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

Featured – America, This Is Your Chance. We must get it right this time or risk losing our democracy forever. By Michelle Alexander / NYT

Our democracy hangs in the balance. This is not an overstatement. As protests, riots, and police violence roiled the nation last week, the president vowed to send the military to quell persistent rebellions and looting, whether governors wanted a military occupation or not. John Allen, a retired four-star Marine general, wrote that we may be witnessing the “beginning of the end of the American experiment” because of President Trump’s catastrophic failures. Trump’s leadership has been disastrous. But it would be a mistake to place the blame on him alone. Read more 

Related: Allies, Don’t Fail Us Again. Many white people have been moved by the current movement, but how will they respond when true equality threatens their privilege? By Charles M. Blow / NYT 

Related: An Open Letter to My Fellow White Christians. Our sins are grievous, but we are not yet beyond redemption. By Margaret Renkl / NYT

The politics of racial resentment come back to haunt the GOP. By Jennifer Rubin / Wash Post

The latest CNN poll shows Biden up by 14 points with Trump’s approval sinking to 38 percent. Only 31 percent approve of his handling of race relations; 63 percent do not. Two-thirds of those polled say the criminal-justice system treats blacks worse than whites, and a stunning 84 percent find the peaceful protests justified. By a 60 to 36 percent margin Americans oppose use of the military to subdue protests. Trump leads among men by a scant 2 points and trails among women by 27 points. Biden leads by 3 points among non-college graduates and by 28 points among white college graduates. Read more 

Related: Trump May Compare Himself to Nixon in 1968, but He Really Resembles Wallace. By Peter Baker / Wash Post

Related: Trump just revealed a huge weakness. It may prove fatal. By Greg Sargent / Wash Post

Related: How the Boogaloo Movement Wants to Exploit Anti-Rascist Protests for a Race War. By Medhi Hasan / The Intercept

How Much Is America Changing? In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, there has been a leftward turn. Will it stick? By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT

America is at a racial and political crossroads. Protests over the past two weeks in response to an interrelated set of issues and events — the killing of George Floyd, police brutality, the Covid pandemic, a nation in lockdown, joblessness, a devastated economy and a presidential election — give rise to a key question. Will the Democratic coalition of minorities and liberal whites emerge empowered? Current polling reveals a shift to the left in the public’s position on key race-related issues. But there are also some potential warning signs for Democrats. Read more 

Related: What A 1968 Report Tells Us About The Persistence Of Racial Inequality. By Greg Rosalsky / NPR

George Floyd’s legacy illustrates the burden borne by families of slain black Americans. By Janell Ross / NBC News

If there was one refrain repeated in many forms at the final home-going service for George Floyd in Houston on Tuesday, it was the idea that Floyd’s life was given meaning, global meaning, in the moment of his death. “Can any good thing come out of this? We have lost a loved one, and the pain is unbearable,” said the Rev. William Lawson, a black minister and civil rights activist, speaking to Floyd’s family seated near the front of The Fountain of Life church. Read more

Calls to reform, defund, dismantle and abolish the police, explained. By Ben Kesslen / NBC News

As some politicians call for reforms in the wake of police brutality protests, residents of some cities are demanding departments be stripped of their budgets or dissolved altogether. Amid the protests, different — but sometimes overlapping — proposals for how to address police violence have emerged. Read more 

Related: Momentum Grows as More U.S. Cities Debate Defunding the Police. By Trevor Bach / USA News

Related: The Only Solution Is to Defund the Police. The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor prove what we already knew—police “reform” has failed. By Alex S. Vitale / The Nation

Related: Democrats introduce “transformative” police reform bill: “Black Americans want to stop being killed.”  By Igor Derysh / Salon

Georgia Betrays Its Voters Again. By Charles Bethea / The New Yorker

In November of 2018, Alyssa Thys, a twenty-nine-year-old communications manager in Atlanta, waited in line for more than two hours to vote for Stacey Abrams, at her precinct in a working-class, predominantly black neighborhood. Thys, to whom I spoke at the time, called the experience “complete chaos and disorganization.” She returned to the same place, Pittman Park Recreation Center, on Tuesday, to vote in the primaries. (In the most high-profile race, seven Democrats, including Jon Ossoff, are running for the opportunity to unseat Georgia’s senior Republican senator, David Perdue, in November.) “Like, wow,” Thys, who is white, told me after another frustrating morning. “Nothing has been learned.” Read more

Related: Georgia election ‘catastrophe’ in largely minority areas sparks investigation. By Kevin Collier, Cyrus Farivar, Dareh Gregorian and Ben Popken / NBC News

Related: Abrams Slams GA Election Fiasco: ‘A Disaster That Was Eminently Preventable.’ By Cristina Cabrera / Talkinpointsmemo

A Black Vice President for Biden? More Democrats Are Making the Case. By Katie Glueck / NYT

Amid a national reckoning over racism and police brutality, the subject of selecting and African-American running mate has taken on more urgency at every level of the Democratic Party. Longtime lawmakers and young liberal activists, state party officials and Biden loyalists have been increasingly vocal about their view that in a moment of extraordinary national upheaval over race, Mr. Biden must give deeper consideration to placing a black woman on the ticket. Read more

Related: 2 long shots rise in Biden VP search. By Natasha Korecki and Marc Caputo / Politico

Chicago Tackles COVID-19 Disparities In Hard Hit Black And Latino Neighborhoods. By Cheryl Corley / NPR

When COVID-19 first hit the United States, it spread through communities of color at alarmingly disproportionate rates. This was especially true in Chicago. More than 70% of the city’s first coronavirus deaths were among African Americans. Those numbers have declined, but black residents continue to die at a rate two to three times higher than the city’s white residents. Researchers believe underlying health conditions that are prevalent in Latinx and black communities, such as hypertension and diabetes, make residents there more vulnerable to the disease. Read more 

