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

Feature – Documenting ‘Slavery by Another Name’ in Texas. After the Civil War, many states imposed what the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Douglas Blackmon rightly describes as “slavery by another name” — sweeping Negroes into custody for petty offenses like vagrancy, then turning them over to plantation owners and others who sometimes notified the local sheriff in advance of how much labor they needed. This practice, which persisted in various forms up to World War II, stripped African-Americans of the ability to accumulate wealth while holding them captive in dangerous, disease-ridden environs that killed many of them outright. Read more 

Teaching white supremacy in the age of the alt-right. As a professor of American history, I wanted to turn the study of white nationalism and white supremacy into teachable moments, so that students could understand that white supremacy was not an abstract philosophy, but rather a social structure that touched every aspect of American life. Last spring, I debuted a new course, “The History of White Supremacy in the United States, 1880 to 2017,” where students examined the rise of white supremacy and the forms it has taken in public policy. Read more . Also see, “A Brief History of White Supremacy.”

It’s time for Louisiana to strip white supremacy from its constitution. Louisiana is one of only two states — the other is Oregon — in which a person can be convicted of a felony and sent to prison without a unanimous vote of the jury. As a result, Louisiana prosecutors do not truly have the burden of proving their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” They only need to persuade 10 of 12 jurors to send a defendant to prison, even for life. The result? A state justice system in which felony trials are held without the full participation of African Americans. Read more 

Crazy Rich Asians: 5 things to know about the effervescent rom-com. Crazy Rich Asians is a milestone for Asian-American representation. But that’s not what makes it great. Crazy Rich Asians is the rare American movie that allows Asian men and women to be objects of affection, glamorous wealthy villains operating in society’s most elite circles, and players in a sudsy, soapy tale of love and all its discontents. Crazy Rich Asians will be in theaters on August 15, 2018. Read more 

Are Jews White? Joshua Bonadona, raised Jewish, applied for a job at his alma mater as a football coach.  After learning why he was denied employment, Bonadona sued the college. And he won. The judge ruled last month that Bonadona had been discriminated against because of his Jewish lineage, deciding that he was part of a protected “race under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For some Jewish people, it did not feel like a victory. Read more 

Why Native Americans struggle to protect their sacred places. Forty years ago the U.S. Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act so that Native Americans could practice their faith freely and that access to their sacred sites would be protected. This came after a 500-year-long history of conquest and coercive conversion to Christianity had forced Native Americans from their homelands. Today, their religious practice is threatened all over again by the Trump administration. Read more 

Voting Rights Advocates Used to Have an Ally in the Government. That’s Changing. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department has filed legal briefs in support of states that are resisting court orders to rein in voter ID requirements, stop aggressive purges of voter rolls and redraw political boundaries that have unfairly diluted minority voting power — all practices that were opposed under President Obama’s attorneys general. Read more 

‘Demographic Change’ Doesn’t Cause Racism, Racists Do. “Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people,” Laura Ingraham declared in a now-infamous rant on Fox News, “and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like.” America has more people of color than it used to, and for Ingraham, the natural result of that demographic change is anger, resentment and anxiety. The truth, though, is that racism is not natural. It is an ideology cultivated by propaganda and designed to subjugate, terrorize, control and exploit marginalized people. Read more 

What The Source Taught Me. The hip-hop magazine was edited by black editors, for black readers. The Source magazine published its first issue 30 years ago, in August 1988. Most of its editors were black and they were deliberate about creating content about hip-hop for black readers. That magazine changed music journalism. And it turned me into a philosopher. Read more 

What Harvard can learn from Texas: A solution to the controversy over affirmative action. The college admission policy in Texas holds that if students graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class, they earn automatic admission to the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M and other state-run universities.  The top 10 policy has become a model in other states and countries. For instance, France uses a top 10 policy for its universities. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed a similar policy for New York’s elite public high schools. Read more 

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