Race Inquiry Digest (July 8) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Inherently Unequal: The life and afterlife of Plessy v. Ferguson. By David Cole / The Nation

On May 18, 1896, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Louisiana’s Separate Car Act, which required railroads to provide separate but equal cars to white and “colored” passengers. At the time, the case, Plessy v. Ferguson, drew little attention outside the black press. Today it is best known as the precedent that the Supreme Court overruled in Brown v. Board of Education, its 1954 decision that separate is inherently unequal in the context of segregated public schools. Read more

Don’t forget this: Trump’s fans are loyal, and stuck with him through his Fourth of July fiasco. By Amanda Marcotte / Salon

It turns out that Trump’s base isn’t in this because they’re bamboozled by fascist theatrics or swept up in Trump’s gaudy, cheap version of glamour. What this has always been about for the Trumpers is making a stand for white supremacy and male domination. This is important: What drives the Trump base isn’t actually Donald Trump himself. It’s the bigotry. Everything else is gravy. Read more

Two Years Into Trump’s Presidency, Obama Remains a Top Target for Criticism. By Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman / NYT

It took all of one minute and nine seconds for President Trump to go after his predecessor on Friday. It was former President Barack Obama who started the policy of separating children from their parents at the border, Mr. Trump claimed falsely, and it was Mr. Obama who had such a terrible relationship with North Korea that he was about to go to war. Mr. Obama had it easy on the economy, Mr. Trump added, but let America’s allies walk all over him. Read more

The Supreme Court Just Legitimized a Cornerstone Element of Voter Suppression. By Jelani Cobb / The New Yorker

Last Thursday, when the Supreme Court handed down its ruling on Rucho v. Common Cause, it legitimized one of the cornerstone elements of voter suppression in the United States. The Court ruled that the federal government could not impede partisan gerrymandering on the state level, even while conceding that gerrymandering might produce unjust outcomes. Read more

It’s the Cruelty, Stupid. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

Donald Trump continues to remind us that he does not care about the pain and hardships of racial minorities. Read more

Elizabeth Warren Pitches Plan To Close Wage Gap For Women Of Color. By Alexis Arnold / HUffPost

Warren wrote in a post on Medium that she would issue several executive actions to boost wages for women of color and open up pathways for them to become leaders in the federal workforce. She said she would implement her “Equal Opportunity Executive Order” on her first day as president. Read more

The Justice Department Hasn’t Found a New Reason for the Census Citizenship Question—but Trump Has. By Mark Joseph Stern / Slate

The Department of Justice revealed on Friday that it’s still searching for a new justification for a census citizenship question that might pass legal muster. And while it rummages around for that rationale, the DOJ asked a federal judge to delay discovery into the allegedly discriminatory motives that produced the citizenship question, a request he promptly denied. Read more

Joe Biden apologises for remarks about segregationist senators. By Martin Pengelly / The Guardian

As he headed towards a confrontation with Kamala Harris in South Carolina this weekend, Joe Biden took an unfamiliar step: he apologised for remarks about work with segregationist senators which attracted criticism for alleged racial insensitivity. Read more

The Same Myths That Thwarted Busing Are Keeping School Segregation Alive. By Sherrilyn Ifill / Slate

A contentious conversation over busing as a tool to desegregate schools began last week during the first debates of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary season and has continued onto the campaign trail this week. That debate has also reignited the most resilient and pernicious myths about busing and school desegregation, myths that continue to thwart this country’s efforts to fully achieve the goal of school desegregation. Read more

When ‘Black Lives Matter’ Is Invoked in the Abortion Debate. By John Eligon / NYT

As a pastor, Clinton Stancil counsels his black congregants that abortion is akin to the taking of innocent life. But as a civil rights activist, Mr. Stancil urges them to understand the social forces that prompt black women to have abortions at disproportionately high rates. Read more

I asked Latinos why they joined immigration law enforcement. Now I’m urging them to leave. David Cortez / USA Today

Latinos make up half of American Border Patrol agents. But it’s not self-hatred driving them to work for agencies deporting their communities. I spent all of 2015 interviewing and observing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents across Arizona, California and Texas. My goal: to understand how the once predominantly white institution of immigration law enforcement, established and maintained historically as a tool of white supremacy, had come to be disproportionately made up of Latinos. Read more

2019 Belongs to Shirley Chisholm. By Jennifer Steinhauer / NYT

A feature film. A monument. Tattoos in her honor. People looking for a hero have found one in this one-woman precursor to today’s progressive politics. Read more

When racists try to poison our national symbols, we shouldn’t just surrender. By Alyssa Rosenberg / Wash Post

Few things are more American than a giant company’s efforts to turn a profit off a patriotic emblem — and then seeing the product flare into a cultural bonfire just in time for the Fourth of July. But if the debate over Nike’s hasty decision not to release a shoe featuring the Betsy Ross flag has become hopelessly tangled, unknotting it should lead us to one conclusion: We shouldn’t be so quick to capitulate when racists try to taint symbols of our national story. Read more

Ilhan Omar’s American story: It’s complicated. By Greg Jaffe and Souad Mekhennet / Wash Post

More than two decades had passed since she and her family fled civil war in Somalia, first for a Kenyan refugee camp and then America. Now she was 36, one of the youngest members of Congress and the first lawmaker to wear a hijab in the legislative body’s long history. She was also at the center of a contentious fight over American identity that pitted her against the president and, even, some in her own party. Read more

The Common Wind of the African Diaspora. By Kevin Dawson / AAIHS

Julius Scott’s The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution is one of the academy’s worst-kept secrets. Scott offers a nuanced, variegated, and multi-layered examination of the underbelly of the early modern Atlantic world, arguing that the “mobility that characterized the masterless Caribbean at the end of the eighteenth century provided a steady undercurrent of opposition to the ‘absolute’ power of masters, merchants, and military officers in the region.” Read more

After 50 years, Asian American studies programs can still be hard to find. By Agnes Constante / NBC News

Duke is one of the latest colleges to establish an Asian American studies program among a push across U.S. campuses for the field of study. According to the College Board, the not-for-profit group that administers the SAT, 25 U.S. colleges and universities offer majors in Asian American studies. The number does not include institutions like Duke that have a program but don’t offer a degree. Read more

When is a hairstyle not just a hairstyle? When it’s a pretext for discrimination. By Stephanie Griffith / ThinkProgress

African Americans in particular find that their afros, cornrows and dreadlocks are held against them at school and when applying for jobs. Read more

Fitness to finesse: the reasons behind Coco Gauff’s stunning Wimbledon rise. By Simon Cambers / The Guardian

Anyone who watched her matches in the first week will know how talented Coco Gauff is. This is a girl good enough to go toe to toe with the five-times champion Venus Williams in the first round and then, when things got tough in the third against Polona Hercog, had the ability to change her game, showing plenty of variety to get the job done. 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.