Related: Who Is Most Likely to Die From the Coronavirus? By Yaryna Serkez / NYT

The Stark Racial Inequity of Personal Finances in America. Economic equality is crucial to racial equality. But at nearly every stage of their lives, black Americans have less than whites. By Ron Lieber and Tara Siegel Bernard / NYT

We cannot quantify the injustice of a white policeman holding his knee on the neck of a handcuffed, dying black man. And mere numbers cannot fully express the power imbalance involved in the deaths of George Floyd and too many others like him. But we can measure the economic inequity that serves as their backdrop. Dollars are like air — crucial to vitality. And when it comes to wealth, black Americans have less at nearly every juncture of life, from birth to death. Read more 

The Army Is Finally Taking the Names of Traitors Off of Its Bases. By Ed Kilgore / New York Mag

If the protests over George Floyd’s killing don’t produce anything else of note, they are already pushing across the line a movement that’s been in the making for 155 years: the final subjugation of the Confederate States of America by the Union forces that fought them in the Civil War via the elimination of the names and symbols of the traitorous racist rebellion from U.S. military installations. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy is now “open” to renaming the service’s ten bases and facilities that are named after Confederate leaders, an Army spokesperson told Politico, in a reversal of the service’s previous position. Read more 

Related: Trump Vows to Stop Army Bases Being Renamed—But Is Powerless to Do So. By Madeline Charbonneau / Daily Beast

Senate confirms general to lead Air Force, clearing way for first black service chief in U.S. history. By Dan Lamothe / Wash Post

The Senate confirmed Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown Jr. as the next chief of staff of the Air Force on Tuesday, setting the stage for the veteran fighter pilot to become the first black service chief in U.S. military history. Brown, the commander of Pacific Air Forces for the last two years, will replace Gen. David L. Goldfein, who has led the service since July 2016. Brown is expected to lead the service as it prepares for the rise of China as an adversary, incorporates artificial technology into operations and sheds a portion of its mission as the Pentagon’s new Space Force is established as its own service branch. Read more 

Progressive Charles Booker Unveils First Big Ad Buy In Race To Oust Mitch McConnell. By Tara Golshan / HuffPost

Somewhat suddenly, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath’s bid to be chosen the Democrats’ candidate against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is no longer a sure bet. Fourteen days before the state’s Democratic Senate primary, another candidate, Charles Booker, Kentucky’s youngest Black state lawmaker, is having a moment. Read more 

Smithsonian gets $25 million grant for program on race. By Peggy McGlone / Wash Post

The Smithsonian Institution will explore how Americans understand, experience and confront race and racism in a new program to be funded with a $25 million grant from Bank of America. As protests continue across the country over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the new program, “Race, Community and Our Shared Future,” seeks to help Americans explore their history and build a more inclusive future, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III said in an interview Monday afternoon. Read more 

Spike Lee on his role as an artist in tumultuous times: ‘I’m built for this.’ By Ann Hornaday / Wash Post

When Spike Lee phoned in for an interview late last week, New York was still in the throes of demonstrations against police brutality, a lockdown brought on by covid-19 and the civic unrest and economic crisis that have ensued. But Lee, who was calling from his home on the Upper East Side, was in a surprisingly exuberant mood. “Wednesday was the first day nobody died from corona,” he said, citing data regarding confirmed deaths published by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. What’s more, he had taken a bike ride to the mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion, a few days earlier that considerably raised his spirits. Read more 

How the country music industry is responding to George Floyd’s death — and facing its own painful truths. By Emily Yahr / Wash Post

Country music fans know that, for a lot of artists, speaking up does not come naturally. Nashville singers are frequently encouraged to stay quiet about topics deemed controversial, such as gun control or politics, so they don’t alienate fans or risk backlash. (See: Dixie Chicks, March 2003.) But the killing of George Floyd, who died May 25 in Minneapolis police custody after an officer knelt on his neck, sparked an unusually large public outpouring from country singers, labels and organizations. Shown is Thomas Rhett who wrote an in-depth post about being the father of a black daughter. Read more 

Seahawks’ Carlos Hyde on ex-49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick: ‘NFL can start by signing (him)’ By Chris Bumbaca / USA Today

For three seasons (2014-16), Carlos Hyde lined up next to or behind Colin Kaepernick in the San Francisco 49ers backfield. Hyde, 29, is now with the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year deal. But the running back believes his former quarterback and teammate belongs back in the NFL. When asked Monday about what the league can do to prove a commitment to making , Hyde said a team signing Kaepernick would be the ideal starting place for the moment. Read more

Haitian American – Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka speaks out for Black Lives Matter, faces backlash. By Simon Denyer / Wash Post 

Haitian American -Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is under online attack in her birthplace after speaking out about racial injustice and encouraging people to join a Black Lives Matter march. Hundreds of people turned out here in the Japanese capital and in the western city of Osaka over the weekend to express support for the movement and to protest racial injustice in the United States — as well as racism in Japan. Many people hoped that the rise of Osaka — a two-time Grand Slam winner and former world No. 1 who was born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father — would encourage Japanese society to be more accepting of people known as “hafu,” or half-Japanese. Read more 

Bonnie Pointer, Co-Founder Of Pointer Sisters, Dead At 69. By Andrew Dalton / HuffPost

Bonnie Pointer, who in 1969 convinced three of her church-singing siblings to form the Pointer Sisters, which would become one of the biggest acts of the next two decades, died Monday. The Grammy winner died of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles, publicist Roger Neal said. She was 69. Read more 

Visit our home page for more articles, book/podcast and video favorites. 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.

Use the buttons below to share the Digest in an email, or post to your Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter accounts.