Race Inquiry Digest (July 11) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Racism: Milwaukee’s Public Health Emergency. By Isiah Holmes / The Progressive

One of the most segregated cities in the United States takes on racism as a health issue. Wauwatosa, an affluent suburb northwest of Milwaukee, has a history of restrictive zoning against black people, and today many minority residents continue to encounter racist attitudes in this disproportionately white community. We don’t often talk about racism as causing illness, but that’s exactly what’s being discussed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a town often viewed as a microcosm of America’s problems with race and poverty. This spring, Milwaukee County leaders described racism as a “public health crisis” and dedicated the agency to actively engaging all citizens in racial justice work. Read more

There’s a Reason We Don’t Say ‘Integration’ Any More. By Erin Aubry Kaplan / NYT

Integration is something lots of people support in theory. They may even see it as a pillar of American democratic ideals — e pluribus unum, the whole working to become one. But they balk at concrete measures to make integration happen, whether it’s busing or affirmative action. They vastly prefer that it kind of happen on its own. Read more

Black women mayors: A rising force in major American cities. By Janell Ross / NBC News

As recently as 2013, there was only one black woman leading a major city. Now, for the first time in the nation’s history, women of color lead 10 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, serving in many cases as the first female mayors of communities around the country. In seven cities — Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Charlotte, North Carolina, San Francisco and Chicago — black women have climbed from city council seats and municipal boards into the mayor’s office. Read more

As Cameras Track Detroit’s Residents, a Debate Ensues Over Racial Bias. By Amy Harmon / NYT

Twenty-four hours a day, video from thousands of cameras stationed around Detroit, at gas stations, restaurants, mini-marts, apartment buildings, churches and schools, streams into the Police Department’s downtown headquarters. Studies have shown that facial recognition software can return more false matches for African-Americans than for white people, a sign of what experts call “algorithmic bias.” Read more

What the Hell Is Going on With Trump and the Census, Explained. By Ryan Bort / Rolling Stone

President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have moved from burying the contents of the Mueller report to jamming a question about citizenship status onto the Census. The Supreme Court has already rejected the bid for a citizenship question on the all-important population survey. But the president’s hand-picked head of the Justice Department said on Monday that the administration was going to try again. Read more

The War to Empower Rural White Voters Is Bigger Than Trump. By Matt Ford / The New Republic

One month before Donald Trump launched his presidential bid, the Supreme Court agreed to consider a bid by conservative legal activists to rejigger the boundaries of American electoral politics in their favor.  If the justices held that states had to redraw maps based on eligible and registered voters alone, large urban areas would see their electoral power diluted in favor of rural regions that trend whiter and more conservative. That shift, in turn, would strengthen the Republican Party in red, purple, and blue states alike. Read more

With A Growing Membership Since Trump, Black Gun Group Considers Getting Political. By Brakkton Booker / NPR

Philip Smith is the president and founder of the National African American Gun Association. Since its creation in 2015, the group has seen rapid growth with roughly 30,000 members and 75 chapters nationwide. Read more

The Chicago Defender, Legendary Black Newspaper, Prints Last Copy. By Monica Davey and John Eligon / NYT

For generations of black Americans, The Defender, influential and tough, was a force: “You knew it didn’t happen if it wasn’t in The Defender.” Decade by decade, the newspaper told the story of black life in America. It took note of births and deaths, of graduations and weddings, of everything in between. Through eras of angst, its reporters dug into painful, dangerous stories, relaying grim details of lynchings, of clashes over school integration and of the shootings of black men by white police officers. Read more

James Monroe Enslaved Hundreds. Their Descendants Still Live Next Door. By Audra D. S. Burch / NYT

A small African-American community has existed less than 10 miles from the president’s former plantation for generations. Only recently has the full extent of their relationship been revealed. Read more

Mitch McConnell and slavery: A dark fable of America’s past — and present. By Chauncey DeVega / Salon

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes that reparations for the crimes done to black Americans, both during centuries of white-on-black chattel slavery and then 100 years of Jim Crow American apartheid are not deserved. In many ways, McConnell’s family story of slavery is quite representative of America’s history. Chattel slavery was foundational for American Empire. Read more

As McConnell’s family shows, the legacy of slavery persists in most American lives. By Janell Ross / NBC News

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Tuesday that his ancestors had owned slaves, he didn’t say whether he was surprised to learn about it from an NBC News report the day before. But historians, economists and other scholars say that few Americans should be surprised to find a personal connection — direct or indirect — to the exploitation of slaves. Read more

Jay-Z’s Power Of T-Shaped Leadership. By Jason Wingard / Forbes

Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z, recently became hip-hop’s first billionaire. While the 49 year old rose to fame for his music career, he created his fortune by expanding upon this singular specialization — and by diversifying his business interests across a range of industries. Read more

Ignore the ‘Little Mermaid’ backlash and racist social media trolls. By Todd “Stereo” Williams / The Undefeated

In case you’ve somehow missed the news, The Little Mermaid is black. Halle Bailey has been tapped as the star of the highly anticipated live-action remake of the popular 1989 flick. The movie is slated for next year, and Disney shared the news last week that the grown-ish actress (and younger half of Grammy-nominated musical duo Chloe x Halle) had landed the starring role. The announcement was met with excitement from many — but, like clockwork, the naysayers came out in full force to criticize the casting, bemoaning the idea that the story’s heroine, Ariel, could be black. Read more

Are Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and LeBron James Too Powerful? By Marc Stein / NYT

In today’s N.B.A. the players are the stars and the team executives, and they basically decide whether a contract is actually a contract. “Who knew that Kawhi would not only rule the league but rewrite the rules of free agency?” Smith said. “It says a lot for a guy who is known for saying nothing.”  Read more

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