Race Inquiry Digest (Feb 25) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


The 150-Year Prosecution of White Supremacy. By Melissa Gira Grant / The New Republic

If Merrick Garland is confirmed by the Senate and becomes the next attorney general, his first priority, according to the testimony he offered on Monday, would be supervising “the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on January 6.” In both his prepared remarks and his answers to senators’ questions, Garland framed the siege as an attack on American democracy itself, and the job of the Department of Justice as “battling extremist attacks on our democratic institutions.” Read more 

Related: Merrick Garland lets domestic terrorists know there’s a new sheriff in town. by Dana Milbank / Wash Post

Related: Republicans editing the white supremacy and violence from Jan. 6, because that’s who they are now. By Mark Sumner / Daily Kos

Related: Republicans Need ‘To Make Clear We Aren’t The Party Of White Supremacy.’ By Lee Moran / HuffPost

Political / Social

Clarence Thomas promotes Donald Trump’s big lie about voter fraud. By Mark Joseph Stern / Slate

Justice Clarence Thomas is not backing down from the fight to legitimize Donald Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was rife with fraud. On Monday morning, Thomas issued a startling opinion ranting against the alleged dangers of mail voting and declaring that SCOTUS must override state courts that expand vote by mail pursuant to their state constitutions. Trump may be out of office, but his staunchest ally on the U.S. Supreme Court is carrying on his assault on the legitimacy of the election. Read more

Related: Republicans Are Taking Their Voter Suppression Efforts to New Extremes. By Ari Berman / Mother Jones 

Evangelical Leaders Raise Alarms About Christian Nationalism In Their Ranks. By Sarah McCammon / NPR

A coalition of evangelical Christian leaders is condemning the role of “radicalized Christian nationalism” in feeding the political extremism that led to the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 by supporters of former President Donald Trump. In an open letter, more than 100 pastors, ministry and seminary leaders, and other prominent evangelicals express concern about the growing “radicalization” they’re seeing, particularly among white evangelicals. Read more

Related: Evangelical leaders launch nationwide push against extremism. By John Bowden / The Hill

500,000 Americans have died of Covid. Will we wake up to our own callousness? By Reverend William Barber / The Guardian

As the United States marks the terrible milestone of half a million souls lost to Covid-19, these deaths demand a grown-up conversation about the policies that shape our public life. When we look at the impact of this pandemic on other wealthy nations around the world, the disproportionate death toll we have sustained in the US exposes a basic failure of national security. Though we spend more than the next several nations combined on our military budget, our government was unable to protect its citizens against a deadly pathogen. Read more

The GOP’s Ayn Rand death cult: Trump’s party is literally killing the American people. By Chauncey Devega / Salon

It Was Garland’s Hearing—but Women of Color Were on Trial. By Elie Mystal / The Nation 

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, even members of the Sedition Caucus, didn’t have anything they could use to poke holes in Garland’s flawless résumé or anodyne public profile. So instead, they directed their attacks at the two women of color Biden has nominated to join Garland at the Justice Department: Vanita Gupta (nominated as associate attorney general) and Kristen Clarke (nominated to head the Civil Rights Division). Read more

Related: Joe Biden’s Nominees Of Color Are Facing Outsize Opposition. By Emily Peck / HuffPost

‘She became an easy target’: GOP opposition to Haaland rankles Native Americans. By Anthony Adragna and Ben Lefebvre / Politico 

Republican senators opposed to Rep. Deb Haaland’s nomination to be President Joe Biden’s leader of the Interior Department are centering their resistance on what they call the New Mexico Democrat’s “extreme views” on fossil fuels and use of federal lands. But supporters of Haaland, who would be the nation’s first Native American to serve in a presidential Cabinet, say they see a familiar pattern in the Republicans’ rhetoric and their unusual move to voice their opposition even before her nomination hearing was scheduled. They say she’s facing a level of criticism above and beyond the normal fiery Washington political rhetoric. Read more 

Related: Deb Haaland’s Ascent and the Complicated Legacy of Native Representation. By Nick Martin / The New Republic

Related: Why Indigenous people in cities feel ‘invisible’ as pandemic wears on.  By Casey Kuhn / PBS

People Over 75 Are First in Line to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19. The Average Black Person Here Doesn’t Live That Long. By Wendi C. Thomas and Hannah Grabenstein / ProPublica

