Race Inquiry Digest (August 16) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true. By Nicole Hannah-Jones / NYT

It would be historically inaccurate to reduce the contributions of black people to the vast material wealth created by our bondage. Black Americans have also been, and continue to be, foundational to the idea of American freedom. More than any other group in this country’s history, we have served, generation after generation, in an overlooked but vital role: It is we who have been the perfecters of this democracy. Must read

America Made Lady Liberty a Hypocrite. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

I’m really glad we’re having a discussion about what the Statue of Liberty means to America, even if it is precipitated by nefarious thinking. This week, the Trump administration moved forward with a change in legal immigration policy that will limit people allowed to enter the country to those who are well enough off not to need public assistance. It is called the “public charge” rule. Must read

In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation. By Matthew Desmond / NYT

Slavery was undeniably a font of phenomenal wealth. By the eve of the Civil War, the Mississippi Valley was home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Cotton grown and picked by enslaved workers was the nation’s most valuable export. The combined value of enslaved people exceeded that of all the railroads and factories in the nation. Must read

How to Be an Antiracist: Ibram X. Kendi on Why We Need to Fight Racism the Way We Fight Cancer. By Amy Goodman / Democracy Now

In his new book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” professor Ibram X. Kendi urges readers to break out of the false framework of “racist” and “not racist,” instead laying out what it means to be antiracist: viewing racial groups as equals and pushing for policies that create racial equity. Kendi says, “We can’t just talk about racism as an original sin. We have to talk about racism as the original cancer, as this original disease that has been killing America.” Watch here

Citizen Brown: On the history of dispossession, disinvestment, and discrimination that formed the backdrop to the killing of Michael Brown. By Colin Gordon / Dissent

The conditions sketched here shaped St. Louis and its suburbs, bearing most heavily on older inner suburbs like Ferguson that were caught between the sustained decline of the central city and the flight of wealth and resources to the outer suburbs. As black flight followed white flight, municipal fragments like Ferguson suffered both the success of local segregation and its failures. All of this formed the backdrop for the death of Michael Brown in August 2014. Read more

He sounded the alarm on “Hateland”: Daryl Johnson warned us about right-wing terror in 2009. By Chauncey DeVega / Salon

In 2009, Daryl Johnson, who was then a security analyst with Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, wrote a report entitled “Right-Wing Extremism.” In response to Johnson and his team’s warnings about the threat posed by right-wing extremism, Republican propagandists protested that “conservatives” were being “targeted,” “persecuted” and treated “unfairly” by DHS and the Obama administration. Johnson was forced out of his job, and then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano retracted the report.This conversation has been edited for clarity and length. Read more

Misogyny and white supremacy: It’s time to fight both sources of vicious violence. By Heather Digby Parton / Salon

There seems to be a strong correlation between the people who believe they are being robbed of their rightful status by people of color and those who believe they are being robbed of their status by women. These overlapping forms of resentment and anger can all too easily lead to violence. Sometimes this is limited to “ordinary” domestic abuse, which remains widespread in America. Sometimes it results in lethal horror such as Dayton. Read more

El Paso, racism and rhetoric: The growing toll of bigotry in America. By Janell Ross and Suzanne Gamboa / NBC News

Olivia Ortega is not sure she’ll continue speaking Spanish with her three bilingual kids in public places in West Texas, after a gunman targeting “Mexicans” opened fire in an El Paso Walmart earlier this month. Read more

The Impact of Racism on Children’s Health. By Perri Klass / NYT

This month the American Academy of Pediatrics put out its first policy statement on how racism affects the health and development of children and adolescents. Racism has an impact on children and families who are targeted, she said, but also on those who witness it. “We call it a socially transmitted disease: It’s taught, it’s passed down, but the impacts on children and families are significant from a health perspective,” said Dr. Trent, who is the chairwoman of the A.A.P. section on adolescent health. Read more

Why America still can’t face up to Trump’s racism. By Jess Row / CNN 

As a white writer who writes extensively about race, I’ve been observing this situation closely since well before the 2016 election, and I’ve been dismayed by the unwillingness of so many of my white peers — people who are personally horrified by Trump and his success — to come to grips with what is happening in our country. Read more

Cory Booker Releases Plan To Combat White Supremacist Violence. By Sanjana Karanth / HuffPost

The Democratic presidential candidate’s plan, released Thursday, said that, as president, he would work to improve federal and local policies regarding white supremacist violence, make it easier for victims to report crimes and for communities to access resources, and address online platforms that spread hate and violence. Read more

Stacey Abrams Is Not Running For President, Instead Will Focus On Voter Protection. By Shannon Van Sant / NPR

The Georgia Democrat, whose race for governor drew national attention, says she aims to enfranchise voters across 20 states with an initiative called Fair Fight 2020. “There are only two things stopping us in 2020: making sure people have a reason to vote and that they have the right to vote,” Abrams said in announcing the initiative at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades convention in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Read more

Barack Obama Drops Summer Reading List: These Books Are ‘Transcendent, All of Them.’ By Christina Zhao / Newsweek

“It’s August, so I wanted to let you know about a few books I’ve been reading this summer, in case you’re looking for some suggestions. To start, you can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Sula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them. And while I’m at it, here are a few more titles you might want to explore.” See list here

More than 250,000 people sign a petition to rename Fifth Ave. in front of Trump Tower ‘Obama Avenue.’ By Katie Mettler / Wash Post

“We request the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets be renamed ‘President Barack H. Obama Avenue,’ ” read her request, addressed to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and the City Council. “Any addresses on that stretch of Fifth Avenue should be changed accordingly.” That stretch includes Trump Tower, which would make President Trump’s address there 725 President Barack H. Obama Ave. Read more

The Radical Blackness of Ebony Magazine. By Brent Staples / NYT

The Chicago publishing legend John H. Johnson laid the foundation of an empire in 1945 by styling a new magazine called Ebony as a love letter to the black elite. African-Americans were virtually invisible in the white press at the time — unless they committed crimes — and were held in such contempt in the South that newspapers routinely denied them courtesy titles, including Mr. and Mrs., that were extended to whites. Read more

Jay-Z Helped the NFL Banish Colin Kaepernick. By Jemele Hill / The Atlantic

Yesterday the hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell held a joint media session at the Roc Nation offices in New York to seal a once-implausible partnership that isn’t being received as positively as both parties probably hoped. Read more Also see, Not Like This: An Open Letter to Jay-Z

Simone Biles Has Changed Gymnastics Forever. By Rebecca Schuman / Slate

There’s no denying that Biles—who recently wore an actual bedazzled goat head on the back of her leotard in a training session—remains the greatest of all time. Yes, it’s been established that she is eons better than all of the women and most of the men in the world of elite gymnastics. But what casual fans may not realize is that her greatness goes beyond her medal count and margins of victory. Biles has pushed the sport to places where it’s never dared go, and even after she retires, there will be no unringing that particular bell. Read more

Visit our home page for more articles. And at the top of this page register your email to receive notification of new editions of Race Inquiry Digest.   Click here for earlier Digests. 

Use the buttons below to share the Digest in an email, or you can post to your Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter accounts.

%d bloggers like this: