Race Inquiry Digest (December 6) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – What Gordon Parks Witnessed: The injustices of Jim Crow and the evolution of a great American photographer – David Rowell / Wash Post 

The 1940s would usher in a series of firsts for African Americans — in 1945 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. became New York’s first black congressman; Jackie Robinson broke the Major League Baseball color line in 1947 — but when Parks landed in Washington the Jim Crow laws of the South were in force in all corners of the capital.  Now that he was in D.C., Parks — who had suffered his own assaults, insults and harassment because of the color of his skin — was about to show that he had a particular mastery for creating pictures of the black community that were at once haunting and hauntingly beautiful. Read more

Bush Made Willie Horton an Issue in 1988, and the Racial Scars Are Still Fresh – Peter Baker / NYT  

The tributes to former President George Bush in recent days have focused on his essential decency and civility, and his embrace of others, including even his onetime opponents. But the “last gentleman,” as he has been called, was not always so gentle. An attack ad made by George Bush’s supporters for his 1988 presidential campaign is infamous for stoking racial fears. The ad served as a precursor to the racially charged politics of today. Read more

Native Americans are recasting views of indigenous life – Tristan Antone and Daniella Zalcman / National Geographic  

By countering the racist fixations that have plagued stories of Indian culture they hope to reverse the “invisibility” that many feel. “There’s a real invisibility when it comes to Indian people,” says Michael Roberts, a Tlingit who leads the Colorado-based institute. “We don’t show up in the media, we don’t show up in textbooks, we don’t show up in everyday conversation. Folks don’t know Indians or anything about Indians.” Read more 

Sins of the Fathers: The Confederacy was built on slavery. How can so many Southern whites still believe otherwise? Paul Duggan / Wash Post

In July, a 62-year-old white man named Frank Earnest, one of the country’s most ardent defenders of Confederate monuments, traveled 200 miles from his Virginia home to Washington, D.C., and got in line at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. As usual, Frank, in a gray suit, wore an array of Confederacy-themed lapel pins, including two replicas of the flag. Read more 

Yes, Jury Selection Is as Racist as You Think. Now We Have Proof – Ronald Wright / NYT  

A new study from North Carolina confirms some long-held folk wisdom about race and juries. The good news is there are two doable solutions. Read more

Florida’s ‘Groveland Four’ case was a horrific injustice. Gov. Rick Scott still hasn’t pardoned the falsely accused – Kyle Swenson / Wash Post

In 1949, when a young white woman claimed she was raped by a group of young black men, Sheriff McCall personally oversaw the arrests, torture, trials and convictions of four innocent black men — an injustice that infamously became known as the “Groveland Four” case. Today, thanks to a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book and increased attention on the case, the “Groveland Four” convictions have become known as among the ugliest chapters in American legal history.  Read more

Facebook’s Diversity Problem, and Ours -Toure’ / The Daily Beast  

The tech giant may have more posters about black lives mattering than it has black employees. And it’s hardly the only American company playing that game. When ex-Facebook employee Mark Luckie launched his goodbye letter with the line, “Facebook has a Black people problem,” I knew exactly what he was talking about. Read more

The First Step Act, prison reform and the deep roots of mass incarceration – Rachel Leah/ Salon 

In Trump’s endorsement of the bill, he lauded its bipartisanship and said that it “rolls back some of the provisions of the Clinton crime law that disproportionately harmed [the] African American community.” What did you make up Trump’s support of the bill? Read more

A Push For Diversity In Medical School Is Slowly Paying Off – Mara Gordon / NPR

In 2009, the body that accredits medical schools issued a new requirement: All medical schools must implement policies that help them attract and retain more diverse students. Failure to do so can lead to citations from this body, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, and can affect their status as accredited institutions.  Read more

People of color will be center stage at Sundance – that’s worth celebrating – Candice Frederick / The Guardian 

A plethora of movies featuring diverse talent in front of and behind the camera will showcase under-represented stories at the film festival in Utah. What I especially love about Sundance’s vast feature-film slate – 112 titles in total and 40 that were directed by people of color – is that it underscores a common theme of humanity. Read more

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