Race Inquiry Digest (Feb 1) – Important Current Stories On Race In America In


Republicans rally around a defeated Trump because they understand power. By Amanda Marcotte / Salon

I’m not denying that there’s a power struggle between the flagrantly bonkers faction of the Republican Party and the somewhat less bizarro faction. But ultimately, that power struggle is more about aesthetics and tactics than goals. The McConnell wing prefers to undermine democracy through procedural obstructionism that slips the notice of the average voter. The Trump wing wants violent insurrection and in your face gun-waving. Either way, the objective is the same: Installing minority rule, gutting democracy, and shutting the majority of Americans out of power. And so it was inevitable that the power struggle would be limited in scope and would never actually drive anyone out of the Republican Party. Power is what really matters to them.  Read more 

Related: It seemed the GOP might show some self-respect. Now it’s crawling back to Trump. The Editorial Board / Wash Post

Related: ‘It’s endemic’: state-level Republican groups lead party’s drift to extremism. David Smith / The Guardian

Related: The G.O.P. Is in a Doom Loop of Bizarro. By Paul Krugman / NYT

Related: The Republican Retreat From Governance. By Katelyn Burns / The New Republic 

Political / Social

Democrats have prevailed, but Trumpism is still here. We can’t be complacent. By Colbert I. King / Wash Post

The surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to U.S. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Va., effectively signaled the end of the Southern insurrection against the United States. But it did not end the devotion to white supremacy and the country’s racial caste system that caused the South to secede from the union in the first place. And neither did the certification of electoral college votes, in a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, halt ideologically motivated extremists with objections to the 2020 election results and the presidential transition from mobilizing to incite or commit violence. Read more 

Related: Amnesia nation: To “forget” the Trump era is a toxic act of privilege — and very dangerous. By Chauncey Devega / Salon

Related: GOP Lawmakers Seek Tougher Voting Rules After Record Turnout, Election Losses. By Associated Press 

The Capitol Insurrection Was as Christian Nationalist as It Gets.’ By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT

It’s impossible to understand the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol without addressing the movement that has come to be known as Christian nationalism. In other words, as members of the Christian right have become angrier and more adversarial, some to the point of violence, their decline from dominant to marginal status has bred a provocative resentment that is serving to spur the very secularization processes that so infuriates them. If the evidence of the Capitol attack and its aftermath is any guide, this vicious circle does not bode well for the future. Read more 

Related: Trump’s rise and fall unified the two most pernicious, racist myths about America. By Phillip Gorski / NBC News

Extremists Emboldened by Capitol Attack Pose Rising Threat, Homeland Security Says. Zolan Kanno-Youngs and 

Warning that the deadly rampage of the Capitol this month may not be an isolated episode, the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday said publicly for the first time that the United States faced a growing threat from “violent domestic extremists” emboldened by the attack. The department’s terrorism alert did not name specific groups that might be behind any future attacks, but it made clear that their motivation would include anger over “the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives,” a clear reference to the accusations made by President Donald J. Trump and echoed by right-wing groups that the 2020 election was stolen. Read more

Related: DHS warns of domestic terror threats: Are we entering a period of political violence after Trump? By Zack Beauchamp / Vox

Only Accountability Will Allow the U.S. to Move Forward. By Mitch Landrieu / The Atlantic

A white mob stormed government offices in an effort to overthrow the duly elected leadership, overwhelming the local police and killing several officers in a violent clash. This description is not only of the insurrection in Washington, D.C., on January 6, but of the Battle of Liberty Place in New Orleans, on September 14, 1874. In the case of the January 6 insurrection, the U.S. cannot allow the same pattern to unfold. Some Republican politicians are calling for “unity,” but the country cannot come together without truth and accountability. Read more  

The military said it wants to fight white supremacy. What is it waiting for? By Eric Lichtblau / Wash Post 

As a private in the Florida National Guard, Brandon Russell led a double life, carrying out exercises with his infantry team while heading a violent neo-Nazi group and reportedly recruiting like-minded troops until 2017. At his condo in Tampa, he had a flag with the Nazi swastika on the wall, a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh — himself a military veteran — and a cache of bombmaking material in the garage. Read more

On racial justice, Biden is off to a decent start. Let’s hope it keeps up. By Paul Butler / Wash Post

The joke is that the Biden administration is Barack Obama’s third term. But on racial justice, 46 is starting out way more ambitious than 44 ever was — or felt he could be. The first Black president begot, in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s exquisite phrase, “the first white president,” meaning that Donald Trump’s race was explicitly part of his appeal. After Obama busted the White House’s racial glass ceiling, it could no longer be assumed that Whiteness was a prerequisite for the presidency. For that reason, everybody understood the racist subtext of Trump’s “make American great again” dog whistle. And it worked, ushering in four years of white-supremacist rhetoric, policies and advisers. By Election Day 2020, most people of color — joined by a minority, but critical mass, of White folks — had had enough. Read more 

Related: Biden condemns racism toward Asian Americans. It’s a start. By Li Zhou / Vox

Related: Biden Tackles Environmental Racism With Executive Order. By Rebecca Hersher / NPR

A call for another Great Migration, this one in reverse. By Carlos Lozada / Wash Post

Review: Charles M. Blow’s “The Devil You Know” argues that African Americans should return to the South. The author moved from New York to Atlanta.

