Race Inquiry Digest (August 26) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Did Venus Williams Ever Get Her Due? How the first Williams sister changed the course of women’s tennis. By Elizabeth Weil / NYT

Venus is hitting the ball, still, after all these years. Venus, the dutiful Williams daughter, who actually followed the 78-page playbook her father wrote even before she was born to make her a tennis champion. Venus, who in following that playbook delivered on the dreams of the old man now sitting courtside on a bench watching her practice in the syrup-thick West Palm Beach morning. Many athletes are beautiful, but with Venus the beauty stems not only from the contours of her face and body but also from her carriage. She has a poise that, paired with her long neck, makes her seem regal, almost mythically so, like the bust of Queen Nefertiti. Read more

This Man Spent 30 Years On Death Row For A Crime He Didn’t Commit.  By HuffPost Video

After Anthony Ray Hinton spent 30 years awaiting his death sentence, his case went to the Supreme Court and he was set free. Now, he’s working to abolish the death penalty entirely. Watch here

They Were Freed From Death Row. Republicans Put Them Back. By The Editorial Board / NYT

Ten years ago, the State of North Carolina, then led by Democrats, passed the Racial Justice Act to address persistent racial disparities in capital sentencing. It worked — but four years later, a newly elected Republican legislature and governor repealed the law, and the state is now trying to execute the people who briefly benefited from it.  Read more

American Prisons Owe Their Cruelty to Slavery. By Bryan Stevenson / NYT 1619 Project

It took only a few decades after the arrival of enslaved Africans in Virginia before white settlers demanded a new world defined by racial caste. The 1664 General Assembly of Maryland decreed that all Negroes within the province “shall serve durante vita,” hard labor for life. This enslavement would be sustained by the threat of brutal punishment. Read more

Strange Fruit. Throughline an NPR Podcast

Billie Holiday helped shape American popular music with her voice and unique style. But, her legacy extends way beyond music with one song in particular — “Strange Fruit.” The song paints an unflinching picture of racial violence, and it was an unexpected hit. But singing it brought serious consequences. Listen here

A Lust for Punishment. By Charles Blow / NYT

President Trump continues to inflict pain on minorities in this country because it supports the white supremacist patriarchy. There seems to be no limit to the cruelty Donald Trump and his administration are willing to exhibit and exact when it comes to immigrants and asylum seekers from Latin America. Read more

Trump is doing what Obama couldn’t. By John Blake / CNN

Some Democratic voters are looking for a candidate who can restore the optimism of the Obama era. But what if the progressive champion they’re looking for is already sitting in the White House? Call it the audacity of President Trump: He is bringing more hope and change than Obama ever could. I know, I know. For some people, this is blasphemy. Yet one of the biggest ironies of Trump’s presidency is that he has become a more effective catalyst for progressive social change than Obama. Read more

The Integration Success Stories. By Michelle Adams / The New Republic

On April 19, 1971, the Senate began debate on legislation that had the potential to foster meaningful integration in American schools. The bill was Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff’s baby. He thought that supposedly haphazard, so-called de facto segregation was a myth. Instead, he believed that all segregation was traceable to law or public policy. It was all “de jure.” He explained how governmental officials—through school attendance and districting decisions, zoning determinations, housing policies, school site selection choices and other actions—intentionally segregated the races both educationally and residentially. Read more

Donald Trump and the Jews: He’s exactly why most of us vote for Democrats. By Matthew Rozsa / Salon

The fact that most Jews are Democrats made plenty of sense long before Trump became a player on the political scene. In fact, for as long as American Jewish voting patterns have been reliably recorded, Jews have clearly taken the position that political movements which stand for oppression anywhere are unsafe for Jews everywhere. Read more

Missing and murdered women is a grim, unsolved problem. Native communities are demanding action. By Danielle Mclean / ThinkProgress

Indigenous women for generations have confronted an epidemic of murder, kidnappings, and rape. They disappear into the sex-slavery trade — or simply disappear altogether. And as Faith Spotted Eagle discovered years ago, they can sometimes become the victims of a brutal, racist beatdown. Read more

How America’s Vast Racial Wealth Gap Grew: By Plunder. By Trymaine Lee / NYT 1619 Project

The period that followed the Civil War was one of economic terror and wealth-stripping that has left black people at lasting economic disadvantage. Though black people make up nearly 13 percent of the United States population, they hold less than 3 percent of the nation’s total wealth. The median family wealth for white people is $171,000, compared with just $17,600 for black people. It is worse on the margins. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 19 percent of black households have zero or negative net worth. Just 9 percent of white families are that poor. Read more

Florida Man Found Guilty Of Manslaughter Despite ‘Stand Your Ground’ Defense. By Barbara Campbell / NPR

A jury has convicted Michael Drejka, a white Florida man, who fatally shot an unarmed black man, Markeis McGlockton, in July 2018. Drejka’s defense used the state’s “stand your ground” law, saying he feared for his safety when the two men got in an argument over the use of a handicapped-accessible space in a convenience store parking lot in Clearwater. Read more

The Fight Against Drug Addiction in Asian American Communities. By HuffPost Video

Asian Americans are less likely to get help for drug addiction than other communities, statistics show. Advocates are calling it an invisible crisis. Watch here

A Love Letter To My American Father’s Chinese Accent. By Kimberly Yam / HuffPost

Dear Papa,

I can’t recall a time I’ve ever written to you. It’s probably because the written word feels too serious. Yet I don’t think I could express my sentiments today any other way. After all, at my very core, I am culturally Chinese through and through. Read more

When We Talk About Automation, We Also Need To Talk About Race. By Serena Maria Daniels / HuffPost

The use of technology is becoming ever more present in the way work in all industries is done. From robotic stations that cook and prep food and tablets replacing front desk clerks during check-in to driverless vehicles, the future of work is automated. More than any other group, people of color like Espinoza — who immigrated to the United States from Mexico at the age of 19 — are likely to be affected by these changes. Read more

Lack Of Diversity In Genetic Databases Hampers Research. By Richard Harris / NPR

When Lalita Manrai went to see her doctor for treatment of kidney disease, she noticed that some of the blood test results had different “normal” ranges for African Americans compared with everybody else. When she asked her doctor which range applied to her — a woman born in India — he said the “everybody else” category was actually based on a study of Europeans, so neither category was right. Read more

Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy deserves his Medal of Freedom, even though he doesn’t think so. By Gary Waleik / NBC News

Bob Cousy and Bill Russell share a hug after winning the Boston Celtics’ fifth consecutive NBA Championship after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in 1963. Bob Cousy is a national treasure. The Boston Celtics star point guard of the 1950s and ’60s revolutionized basketball with his creative passing and uncanny court awareness. He will be recognized for this stellar record as a player and human being when he accepts the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Thursday. But he will do so wishing he had done even more. Read more

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