Prioritizing by age might seem like an obvious choice, given the disproportionate impact of the disease on the elderly. Setting the initial threshold at 75, however, ignores the fact that a smaller share of Black people reach that age than white people. It also fails to account for research, released by the nonprofit Brookings Institution in June, showing that Black people who die of COVID-19 are, on average, about 10 years younger than white victims of the disease. Read more

Related: Black Americans should face lower age cutoffs to qualify for a vaccine. By Oni Blackstock and Uché Blackstock / Wash Post

Anti-Asian violence is surging. But we can’t answer bigotry with bigotry. By Andrew Wang / Wash Post

Beneath calls for advocacy and safety, some conversations circulating within Asian American communities are troubling. Across online platforms, video footage showing Black men as the perpetrators in some attacks has spawned greater anti-Black sentiment even as nationwide protests in defense of Black lives continue. I urge my fellow Asian Americans to reject these narratives. We cannot answer racism with racism. Read more

Lawsuit calls out alleged co-conspirators in Arbery murder. Chief among them: Georgia cops. By Lauren Floyd / Daily Kos

Exactly one year after her son’s death, Ahmaud Arbery’s mother filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday seeking to hold not only the men accused of killing Arbery accountable but the prosecutors and police department that allowed the accused killers to go free for 74 days after Arbery’s death. Wander Cooper-Jones is seeking in excess of $1 million in U.S. District Court, according to the lawsuit. Read more 

Related: ‘Everyone should be safe when they run’: The lasting trauma of Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting. By Curtis Bunn / NBC News

Why state legislatures are still very white — and very male. By Renuka Rayasam, Nolan D McCaskill, Beatrice Jin and Allan James Vestal / Politico

Even as the share of nonwhite Americans has grown, a POLITICO analysis of data from the National Conference of State Legislatures finds that most state legislatures are lacking in diversity, with nearly every state failing to achieve racial and gender parity with their own population data. Despite efforts to diversify politics, progress in statehouses remains slow and halting. That’s in contrast to the U.S. House of Representatives, where historically underrepresented groups, including women and people of color, are serving in record numbers. Read more 

Related: This Congress is the most diverse ever. But Hill staffers remain overwhelmingly white. By Maya King / Politico

For Black Families, Evictions Are Still At A Crisis Point — Despite Moratorium. By Pam Fessler / NPR

It’s a simple fact. Black and brown families are more likely to be evicted than white ones. There are many reasons for this, but the pandemic has made matters worse and could widen the gap for years to come. Aniya is a case in point. She’s a mother of two, unemployed, struggling to get by. By the end of this month, she has to leave her two-bedroom apartment in Richmond, VA., and find a new place to live. This comes on top of an already tough 2020. We agreed not to use Aniya’s full name because of possible repercussions on her ability to find another place to live. Read more

Virginia Senate votes to make racism a public health crisis. What now? By Bill Atkinson / The Progress-Index

Virginia, a state long associated with racist and segregationist behavior, is now only a signature away from becoming the first state in the South to declare racism a public-health crisis. Tuesday, the state Senate on a voice vote approved the declaration and sent it on to the desk of Gov. Ralph S. Northam, who is expected to sign it. Read more

Latinos need to confront their own racism, say Afro-Latinos pushing for racial equity. By Nicole Acevedo / NBC News

Part of Latinos’ racial reckoning is shedding the idea that “blackness is something else that is U.S.-based” and “doesn’t directly affect our Afro-Latino brothers and sisters,” said Fordham University law professor Tanya Hernandez, author of the coming book “On Latino Anti-Black Bias: ‘Racial Innocence’ & The Struggle for Equality. “Latinos “need to stop acting as if our ethnicity shields us from any implications in regard to racial issues,” Hernandez said. “An ethnic group is not impervious to issues of racism simply because they, too, are victims of racialization.” Read more 

What I learned when I recreated the famous ‘doll test’ that looked at how Black kids see race. By Toni Sturdivant / The Conversation

Back in the 1940s, Kenneth and Mamie Clark – a husband-and-wife team of psychology researchers – used dolls to investigate how young Black children viewed their racial identities. They found that given a choice between Black dolls and white dolls, most Black children preferred to play with white dolls. Without asking specific questions as the Clarks did, I still found a great deal of bias in how the girls treated the dolls. The girls rarely chose the Black dolls during play. On the rare occasions that the girls chose the Black dolls, they mistreated them. Read more 

