Race Inquiry Digest (August 22) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – The New American Homeless. By Brian Goldstone / The New Republic

Housing insecurity in the nation’s richest cities is far worse than government statistics claim. Just ask the Goodmans. More than 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, African Americans, in particular, continue to face well-documented discrimination at every level of the housing system, from barriers to homeownership to the disproportionate number of black renters who are evicted each year. While making up just 13 percent of the general population, African Americans represent a full 40 percent of those experiencing homelessness. Must Read

How Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Helps The Economy. By Ruth Umoh / Forbes

Closing the racial wealth gap would add $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion to the U.S. economy by 2028—or 4% to 6% of estimated GDP, according to a new study by McKinsey.” Addressing this gap and focusing on black citizens as participants in the economy helps everybody,” says Jason Wright, a study co-author and a McKinsey partner. Read more

Nearly a third of Americans were alive during Jim Crow. By Phillip Bump / Wash Post

This is a central point. As of 2018, nearly a third of Americans were alive in 1965. One out of every 10 Americans currently alive were adults at the same time that Jim Crow existed in the South. Some 2.6 million people living in the Deep South last year — Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina — were adults at the time that the Voting Rights Act passed. Must read

Creator of New York Times slavery project not surprised by conservative meltdown. By Sam Fulwood III / ThinkProgress

Hannah-Jones explained that The 1619 Project “excavates our true nature and is in direct opposition to our founding myths.” And, she said, that is why there has been such a negative reaction among many white conservatives who want to cling to a version of American history that places them at the exclusive center of the story. “I think what a lot of conservatives want is they want to choose which parts of our path we remember and which parts of our path we forget,” she said. “And I don’t understand why people are so afraid of, we’re simply revealing the truth about our country.” Read more

1619 and the cult of American innocence. By Zack Beauchamp / Vox

“It might be true that old man segregation is on his deathbed but history has proven that social systems have a great last-minute breathing power,” King observes. “The vanguards and the guardians of the status quo are always on hand with their obstacles in an attempt to keep the old order alive.” It is in the spirit of King’s observation that the New York Times launched the 1619 Project, a journalistically ambitious attempt to illuminate the “great last-minute breathing power” of America’s racial caste system. Read more

The Bible was used to justify slavery. Then Africans made it their path to freedom. By Julie Zauamer / Wash Post

“As soon as enslaved people learned to read English, they immediately began to read the Bible, and they immediately began to protest this idea of a biblical justification for slavery,” Pierce said. “Literally as soon as black people took pen to paper, we are arguing for our own liberation.” Read more

Freedom and slavery, the ‘central paradox of American history.’ By Michael E. Ruane / Wash Post

Freedom House Museum in Alexandria, Va., once the site of a company selling enslaved people, displays original bars from a window. In October 1705, Virginia passed a law stating that if a master happened to kill a slave who was undergoing “correction,” it was not a crime. Indeed, the act would be viewed as if it had never occurred. Furthermore, the legislation said, when slaves were declared runaways, it was “lawful for any person . . . to kill and destroy [them] by such ways and means as he . . . shall think fit.” Short of killing, the law added, “dismembering” was approved. In practice, toes were usually cut off. Read more

California’s Forgotten Confederate History. By Kevin Waite / The New Republic

Earlier this month, the last major Confederate monument in California came down. It was a curious one: a nine-foot granite pillar in an Orange County cemetery, bearing the names of several Southern leaders, including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, who never even set foot on the Pacific coast. Read more

Only the Right Can Defeat White Nationalism. By Adam Serwer / The Atlantic

White nationalism is a far greater threat to American democracy than jihadism, and always has been. But there are actually two challenges posed by white nationalism: One is the threat posed to American communities by attacks like the one in El Paso, which law enforcement can and should prevent. The other is the threat the ideology the attackers support poses to American democracy, which can be defeated only through politics, and only by the American people themselves. Read more

Bernie Sanders unveils ambitious plan to reform nation’s criminal justice system. By Matthew Rozsa / Salon

After decrying how America incarcerates “more of our own people than any country on Earth” — including 2 million in jail and another 5 million under the supervision of the correctional system — Sanders’ campaign website argues that the current prison system is “criminalizing poverty” and that “mass incarceration disportionately [sic] falls on the shoulders of black and brown people in America.” Read more

Eric Garner decision: NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo fired, but justice still denied for Garner’s family. By Paul Butler / NBC News

Does justice delayed for five years still count as justice? Is losing your job sufficient punishment for homicide? Of course not. But when cops are the criminals, and people of color are the victims of their abuse, often there is no equal justice under the law. Read more

Atlanta Child Murders Case Has Been Reopened. By EJ Dickson / Rolling Stone

Convicted murderer Wayne Williams was believed to be behind the string of killings, but many have harbored “lingering doubts” about his involvement, according to police. A decades-old investigation into the gruesome murders of black children in Atlanta has been officially reopened, coincidentally converging with renewed interest in the case thanks to the second season of the Netflix series Mindhunter.  Read more

50 years ago, Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock anthem expressed the hopes and fears of a nation. By  Mark Clague / The Conversation         

“Thank you very much and goodnight,” he said, as the band continued to jam. “I’d like to say peace, yeah, and happiness.” But then, instead of wrapping up his set, he launched into his iconic take on Francis Scott Key’s song. Watch here

“South Side” and “Sherman’s Showcase” give rarely-seen perspectives on black American life. By Melanie McFarland / Salon

It can take years for TV writers to land a gig on an established show, let alone get their own concepts made into a series. It’s even more unusual for first-time series executive producers and creators to witness two of their long-gestating series debut at the same time, or air new episodes within the same hour. But this is where comedy writers Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle find themselves, with the successful launches of the side-splitting variety show parody “Sherman’s Showcase” airing Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on IFC,  and “South Side,” also currently airing on Wednesdays, but at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central. Read more

Coco Gauff: The Girl Who Would Be GOAT. By Jerry Bembry / The Undefeated

Tiny little Coco was blessed with a full-sized competitive streak. She refused to lose in checkers to her grandmother. She locked down boys in basketball leagues. She won the first 5K she ever ran. Corey recalls how 4-year-old Coco had watched Serena win the 2009 Australian Open and how she’d sat perplexed when her father had declared Serena to be the “GOAT.” Corey explained to Coco that the term meant Greatest of All Time. Coco’s response? “Daddy, I want to be the GOAT!” Read more

Stephen Curry to Bankroll Golf’s Return to Howard University. By Sopan Deb / NYT

Golf has long been difficult to access by communities of color. The barriers have ranged from hard line racist practices at member clubs to more systemic issues involving the locations of courses or even the cost of equipment. Howard University, one of the most prestigious historically black colleges in the United States, is trying to grow opportunities for black players, announcing on Monday the school’s first Division I men’s and women’s golf program. The N.B.A. star Stephen Curry, a golf aficionado, has committed to help fund the program for at least six years, starting with the 2020-21 season. Read more

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