Race Inquiry Digest (August 8) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – The El Paso shooting isn’t an anomaly. It’s American history repeating itself. By Zack Beauchamp / Vox

The El Paso shooter is not a fluke or an anomaly. He is part of a resurgence of white nationalist violence in the United States, a wave of killings that are themselves part of a very long history of political violence by American racists and white nationalists. In the years after the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan and other terrorist groups launched a wave of killings aimed at intimidating newly freed black people and restoring the antebellum racial order. Around the same time, an increase in immigration from East Asia and Mexico in the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to a wave of lynchings and mob violence targeting migrants, including large-scale race riots in Los Angeles in 1871 and in El Paso in 1916. At various points in the 20th century, white supremacists reacted viciously against continued immigration from ethnic and religious minorities and tried to suppress movements for black civil rights by force. Must read

How the Trail of American White Supremacy Led to El Paso. By Jelani Cobb / The New Yorker

There is no law mandating that our futures bear some familial resemblance to the worst of our present. Humans may learn from history. But we’ll invariably find ourselves locked in conflict with dangerous men intoxicated with their own sense of mission, and drunkenly believing that the only problem with the past is that we ever departed from it at all. Read more

This Is a Warning About the 2 Sides of White Nationalism. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

I think a better way to look at it is to understand that white nationalist terrorists — young and rash — and white nationalist policymakers — older and more methodical — live on parallel planes, both aiming in the same direction, both with the same goal: To maintain and ensure white dominance and white supremacy. The policymakers believe they can accomplish with legislation in the legal system what the terrorists are trying to underscore with lead. Read more

The Fight Against White Nationalism Is Different. By Mike Giglio / The Atlantic

A growing chorus of voices is calling for the U.S. government to treat the threat from white-nationalist terrorists like the threat from Islamist extremists. The fight against ISIS offers some lessons—but also a cautionary tale on U.S. failures to combat an ideology. Read more

Obamas release powerful statement in response to gun violence: “We are not helpless here” By Cody Fenwick / Salon

Echoing many of the statements he made as president in response to such violence, Obama contradicted those who claim stronger gun laws won’t help by pointing to the fact that other countries don’t experience these kinds of attacks with the same frequency as the United States.The statement also implicitly called out President Donald Trump’s dangerous and revolting language. It warned of leaders who normalize “racist sentiments” and denounced rhetoric that refers to immigrants as “sub-human.” Read the full statement. Read more 

The Right Way to Understand White Nationalist Terrorism. By Kathleen Belew / NYT

Attacks like that in El Paso are not an end in themselves. They are a call to arms, toward something much more frightening. Too many people think that such shootings are the goal of fringe activism. They aren’t. They are planned to incite a much larger slaughter by “awakening” other people to join the movement. Read more

World Reacts to El Paso Shooting and the Hate That Fueled It. By Richard Perez-Pena and Megan Specia / NYT

After an attack targeting Latinos, international reactions depicted America’s mass shooting epidemic as violence in a country at war with itself.  “White nationalist terrorism.” “America’s new civil war.” “‘Domestic terrorists’ devastate the U.S.” After two mass shootings rocked the United States last weekend, headlines from Sydney to Paris depicted the bloodshed as America battling itself. Read more

How Global White Extremism Influences Shootings in America. By Weiyi Cai, Troy Griggs, Jason Kao, Julliette Love and Joe Ward / NYT

The suspect in the shooting rampage on Saturday at a Walmart store in El Paso was the latest to promote his ideology with an anti-immigrant manifesto posted minutes before he opened fire, killing 22 and injuring dozens more. In the document, the suspect said he supported the actions of another gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, this year. A man who opened fire at a California synagogue in April expressed similar sentiments, also in an online manifesto. Both episodes highlight the growing international connections among white extremists, as well as a shift in what drives the uniquely American phenomenon of mass shootings. Read more

White nationalism-fueled violence is on the rise, but FBI is slow to call it domestic terrorism. By Elisha Fieldstadt and Ken Dilanian / NBC News

The massacre that left at least 22 people dead and two dozen wounded Saturday in a city that hugs the U.S.-Mexico border will be treated as a domestic terrorism case, but many acts of white nationalism-fueled violence are not classified as such, stoking concerns that the government is not doing all it could to address an increasingly dangerous national security threat. Read more

From El Paso to Christchurch, a Racist Lie Is Fueling Terrorist Attacks. By Kelly Weill / Daily Beast

Alleged killers in Christchurch, New Zealand; Poway, California; and El Paso, Texas believed a theory that claims white people are being “replaced” by people of color through mass immigration. Conspiracy theorists often falsely claim this is a deliberate effort by any number of groups demonized on the far right: liberals, Democrats, Jews, Muslims. It’s the theory peddled by white-supremacist groups seeking recruits and the torch-bearing marchers in Charlottesville two years ago. It’s also a thinly disguised—and often not disguised—talking point from some conservative politicians and pundits, experts say. Read more

“Fascism Will Not Go Away by Itself”: George Ciccariello-Maher on Confronting White Supremacy. By Amy Goodman / Democracy Now

From Mexico City, we speak with George Ciccariello-Maher, visiting scholar at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute. In December 2017, Ciccariello-Maher resigned from Drexel University after a year of harassment and death threats from right-wing white supremacists. The threats stemmed from a 2016 tweet that said, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide,” mocking the white supremacist ideology that white people are being replaced by communities of color and non-white immigrants. Watch here

A Catholic bishop in Texas is publicly accusing President Trump of racism. By Daniel Burke / CNN

In recent years a number of Catholic bishops have denounced President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and harsh rhetoric toward immigrants and people of color. But one church leader went one step further, becoming likely the first Catholic bishop in the United States to publicly accuse Trump of racism. Read more

Remembering Toni Morrison: Four writers pay tribute to a great American novelist and groundbreaking intellect. By Ryu Spaeth, Clint Smith, Mychal Denzel Smith, Nell Irvin Painter and Josephine Livingstone / The New Republic 

Read their tributes here

Toni Morrison’s powerful words on racism. The Guardian Video

Toni Morrison, who chronicled the African American experience in fiction for more than five decades, has died aged 88. The novelist was the first African American woman to win the Nobel prize for literature and is widely regarded as a champion for repressed minorities. Speaking on racism,  Morrison said in an interview : “If you can only be tall because someone else is on their knees, then you have a serious problem. And my feeling is white people have a very, very serious problem.”   Watch here

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