Mobility, with its promise of reinvention, is the constant allure of America. Immigrants come for opportunity; workers move for jobs; families pack for fresh starts. This motion runs through our history, mythologies, even our literature: Americans are always going west, lighting out for the territory or longing for the warmth of other suns. For New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, however, those suns have gone cold. Read more 

‘Ready to take power’: Progressives mobilized Latino voters in Georgia, and here are the lessons. By Suzanne Gamboa / NBC News

The day before the runoff, Mijente PAC announced that it had contacted every Latino voter in Georgia, knocking on more than 310,000 doors amid a pandemic, calling more than 257,000 cellphones and landlines, and sending more than 376,000 texts. Those numbers left no doubt among local and national Latino activists—as well as their financial backers—that something important had happened in Georgia, and that the years-long struggle to turn out Latino voters for Democratic candidates yielded results. Read more 

Related: How new voters and Black women transformed Georgia’s politics. By Sharon Austin / The Conversation

Black Lives Matter nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for carrying forward ‘a movement of racial justice.’ By Grace Hauck / USA Today

Black Lives Matter has been nominated for a 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. Norwegian member of parliament Petter Eide said he nominated the organization because it is “bringing forward a new consciousness and awareness about racial justice.” “To carry forward a movement of racial justice and to spread that to other countries is very, very important. Black Lives Matter is the strongest force today doing this, not only in the U.S. but also in Europe and in Asia,” Eide told USA TODAY on Saturday. Read more 

Biden Housing Nominee Marcia Fudge Appears Before Senate Banking Panel. By Pam Fessler / NPR

Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge has a huge job ahead of her, if she’s confirmed as the nation’s 18th secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Judging from a largely positive hearing Thursday before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, she appears headed for approval. Fudge was picked by President Biden to lead the agency as the nation faces a severe housing crisis, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. Millions of Americans are facing eviction, affordable housing is in short supply, homelessness appears to be on the rise, and racial inequities have widened. Read more 

Fauci: Covid-19 vaccine rollout must prioritize people of color. By Erin Snodgrass / Business Insider

In an interview with the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said the COVID-19 vaccine rollout must account for the coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on people of color. Black people in the US and the UK have been far more likely than white people to get COVID-19 – twice as likely in one large study – yet so far they are receiving vaccines at much lower rates than white people in many states. Read more 

Related: As Covid vaccine rollout expands, Black Americans still left behind. By Hannah Recht and Lauren Weber / NBC News 

Related: Florida Gives Publix Sole Rights To COVID-19 Vaccine Despite Accessibility Challenges.

Historical / Cultural

Mitch McConnell Should Leave the History Lessons to Others. By Jamelle Bouie / NYT

On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, now the Senate minority leader, spoke in defense of the legislative filibuster. “When it comes to lawmaking, the framers’ vision and our history are clear. The Senate exists to require deliberation and cooperation,” McConnell declared. “James Madison said the Senate’s job was to provide a ‘complicated check’ against ‘improper acts of legislation.’ We ensure that laws earn enough buy-in to receive the lasting consent of the governed. We stop bad ideas, improve good ideas and keep laws from swinging wildly with every election.” Read more 

What Ulysses Grant Can Teach Joe Biden About Putting Down Violent Insurrections. By Casey Mitchel / Politico 

During Reconstruction, a raft of attempted insurrections flared up across the former Confederacy. Violent storms of white supremacists rocked swaths of the South, all aimed at undoing the Union’s victory during the Civil War, as well as the civil rights gains made thereafter. Racial equality, civil rights protections, basic recognition of democratic outcomes — all were targets of rampaging white terrorists, using violence to launch themselves to power once more. Numbers are hazy, but dozens perished as a direct result of insurrection, part of the thousands of victims of white supremacist political violence during the era. Read more 

Emmett Till’s Chicago House Gets Landmark Status Amid Plans For Black Heritage Site. By Nina Golgowski / HuffPost

The former Chicago home of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black boy whose 1955 lynching in Mississippi helped ignite the nation’s civil rights movement, has been given official landmark status amid efforts to transform the building into a beacon for Black Americans and a living remembrance of their history. The two-story brick house on the South Side of the city, where Emmett lived with his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, received landmark approval from the Chicago City Council on Wednesday. The designation should protect it from future demolition and significant changes to its exterior. Read more 

Cicely Tyson, an Actress Who Shattered Stereotypes, Dies at 96. By Robert D. McFadden / NYT

