Race Inquiry Digest (January 3) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Across America, racist and sexist monuments give way to a new future. By Rebecca Solnit / The Guardian

Our public landscape is undergoing a deep transformation. It’s not comprehensive or complete – but it’s a powerful foundation. If you took your history lessons from the street names and the names of bridges and buildings, rivers and towns, you would believe men, mostly white Protestants, did nearly everything that ever mattered. But that is slowly changing: our public landscape is undergoing a deep transformation. And it reflects the shift that is under way in our society, from Alaska to Florida. Read more

The US is much less inclusive than it was two years ago. Here’s why. By Harmeet Kaur / CNN

If it feels like the US has become increasingly divided along race, gender, and other identity lines — it’s because it has. A report released by the Haas Institute at the University of California-Berkeley last week found that the US has become less inclusive — in other words, less welcoming to women, minority groups and people with disabilities — compared to the rest of the world since 2016. Read more

Shutdown Leaves Food, Medicine and Pay in Doubt in Indian Country. By Mitch Smith and Julie Turkewitz / NYT

For one tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the government shutdown comes with a price tag: about $100,000, every day, of federal money that does not arrive to keep health clinics staffed, food pantry shelves full and employees paid. Read more

Changes may be ahead for criticized Georgia election system. By Associated Press

Georgia’s outdated election system has drawn criticism from cybersecurity experts and voting integrity advocates, and now a commission tasked with examining potential replacements is preparing to make recommendations to lawmakers. Read more

More Than A Million Florida Felons Aren’t Sure Yet Whether They Can Register To Vote. By Daniel Rivero / NPR

In November, voters in the state overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative for a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to felons in Florida, convicted murderers and sex offenders excluded. It was one of the few remaining states to automatically restrict felons’ ability to vote. But the incoming governor, Republican Ron DeSantis, some state lawmakers and election officials say they need to weigh in on the amendment before any changes are made. Read more

This NFL firing cycle is disproportionately affecting minority head coaches. By Mark Maske / Wash Post

The NFL’s recent efforts to strengthen its minority hiring practices by bolstering enforcement of its longstanding Rooney Rule have been followed by a firing cycle that has disproportionately affected the league’s African-American head coaches, significantly dwindling their ranks. Five of the eight coaches fired leaguewide since midway through the regular season are African American. That has left only three minority coaches in the NFL as the carousel spins anew to replace those coaches just fired. Read more

Lamar Jackson and the rise of black quarterbacks in the NFL. By William C. Rhoden / The Undefeated

When the Ravens host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in an AFC wild-card game, Jackson will supplant Vick as the youngest quarterback to start an NFL playoff game. Vick was 22 when he led Atlanta to a playoff win over Green Bay in 2003. Jackson is 21. (He will celebrate his 22nd birthday on Jan. 7.) Jackson’s significance goes beyond his age. He will be one of five African-American quarterbacks to participate in the postseason — the most in NFL playoff history. Read more

‘What Obama had, he has that’: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ stock rises as Pelosi successor. By Heather Caygle, Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan / Politico

The newly elected Democratic Caucus chairman could one day be the first African-American speaker — if he can get past some hurdles in his own party. “What [Barack] Obama had, he has that. I call it lightning in a bottle,” said Rep. Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), who stumped for Jeffries ahead of the November party election. “I do think he’s somebody that could, with a few breaks, become our speaker and also our president. He has that talent.” Read more

House Dem majority welcomes first black female floor director. by Nolan McCaskill / Politico

Shuwanza Goff will help the incoming majority leader decide on the Democrats’ agenda.  When Democrats take the majority this week, however, her role will shift from counting votes to managing the floor. She will provide Hoyer with options on what bills will come to the floor, while incoming House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) office will make sure the votes are there for passage. Read more

House Democrats to push for more diversity in top corporate ranks. By Zachary Warmbrodt / Politico

California Democrat Maxine Waters, the first woman and first African-American to chair the House Financial Services Committee, is planning to use her new power to push for more women and minorities in the top ranks of corporate America. Read more

The weight of being fat and black in America is worth more consideration than goes into a cheap joke. By Steven W. Thrasher / NBC News

A trio of newly published books by black intellectuals deals with the connections between blackness, fatness and Americanness in ways which give us not just new language for weight, but for American discourse overall: “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body” by Roxane Gay, “Heavy: An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon and “Thick and Other Essays” by Tressie McMillan Cottom. Read more

How Chadwick Boseman Embodies Black Male Dignity. By Reggie Ugwu / NYT

Chadwick Boseman one of the most bankable actors of his generation. Conjurer of heroic icons real and imagined, a ludicrous personal pantheon that so far includes Jackie Robinson (“42,” 2013), James Brown (“Get On Up,” 2014), Thurgood Marshall (“Marshall,” 2017) and, His Majesty of Wakanda himself, Black Panther. Read more

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