obama drew on William Butler Yeats to extol Biden: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, / and say my glory was I had such friends.” Read more

AG Barr using unique power to block migrants from U.S., reshape immigration law. By Lisa Riordan Seville and Adiel Kaplan / NBC News

A Monday ruling by Attorney General William Barr that limited the ability of migrants to seek asylum in the United States is the latest example of the Trump administration’s use of a unique power of the attorney general’s office to reshape immigration law. Read more

LeBron James again shows us his greatness, this time as a father. By Ken Martin / The Undefeated

There’s a school of thought — well, foolish thought — that black fathers don’t spend enough time with their children, nor do they even care to be involved in the lives of their kids. That way of thinking is, of course, patently false. In the aftermath of LeBron James playfully throwing down a dunk in his son’s layup line, there’s a similarly silly commentary: James — a black father — is TOO involved in his kids’ lives. Read more

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