Cicely Tyson, the stage, screen and television actress whose vivid portrayals of strong African-American women shattered racial stereotypes in the dramatic arts of the 1970s, propelling her to stardom and fame as an exemplar for civil rights, died on Thursday. She was 96. Read more

Related: Cicely Tyson’s radiant power. By Sherrilyn Ifill / CNN

Related: In ‘Just as I Am,’ actress Cicely Tyson reflects on 96 years of a life well lived. By Tre’vell Anderson / Wash Post

The Fiery Song That Freed Tina Turner. By Jason Heller / The Atlantic

Before a concert one night in 1968, shortly prior to recording the song that would launch her into superstardom, Tina Turner swallowed sleeping pills and lay down to die. “People backstage noticed something was very wrong with me and rushed me to the hospital, which saved my life,” she writes in her book Happiness Becomes You, published in the fall. “At first I was disappointed when I woke up and realized I was still alive. I thought death was my only chance at escape. But it was not in my nature to stay down for long.” Read more

The Only Black Woman at the Helm of a Major Wellness Brand. By Kathleen Hou / New York Magazine

In 2020, the Black-owned wellness company Golde made five times the amount of revenue that it did in 2019. In the month of June alone, the company saw more sales than in the entirely of 2019. CEO and co-founder Trinity Mouzon Wofford (the youngest Black woman to launch a business at Sephora) started the brand with her high-school sweetheart Issey Kobori in 2017. Their goal: to make the buzzy world of wellness more accessible and fun for the next generation of consumers. Read more 


How the court-martial of Jackie Robinson nearly derailed his baseball career. By Matenzie Johnson / The Undefeated

Jackie Robinson is known for many things. Breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Winning numerous awards, including the inaugural rookie of the year award and the National League Most Valuable Player award. Becoming a World Series champion. Being a trailblazer in the civil rights movement. But one of the lesser-known moments in Robinson’s life may have been its most pivotal, one that could have derailed his prominent and society-changing baseball career before it even began. On the evening of July 6, 1944, exactly one month after American troops invaded Normandy, France, 2nd Lt. Jackie Robinson boarded a military bus to return to McCloskey General Hospital, located near the Camp Hood (now Fort Hood) Army base in Killeen, Texas. Read more 

John Chaney’s Message Was Always Clear, in Support of Black Athletes. By Billy Witz / NYT

Chaney, the Hall of Fame basketball coach, died on Friday at age 89. He spent a decade at the eponymous-sounding Cheyney, the historically Black college outside Philadelphia, where he won a Division II national championship. He spent the next 24 years at Temple, which may as well have been named Chaney U. for the way he built the basketball program’s national profile in his image: as an uncompromising underdog. Read more

We’ll get more Black NFL head coaches when players hold owners accountable. 

Last August, the Milwaukee Bucks protested the shooting of Jacob Blake by refusing to play an NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The Bucks’ dramatic and spontaneous action spurred a leaguewide protest. The players explained they had been pushed to the brink. The power behind the message was clear: If there are no players, there is no game. With its latest head coach hiring cycle, the NFL has pushed Black players and African Americans connected to the league close to the edge. For the second year in a row, pending the outcome of the Houston Texans’ search, no African Americans were hired as NFL head coaches. In three previous coaching replacement cycles before this year, 20 coaches were hired, just one of them Black. Read more 

NBA Highest-Paid Players: LeBron James’ Career Earnings Will Hit $1 Billion In 2021. By Kurt Badenhaysen / Forbes

LeBron James is the NBA’s top-earning player for the seventh straight year, including off-court income (2016-17 was the only season of his career James had the highest playing salary). He’s expected to earn $95.4 million, including an estimated $64 million from endorsements, memorabilia and media. It is a record haul for an NBA player and the highest ever in American team sports. The historic year will push his career earnings to $1 billion, including $700 million off the court. Read more 

Meet UCLA gymnast Nia Dennis, who went viral after ‘Black excellence’ floor routine. By Cynthia Silva / NBC News

A UCLA gymnast has wowed millions of people once again after her floor routine celebrating “Black excellence” went viral. Nia Dennis’ sensational floor exercise at a Pac-12 competition last week has garnered more than 10 million views on Twitter. The 21-year-old Bruins senior — who also went viral for her Beyoncé-themed routine in 2020 — performed to a mashup of music by Black artists, including Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Kendrick Lamar and Tupac Shakur. The gymnast received an almost-perfect score of 9.95. Read more 

Naomi Osaka buys ownership stake in NWSL’s North Carolina Courage. By Dan Wolken / USA Today

Three-time Grand Slam champion and social justice advocate Naomi Osaka is adding another line to her résumé: Pro sports team owner. Osaka announced via Twitter on Thursday that she had purchased a stake in the North Carolina Courage, one of 10 teams in the National Women’s Soccer League. Osaka, who was the highest-paid female athlete in the world last year according to Forbes, said in a Twitter post that investing in the NWSL was inspired by the support she has received from women in sports. Read more 

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