Related: Why Aren’t There More Black Teachers? By Rann Miller / The Progressive 

Historical / Cultural

New York City and the Persistence of the Atlantic Slave Trade. By Gerald Horne / The Nation

John Harris’s The Last Slave Ships offers a more comprehensive portrait of the illegal slave trade in the Atlantic, starting with the last slave ships to dock in New York Harbor. Mining the historical archives in Spain, Portugal, Cuba, and the United States, Harris demonstrates how, even as slavery was being abolished in the Northern states, it continued to flourish, since the slave system was not confined simply to below the Mason-Dixon Line. The financing of the slave trade’s illegitimate commerce was sited heavily in Manhattan: Read more 

She sued her enslaver for reparations and won. Her descendants never knew. By Sydney Trent / Wash Post

Years would pass before David would learn about the indomitable woman who would turn out to be his great-great-grandmother. After the Civil War, Henrietta Wood sued for reparations for her enslavement, becoming the recipient of the largest known sum paid out in restitution for slavery by the U.S. courts. Her case has fresh resonance in 2021, as Congress debates forming a commission to examine the nation’s support for slavery, and the brutal racial oppression that followed, and propose reparations for its enduring consequences. Read more 

Historic number of Confederate statues were removed in 2020. By N’dea Yancey-Bragg / USA Today

More than 90 Confederate monuments were taken down or moved from public spaces in 2020 following the death of George Floyd, according to new data from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The latest data documents nearly 800 Confederate monuments that were in the U.S. at the beginning of that year, a number that dwindled to about 700 by the end of it. Read more 

Black Americans Have Long Led the Global Battle Against White Supremacy. By Benjamin Talton / AAIHS

African American activists’ steadfast opposition to authoritarianism and white supremacy at home and abroad offer lessons for the U.S. government. During World War II, activists created the Double V (Double Victory) Campaign against domestic and foreign tyranny. Even as their own country treated them as internal threats, African Americans, from Paul and Eslanda Goode Robeson, W.E.B. and Shirley Graham Du Bois and Mary McCleod Bethune to Martin Luther King Jr, among many others, took sustained and principled stances against authoritarianism and imperialism. Read more

Related: America needs us to get outside our comfort zones. By James Clyburn / CNN

What “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” Leaves Out. By Hari Ramesh / Dissent

Debates around the histories of caste in South Asia and race in the United States have largely faded from view. In Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, the journalist Isabel Wilkerson attempts to change this. She argues that Americans must “recalibrate how we see ourselves” by understanding U.S. racial inequality as a caste system, and opposing it on these terms. Adopting caste as a transnational historical category generates some important insights, but pressing it too far risks confusing different political circumstances. When we conceptualize and resist racial subjugation first and foremost because it is a caste system, we risk losing vital, context-born insights that might aid and energize our political endeavors. Read more

Magical Negroes can’t exist without a Mister Charlie or Miss Ann. By Soraya Nadia McDonald / The Undefeated

Why do I bring this up? Because in the fun house mirror that displays Magical Negroes, there is always a hapless Mister Charlie or a helpless Miss Ann standing next to them. Magical Negroes cannot exist without a clueless white person — sometimes an entire family of them! — who requires their aid, which of course is offered for free, or close to it. (Art that’s got a Magical Negro and no white people in it is minstrelsy.) While trying to come up with names for these types of white characters, I figured they needed to be as retrograde as “Negro,” hence “Mister Charlie” and “Miss Ann,” as opposed to the more contemporary “Chad” and “Karen.” Read more 

The world of the Black Panthers Photos. By Stephen Shames / ABC News

Tiger Woods Faces Tough Recovery From Leg Injuries Sustained In Car Crash. By Stephanie Dazio and Doug Ferguson / AP and HuffPost

In a career filled with remarkable comebacks, Tiger Woods faces his toughest recovery of all. Woods was driving through a sweeping, downhill stretch of road through coastal suburbs of Los Angeles when his SUV struck a sign, crossed over a raised median and two oncoming lanes before it toppled down an embankment, coming to a halt on its side. The airbags deployed. A sheriff’s deputy poked his head through a hole in the windshield to see Woods, still wearing his seatbelt, sitting in the driver’s seat. The crash caused “significant” injuries all down his right leg. Read more 

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