Race Inquiry Digest (Jun 10) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Analysis: Obama and Trump intensify their battle over democracy. By Stephen Collinson / CNN 

Most presidents stop trying to define the nation’s future once they leave office. But Barack Obama and Donald Trump are refusing to concede the battle for America’s soul on which they first clashed more than a decade ago. No modern former commanders in chief have been so present or outspoken about politics, or each other, after returning to private life. But the 44th and 45th Presidents just renewed their battle over the country’s political lifeblood — democracy — which has rarely faced a graver assault than from Trump’s election fraud lies. Read more 

Related: Republicans Are Turning America Into a ‘Democracy With Asterisks.’ By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT

Related: How Democratic Is American Democracy? Key Pillars Face Stress Tests. By Mara Liasson / NPR

Related: American democracy is fighting for its life – and Republicans don’t care. By Robert Reich / The Guardian 

Political / Social

Republicans are out to create the rigged voting system they claim to be victims of. By Lawrence Douglas / The Guardian

Our entire democracy is now at risk.” That was the note of alarm sounded last week by a group of prominent intellectuals on both the left and the right. The source of their concern are the Republican efforts, underway across the nation, to operationalize the “big lie”: the bogus claim that a vast conspiracy of fraud cost Trump the 2020 election. Read more 

Related:  Joe Manchin Cares More About ‘Bipartisanship’ Than Fighting Jim Crow. By Elie Mystal / The Nation

Related: Democrats May Need To Change Their Voting Rights Bill If They Want It To Pass. By Igor Bobic and Arthur Delaney / HuffPost

Related: John Lewis voting rights bill faces steep uphill climb in Senate. By Sahil Kapur / NBC News 

Voter Suppression Must Be the Central Issue. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

The right to vote is everything in a democracy. Without influence over power, you are completely vulnerable to that power. There is no way to access prosperity or ensure personal protection when you live in a society in which people who share your interests are inhibited in their political participation. So the current efforts by Republicans across the country are a chilling omen as well as an eerie echo. Read more 

Related: The Senate can still protect voting rights from GOP assault. Here’s how. By the Editorial Board / Wash Post

Abrams’ Voting Rights Group Unveils Effort To Mobilize Millions Of Young Voters Of Color.

In an attempt to better understand these complex relationships between race, class, Trumpism and the events of Jan. 6, I recently spoke with Arlie Russell Hochschild. She is a professor emerita of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of nine books, of which the most recent is “Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right.” In this conversation, Hochschild explains how a group she describes as “the elite of the left behind” are Donald Trump’s real base of support. She discusses how Trump exploited feelings of shame, failure, entitlement and fear among the white working class to win them over to his fake populist movement. Hochschild also shares her thoughts on the Jan. 6 attack, which she sees not merely as an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election but an attack on the idea of democracy itself. Read more  

Russell Moore delivers an unflinching indictment of the Southern Baptist Convention.  By Kathleen Parker / Wash Post

Russell Moore is either a politically disillusioned troublemaker or a prophet in a time of darkness. In a 4,000-word letter charging the Southern Baptist Convention with racism and sexual abuse, he has single-handedly brought the evangelical Christian world to its knees. Moore’s words carry weight not least because he’s one of the most-respected evangelicals in the United States. His greatest sin seems to be that he often thinks, speaks and acts as a Christian. Among other things, he was a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, which borders on blasphemy among the Trump faithful. Read more 

How Kids Perceive Racism in the U.S., According to a New Study by Sesame Workshop. By Cady Lang / Yahoo News

The majority of U.S. children believe that people of different races are not treated fairly in their country, according to a new study releasing today by Sesame Workshop, the educational nonprofit behind Sesame   Street. In Coming Together: Family Reflections on Racism, shared exclusively with TIME, 86% of the children surveyed responded that they thought people in the U.S. were treated unfairly because of race; nearly half of the children surveyed said that they have personally experienced discrimination of some kind and many also noted that they have personally witnessed unfair treatment. Read more 

Related: Meet the US students confronting racism, injustice and a pandemic. By Reuters and ABC News 

The Racial Reckoning That Wasn’t.  By Gene Demby, Shereen Marisol Meraji, Leah Donella, Steve Drummond, Brianna Scott and Alyssa Jeong Perry / NPR Podcast

In the wake of several high-profile police killings last summer, support for Black Lives Matter skyrocketed among white Americans. Their new concerns about racism pushed books about race to the top of the bestseller lists, while corporations pledged billions of dollars to address injustice. A year later, though, polls show that white support for the movement has not only waned, but is lower than it was before. On this episode, two researchers explain why last year so-called racial reckoning was always shakier than it looked. Listen here 

Ron DeSantis Touts Education to Fight Antisemitism as Florida Seeks to Ban Critical Race Theory. By Daniel Villarreal / Newsweek 

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis mentioned Tuesday that he signed a 2020 bill requiring state public schools to teach about the Holocaust. But DeSantis has also been trying to ban critical race theory (CRT) in Florida schools, a field of study that analyzes race and racism, proponents say, as a way to combat modern-day racism. Read more 

Virginia Will Have A Woman Of Color As Lieutenant Governor. /HuffPost

Del. Hala Ayala won Virginia’s Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor on Tuesday, ensuring that the state’s next lieutenant governor will be a woman of color for the first time in state history. Ayala, a cybersecurity specialist from Prince William County backed by the state’s Democratic establishment, is Afro-Latina and has Lebanese ancestry. She will compete against Republican nominee Winsome Sears, a Black small business owner, Marine veteran and former state lawmaker. Read more 

Top Biden Energy Nominee Testifies About How Minorities Are Harmed By U.S. Policy.

