Race Inquiry Digest (July 22) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Trump revives the idea of a ‘white man’s country’, America’s original sin. By Nell Painter / The Guardian

The idea that some US inhabitants deserve the land, deserve to stay and to occupy it, and that others must go – to be exterminated (Native Americans), to be exiled (black people), to be driven out (Chinese and Japanese people), to be barred from immigrating (Italians, Jews and other southern and eastern Europeans), to be removed (Mexicans) and, briefly, challenged as citizens (Irish Catholics) – has changed shape over time in terms of the permitted stayers and the non-permitted exiles. But the conviction that only some people – that is, white people (however defined) – deserved US citizenship based on race held on for a very long time. After all, the initial US Congress began its work in 1790 by limiting eligibility for naturalisation to the free and the white. Must read

What Trump Is Teaching Our Children. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

He is everything we teach our children not to be. In Trump’s world of immorality, the lessons being taught undo all the principles parents struggle to instill. Read more

Anti-Racist Historian: Attacks on Rep. Omar Rooted in Belief “America Is for White People.” By Amy Goodman / Democracy Now

IBRAM X. KENDI: Yeah, and, you know, I think my response to this week is I think we have to continuously recognize that there’s a certain segment of people in this country who imagine that the home of America is for white people, and that when people of color come into that home and criticize that home, they say, “How dare you come into my home and criticize my home? You might as well go back to your home.” Read more

The Joy of Hatred. By Jamelle Bouie / NYT

The chanting was disturbing and the anger was frightening, but what I noticed most about the president’s rally in Greenville, N.C., on Wednesday night was the pleasure of the crowd. Read more

What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever. By Adam Server / The Atlantic

The consensus that American civic nationalism recognizes all citizens regardless of race, creed, color, or religion was already fragile before Trump took office. Trump’s demand is less a factual assertion than a moral one, an affirmation of the president’s belief that American citizenship is conditional for people of color, who should be grateful we are even allowed to be here. Read more

Of course Donald Trump is a racist – and his Wall Street enablers know it. By Robert Reich / The Guardian

The relevant question is not whether Trump is a racist. Of course he is. Or whether he’s going to continue bashing these members of Congress, who fill all his demonization boxes: Democrats, females, people of color, a Muslim. Of course he will. The real question is whether the people bankrolling Trump and the Republican party are going to stop this rot before it consumes the politics of 2020, and perhaps more. Read more

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Embraces Her Maverick Role In First Town Hall Since High-Profile Spat. By Daniel Marans / HuffPost

The diverse and progressive crowd that greeted the New York congresswoman showed a more idealistic side of the party than the one that holds sway in Washington. “All you need to do is hear what the president did this week to know that this is not about immigration at all. Because once you start telling American citizens to quote ‘go back to their countries,’ this tells you that this president’s policies are not about immigration, it’s about ethnicity and race,” she said. “His biggest mistake was that he said the quiet part loud.” Read more

The Real Trouble with Ilhan Omar. By Sarah Jaffe / The Progressive

lhan Omar has spent most of her adult life making trouble—good trouble, as her colleague John Lewis, with whom she’s just introduced a resolution supporting Americans’ right to participate in boycott movements, likes to say. So it’s perhaps understandable that she maintains an impressive cool under the repeated onslaught of criticism, threats, and rage thrown her way, from the right as well as well as from the Democratic leadership.  Read more

Integration vs. White Intransigence. By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT

The revival of the argument over school busing illuminates a continuing predicament for Democrats and proponents of racial equality. Integration works, but how do we get it to fly in the face of white intransigence? Read more

What school segregation looks like in the US today, in 4 charts. By Erica Frankenberg / The Conversation

Studies have shown that school desegregation has important benefits for students of all races. Recent research illustrates that its positive impact on the educational attainment, lifetime earnings and health of African American families persists for multiple generations. Yet, despite years of government desegregation efforts and the proven benefits of integrated schools, our recently published research shows that U.S. school segregation is higher than it has been in decades, even if there are no longer overt laws requiring racially segregated schools. Read more

Germany paid Holocaust reparations. Will the U.S. do the same for slavery? By Susan Neiman / LATimes

