Race Inquiry Digest (February 14) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – New York City Public Schools Should Be Evaluated Based on Diversity, Not Just Tests, Panel Says. By Eliza Shapiro / NYT

A high-level panel commissioned by Mayor Bill de Blasio called on the city to adopt a sweeping measure to address entrenched segregation in education: create diversity targets for all 1,800 schools so that their population reflects the racial and economic makeup of the surrounding areas. Over the next five years, the panel recommended, elementary and middle schools should reflect the racial makeup of their local school district, and high schools should look as much like their local borough as possible, in terms of race, income level, disability and proficiency in English. Read more 

Hollywood diversity has improved, study shows. By Andrew Pulver / The Guardian

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative analysed the 100 highest grossing films released in the US in 2018 and found that 40 of them contained a female lead or co-lead, compared to 32 in 2017, and 33 in 2018. The current number is the highest since the study began in 2007. Furthermore, the study found that diversity within the area was also improving: of the 40, 11 films contained lead characters from what were described as “under-represented racial/ethnic groups”, and 11 that contained characters aged 45 or over. This compares to 4 and 5 in 2017, respectively, in each grouping. Read more  

The ‘Loyal Slave’ Photo That Explains the Northam Scandal. By Kevin M. Levin / The Atlantic

The yearbook photo that appears on Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s personal page, featuring a man in blackface and another in a Klan robe, looks to me like a modern update of a familiar image from the Civil War, of a Confederate soldier from the slaveholding class posing with his body servant. The history of the Civil War pairing clarifies the meaning of the Northam scandal. Read more  

What Our Textbooks Get Wrong About Slavery. By Isaac Himmelman / HuffPost

The white people of the Confederacy didn’t mince words. They were fighting for the right to enslave African-Americans. Yet despite the Confederacy’s own candor, a 2011 Pew research poll found that nearly 48 percent of Americans still believe the Civil War was a fight over “states rights.” Meanwhile, a 2018 report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that only 8 percent of surveyed high school seniors identified slavery as the driving cause of the Civil War. Why 150 years after the Civil War’s end are so many so Americans still confused about its beginning? Read more 

Blocked from taking Confederate statues down, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis try other ideas. By Nicquel Terry Ellis / USA Today

As public opposition to symbols of the Confederacy has grown, Georgia is one of several states that has moved in recent years to protect them. New laws throughout the South are blocking local governments from removing statues, monuments and other markers from public view. Read more  

Striking Steel. By Imani Perry / The Progressive 

“No matter how many centuries have been devoted to the official story that black people are shameful, we have been the grace note of American history. And yet if I am honest, shame is what I feel. Not in blackness though, in Americanness.” Read more  

North Carolina To Have Its First Black Woman As Supreme Court Chief Justice. By Kimberly Richards / HuffPost

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) on Tuesday appointed Cheri Beasley to be the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court. Beasley will be the first black woman to hold the position.Beasley has served on the North Carolina Supreme Court since 2012, according to the North Carolina Judicial Branch website. She previously was an associate judge on the state’s Court of Appeals, and served as a district court judge before that. Read more  

Blackface is just a symptom of American medicine’s racist past. By Christopher D.E. / Wash Post

The racist images on Ralph Northam’s yearbook page raise significant questions about the Virginia governor’s attitudes toward race. But they also reflect the culture of the time at Eastern Virginia Medical School and in the profession he later joined. Read more  

Black communities aren’t getting the mental health care they need. I’m helping to break the silence. By Taraji P. Henson / NBC News

People in the African-American community have long been afraid to talk about our mental health; we just don’t do it. We’re told to pray it away, we’re told to be strong, we’re told it’s a sign of weakness or, a lot of times, mental health issues comes off as “rage” and is dismissed or ignored. There’s shame and taboo around the topic. We have to break that silence. Read more  

For black children, there’s a rising need to create safe spaces to talk about trauma. By Christopher A. Daniel / NBC News

The cases of Seven Bridges, 10, of Louisville, KentuckyRylan Hagan, 11, and Stormiyah Denson-Jackson, 12, both from Washington, D.C.; and McKenzie Adams, 9, of Linden, Alabamaare indicative of a rising epidemic occurring among young black people. The four were all said to be overachievers who did their chores and excelled in studies. But they also have another thing in common: They were all victims of alleged taunting and bullying at school, and they all hanged themselves. Read more 

Pioneering Black Scientist Wins ‘Nobel Prize For The Environment.’ By Marlene Cimons / Huff Post

Before the evolution of sophisticated computers, scientists knew little about the atmosphere other than what they could observe outright. Then a young black physicist, Warren Washington, came along, eager to use early computers to understand the workings of the Earth’s climate. He collaborated in creating the earliest computer climate models and went on to advise six presidents about climate change : Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2010 by President Obama. Read more 

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