In 2018, Trevy McDonald became the first Black woman to earn tenure on the journalism faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The milestone, she said, was way overdue for a prominent public university that started teaching journalism in 1909 and established a journalism school in 1950. What bothers McDonald even more: She remains the only Black woman with tenure at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media. The associate professor, 51, criticized UNC for not conferring tenure on prizewinning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who is Black, when it hired her this spring to the endowed Knight Chair in Race and Investigative Journalism. Previous Knight chairs at the university had been granted the job-security measure. Read more 

America’s Lingering Problem With School Segregation. By Lauren Camera / U.S. News

As the Biden administration takes aim at systemic racism and manages a pandemic that exposed racial fault lines in education, some see a chance to attack an intractable problem: school segregation. New polling from the Century Foundation found that 84% of people said it was somewhat, very or extremely important that public schools have a mix of students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, and 83% said it was important to have a mix of students from different economic backgrounds. Historically, though, the issue has proven largely intractable. Read more 

Related: 3 ways schools can improve STEM learning for Black students. James Holly Jr. / The Conversation

As a Black woman, I was told not to pursue a career in medicine. The path must be easier for others. By Andria E. Tatem / Wash Post

At 3 years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a pediatrician and “take care of all the sick babies in the world.” I knew that I was smart enough; I was already reading and on an accelerated academic track. But I didn’t know that being a poor Black girl — and, later, a Black woman — would threaten to derail me at every turn. Now, I practice academic medicine at a prestigious children’s hospital and have accepted a tenure-track position at a prestigious medical school. But Black women are being targeted in academic medicine, and I am angry. You should be, too. Read more 

Historical / Cultural

Not far from Tulsa, a quieter but consequential correction of the historical record.  By Charles Lane / Wash Post

In recent weeks, the country has been focused, appropriately, on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Less than a day’s drive to the southeast, meanwhile, another long-overdue reckoning with historical racial violence was occurring, quietly, in rural Colfax, La., population 1,569. On April 13, 1873, about 165 armed White men overran the courthouse in Colfax, then as now the seat of Grant Parish. They were bent on routing roughly 150 Black men, also armed, but much more lightly, who had occupied the site in defense of local officials whom their votes had helped elect in 1872. In the ensuing day of slaughter, the mob killed somewhere between 62 and 81 Black men, most after they had surrendered. Three White men lost their lives — two of whom were probably shot by their own comrades in the chaos.  Read more   

My family went from being enslaved to serving in the White House. You can’t erase our history. By John B. King Jr. / Wash Post

I live in Montgomery County, Md. — about 25 miles from where my great-grandfather was enslaved. The cabin where he and his family lived still stands on the property owned by direct-line descendants of the family who “owned” my family. In just three generations, my family went from being enslaved in that cabin to serving in the Cabinet of the nation’s first Black president. The United States is full of stories like this, reminders that the inhumane institution of slavery existed not that long ago with echoes that persist today — and also that progress is possible. Read more 

The Importance of Teaching Dred Scott.  By Jeannie Suk Gersen / The New Yorker

The Dred Scott case addressed the moral and political struggle that in those years was threatening to tear the United States apart: whether slavery would be allowed in newly acquired territories. The man who enslaved Scott had taken him from Missouri, a slave state, to live in Illinois, a free state, and in a federal territory (present-day Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and parts of the Dakotas) where Congress had made slavery unlawful. Scott claimed that his stay in Illinois and the territory had emancipated him; a common-law doctrine said slaveholders who intentionally transported enslaved people into free jurisdictions freed them, regardless of intent.  Read more 

Charlottesville city council votes to remove Confederate statues that were the focus of violent 2017 ‘Unite the Right’ rally. By Gregory S. Schneider / Wash Post

The Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously Monday night to remove statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from public parks, starting the clock ticking on the demise of monuments at the heart of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in 2017. The council had decided to remove the statues shortly after the white-supremacist rally in which one counterprotester was hit by a car and killed. But a small group of citizens filed suit and a judge granted an injunction that prevented the statues from coming down. Read more 

Mickey Guyton Takes On the Overwhelming Whiteness of Country Music.


Five things to know about James Madison’s star pitcher Odicci Alexander. By Jerry Bembry / The Undefeated

In limiting Oklahoma to a season-low three runs — after it led the nation with 11.1 runs per game this season — James Madison pitcher Odicci Alexander lived up to every bit of the hype she garnered during a redshirt senior season in which she led the mid-major to its first Women’s College World Series (WCWS) appearance. The Dukes are now 2-0 in the WCWS after Alexander pitched her team to a second upset Friday night against Oklahoma State, 2-1. She pitched the entire game, giving up only three hits. Read more 

Simone Biles makes history with 7th US gymnastics title. B

U.S. gymnastics champion Simone Biles made history again Sunday night. Biles, 24, won her seventh national women’s all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in Fort Worth, Texas, with a score of 119.650. The win gives her the most wins by any American woman in history. Read more  

Why Allen Iverson and Vince Carter’s epic playoff duel held a mirror to society. By Justin Tinsley / The Undefeated

Sometimes sports give the illusion that what we’re watching is superhuman because the exploits on the court feel separate from the realities of life. That’s what it felt like 20 years ago when Allen Iverson and Vince Carter headlined the greatest non-Finals series in NBA history. Yet, it wasn’t until years later that I came to understand how the series crystallized not only changes in the game, but how society at large discussed the value and purpose of Black male athletes. Read more 

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