Born as a white girl in the segregated South, I’ve spent most of my adulthood as a Jewish woman in Berlin. This double perspective has fueled my resolve to explore America’s fraught relationship with its history. It is easy to point to the differences between the Holocaust and the enslavement and abuse of millions of Africans. When examining possible responses to these crimes, however, striking similarities emerge. This became especially clear during the congressional debate on HR 40, federal legislation that would set up a commission to consider what reparations are owed to African Americans today. Read more

Why we must talk about the Asian-American story, too. By Brando Simeo Starkey / The Undefeated

Go back to China!” That ugly exclamation rattled the ears of editor Michael Luo who, with family and friends in tow, headed to get lunch at a nearby Korean restaurant on the Upper East Side streets of Manhattan last month. Luo wrote an open letter in the New York Times to the white woman who roared it, telling her how such verbal daggers sever Asian-Americans from their citizenship. “Maybe you don’t know this,” he penned, “but the insults you hurled at my family get to the heart of the Asian-American experience. Read more

With Its Nuanced Portrayal of Asian American Life, ‘The Farewell’ Shines. By Kristen Yoonsoo Kim / The Nation

The fact that films about Asian Americans still feel rare and revelatory is a reflection of Hollywood’s lumbering progress. The Farewell—writer-director Lulu Wang’s sophomore feature—also stars a mostly Asian ensemble and arrives in much quieter form during today’s nascent resurgence in Asian American cinema. Read more

Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments: ‘Capitalism Needs to Work for Everyone.’ By David Gelles / NYT

Mellody Hobson was raised by a single mother and endured economic hardship as a child. The phone was shut off. The car was repossessed. Her family was evicted. Today, Ms. Hobson is one of the most senior black women in finance. She serves on the boards of JPMorgan Chase and Starbucks, and this month was named co-chief executive of Ariel Investments, the largest minority-owned investment firm. When not shepherding Ariel, which manages some $13 billion, she is engaged in her board work and spending time with her husband, the filmmaker and “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. Read more

The History Behind the Supreme Court Showdown Over Tribal Land Is Bloody and Violent. For Rebecca Nagle, It’s Also Personal. By Delilah Friedler / Mother Jones

“The Supreme Court case no one is talking about” began with a murder. It could end with 43 percent of Oklahoma’s land being returned to tribal governments. In a way Carpenter v. Murphy encapsulates the larger history of Native dispossession—a story of bloody violence dissolving into lawsuits and hearings. The great accomplishment of This Land, the podcast about the case hosted by charismatic Cherokee journalist Rebecca Nagle, is that it never loses sight of the human lives at stake in the dry legalese of today’s tribal relations. Read more

The Racist History of Tipping. By Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II / Politico

This week, the House of Representatives will have a chance to end a pernicious legacy of slavery. Lawmakers will vote on the Raise the Wage Act, which would boost the minimum wage across the country to $15 an hour by 2024. This would be a crucial step toward the first federal minimum wage increase in more than a decade. There’s another provision in the legislation—eliminating the subminimum tipped wage—that corrects a wrong that goes much further back than the previous federal minimum wage increase. For workers regularly making more than $30 a month in tips, employers can currently pay as little as $2.13 an hour. That subminimum wage has been frozen at this level for decades. Read more

16 Black Chefs Changing Food in America. By John Eligon and Julia Moskin / NYT

When Ashleigh Shanti, 29, journeyed across the country on a six-month sabbatical last year, she decided that her next step as a chef needed to fulfill a critical desire: cooking food that celebrated her heritage as a black woman from the South and rebuffed assumptions about what that food could be. Read more

‘I want my father in the Hall of Fame’: Curt Flood’s heroic legacy. By William C. Rhoden / The Undefeated

I want my father in the Hall of Fame because I understand that that institution houses the history; he is an important part of that history.” — Shelly Flood  The 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Sunday in Cooperstown, New York. Once again, Curt Flood, author of the most heroic individual acts of resistance in modern Major League Baseball history, will be excluded. Read more

Visit our home page for more articles. And at the top of this page register your email to receive notification of new editions of Race Inquiry Digest.  Click here for earlier Digests.