Race Inquiry Digest (December 31) – Happy New Year

Featured – The Kernel of Human (or Rodent) Kindness. What we can learn from lab rats that don’t show empathy for other rats. By Henry James Garrett / NYT

People tend to empathize more readily with those who look, sound and behave like themselves. We feel the pain more acutely of those who resemble us. How then can empathy serve as a moral guide when it is morality’s role to lead us away from cruelty toward people outside our own group? To answer this objection, we can look to our fellow animals, many of whom share our capacity for empathy. If a rat sees another rat drowning, for example, it will forgo a chunk of chocolate to save its imperiled friend. Its actions are guided by its empathy. Read more

The Most Successful Ethnic Group in the U.S. May Surprise You. By Molly Fosco / Ozy

At an Onyejekwe family get-together, you can’t throw a stone without hitting someone with a master’s degree. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors — every family member is highly educated and professionally successful, and many have a lucrative side gig to boot. They’re Nigerian-American — it’s just what they do. Read more

She Stood Up to Cuomo. Soon She’ll Be the First Woman to Lead the N.Y. Senate. By Vivian Wang / NYT

Mr. Cuomo suggested that the Senate Democrats’ problem was that they only understood New York City voters. Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the Democrats’ leader, interjected. “You look at me, Mr. Governor, but you don’t see me,” she said. “You see my black skin and a woman, but you don’t realize I am a suburban legislator.” Read more

Senate Republicans, follow Tim Scott’s lead. Reject judges with records tainted by racism. By Nan Aron / USA Today

It would be heartening to see other Republicans join Tim Scott and make clear there’s a red line on racism they will not cross to confirm a judge. Of all the sad examples of unqualified judicial nominees put forward by President Donald Trump, few were more confounding than the case of Thomas Farr. Read more

‘I Feel Invisible’: Native Students Languish in Public Schools. By Erica L. Green and Annie Waldman / NYT

At Wolf Point High School in rural Montana, Native American students face the same neglect Native students across the U.S. do as they navigate a school system that has failed American Indians. Read more

Hate Crimes in Canada surge 47%, fueled by attacks on Jewish, Muslims and black populations. By Amanda Coletta / Wash Post

“A whole constellation of factors coming together at the same time” is responsible for this increase, including the growth of new and once-dormant far-right groups in Canada. “In recent years, there’s been an increased polarization of our society and our political spectrum, not only in Canada but around the world,” said Nasr, who called on the government to institute a federal strategy against hate crimes. “Hate and intolerance do not respect political boundaries and physical borders.” Read more

Meet Annie Easley, the barrier-breaking mathematician who helped us explore the solar system. By Dan Samorodnitsky / Salon

She overcame life-long racial discrimination to complete a long and impactful career at NASA. Annie Jean Easley was born in 1933 and raised by her single mother in Birmingham, Alabama. She lived there until she left for college at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her most famous work was on the Centaur rocket. The Centaur was a first-of-its-kind rocket, using a unique fuel system, and its legacy endures to this day. Read more

Michelle Obama and Stacey Abrams, Models of Power for Black Women. By Susan Chira / NYT

Sit down with groups of black women in Atlanta as this tumultuous political year draws to a close, and two names dominate the conversation: Michelle Obama and Stacey Abrams, and what they revealed in 2018 about how power is gained and thwarted. Read more

Trump’s border wall was never just about security. It’s meant to remind all Latinos that we’re unwelcome. By Julio Ricardo Varela / NBC News

The easiest way to explain the U.S. Latino community’s understanding of President Donald Trump is the Spanish-language proverb, “Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres” (“Tell me who you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are”). For most U.S. Latinos, when candidate Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015 by calling Mexican migrants rapists, we knew that Trump was walking with those Americans who feared that the country was getting “too brown,” too quickly for their personal comfort. Read more

13 moments in Asian America that moved us in 2018. By Traci G. Lee / NBC News

It was the year of cheering for “Crazy Rich Asians” and crying over Pixar’s “Bao”; of Chloe Kim winning the world over and of Sandra Oh declaring, “It’s an honor just to be Asian.” From Hasan Minhaj making history on the late-night stage to a viral prank that opened a conversation about diversity in advertising, 2018 was full of laughter, happy tears, and moments that filled us with pride. Read more

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