Race Inquiry Digest (Jun 24) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Have We Entered America’s Third Era of Reconstruction? By Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharris / The Nation

The racist and violent backlash to Reconstruction was more than a reaction to the enfranchisement of former slaves and the empowerment of propertyless whites. It was a response to the threat a multiracial democracy from below posed to the still all-too-powerful remnants of the Southern Slavocracy and the barons of Wall Street some thousand miles to the north. Today, the stirrings of a similarly transformative era are palpable and the growing antidemocratic counterattack suggests that the modern equivalent of those Slavocrats and the billionaire barons of this moment feel it, too. Read more 

Political / Social

Liberal states expand voting access, creating ‘stark’ partisan divide in voting rights. By Kerry Eleveld / Daily Kos 

Even as Republican-led states erect barriers to the ballot box across the country, more than half of U.S. states have locked in laws since the 2020 election that make voting more accessible, according to The Washington Post Many of these laws are the result of steps lawmakers took last year to make voting safer and easier amid the pandemic, efforts that ultimately yielded record voter participation. The laws typically streamlined registering to vote while also expanding access to early voting and voting by mail. But other laws enabled people with past felony convictions to vote and offered more options to voters with disabilities. Read more 

Related: Senate Republicans block landmark voting rights bill in significant setback for Democrats. By Maanvi Sigh and Jonna Walters / The Guardian  

Related: The Jim Crow Republicans aren’t just attacking voting — they want to rewrite history.  By Chauncey Devega / Salon

Related: Our Fathers Fought GOP Voter Suppression 70 Years Ago. By Paul Chavez and Fred Ross Jr. / The Nation

Why Joe Manchin’s voting rights proposal works for Stacey Abrams. By Keith Boykin / CNN

First, her support of the Manchin plan positions Abrams as a consensus builder and makes it harder for Republicans to paint her as a dangerous radical, which some will likely try to do anyway. Abrams ran as a progressive in 2018, and it doesn’t appear that’s likely to change in 2022. But her willingness to compromise could still inoculate her from inevitable GOP attacks. Second, the Manchin compromise, although woefully inadequate for the national voting rights crisis, may be just enough to meet the statewide challenge in Georgia. And even though it would set a new federal mandate for voter ID, the plan would expand the definition of identification to include utility bills and other forms of ID that are more accessible than state driver’s licenses or official state IDs. Read more 

Related: Democrats signal a shift toward accepting voter ID laws. By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Mike DeBonis / Wash Post

‘The Tea Party to the 10th power’: Trumpworld bets big on critical race theory.  By Theodoric Meyer, Maggie Severns and Meridith McGraw / Politico

Former top aides to President Donald Trump have begun an aggressive push to combat the teaching of critical race theory and capitalize on the issue politically, confident that a backlash will vault them back into power. These officials, including Trump’s former campaign chief and two former budget advisers, have poured money and organizational muscle into the fight. They’ve aided activists who are pushing back against the concept that racism has been systemic to American society and institutions after centuries of slavery and Jim Crow. And some of them have begun working with members of Congress to bar the military from holding diversity trainings and to withhold federal funds from schools and colleges that promote anything that can be packaged as critical race theory. Read more 

Related: Conservative Media Is Amplifying the Critical Race Theory Opposition. By Caleb Ecarma / Vanity Fair 

Related: Top general fires back at ‘offensive’ criticism of military being ‘woke.’ By Connor O’Brien / Politico

Related: DeSantis: Defund Universities That Promote ‘Indoctrination.’ By Josh Kovensky / TPM

Our New Postracial Myth.  By Ibram X Kendi / The Atlantic

Some don’t want the American people to stop and see. They don’t want our kids to learn about the racism causing racial inequity. They are trying to ban teaching it in schools; Florida passed the latest such ban last Thursday. They can’t acknowledge racial inequity because to acknowledge it is to discuss why it exists and persists. To discuss why racial inequity exists and persists is to point to the libraries of nonpartisan studies documenting widespread racism in the United States. Read more 

Related: I’m a conservative who believes systemic racism is real.  By Michael Gerson / Wash Post

Related: How equity and inclusion coaches are helping schools become anti-racist. By Melissa Hart / Wash Post

Taking on racism and crime should be the same fight. By E.J. Dionne Jr. / Wash Post

We must fight racism and fight crime at the same time. We must reform policing and make policing more effective. And we must battle any demagoguery that casts demands for justice as concessions to criminality. Harmonizing these goals is morally urgent as the movement for change ignited by police killings of Black Americans runs headlong into public alarm at a wave of murders across the nation. It’s important in politics, too. A review of why Democrats lost seats in the House last year by Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, found that Republican attacks against the “defund the police” slogan proved more potent than Democrats had anticipated. Read more 

American apartheid and the wealth gap: How white supremacy drives inequality.  By Chauncey Devega / Salon

American society is structured around racism, white supremacy and protecting the unearned advantages of white people as a group. That is not hyperbole or an accusation. It is a fact. It’s true that these power relationships across the color line are not fixed, static or permanent in terms of how they manifest across American society. But it is equally true that American society from the founding to the present has been structured to maintain the dominance and power of those individuals and groups who are considered “white” over and above those who are considered “nonwhite”.  To claim that American society is not structured around protecting white advantage (or “white privilege”) is to engage in willful ignorance, at best, or to employ intellectual dishonesty on behalf of white supremacy, at worst. Denying the existence and persistence of racism has almost become religious dogma for many white people (and for some Black and brown people as well). Such denial is an act of faith, not based on facts and empirical reality. Read more 

Related: Are reparations the answer to America’s historic racial wealth gap? By CBS News 

Related: Is Education No Longer the ‘Great Equalizer’? By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT

Related: Most major metropolitan areas have become more racially segregated, study shows. By Nicquel Terry Ellis / CNN

Ex-police captain Eric Adams takes early lead in New York mayoral primary.  By Adam Gabbatt / The Guardian

Brooklyn’s borough president, Eric Adams, appeared to take a fragile lead in New York’s Democratic mayoral primary on Tuesday, but it could be weeks before it becomes clear who is on top in the first citywide election to use ranked choice voting. As ballot counting began, more Democrats ranked Adams as their first choice in the race than any other candidate. However, it was not clear whether that lead would hold with up to 207,500 absentee ballots yet to be counted. Voters’ full rankings of the candidates have yet to be taken into account and it could be July before a winner emerges. Read more 

Related: In N.Y.C., Black Is Back. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

Socialist India Walton Will Be Buffalo’s Next Mayor. By Akela Lacy / The Intercept

BEFORE GIVING HER victory speech on Tuesday night, India Walton raised a fist in the air. “I hate to say I told you so,” she said. Walton is a nurse, an organizer, and a nonprofit executive who received more than 50 percent of Tuesday’s vote in the Democratic primary for mayor of Buffalo, New York. She’s also a socialist, an abolitionist, and a member of the Buffalo chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Her opponent, Byron Brown, was an incumbent seeking a record fifth term backed by the local Democratic machine, the Buffalo News Editorial Board, the New York State Nurses Association, and the Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union. He has not yet conceded. There is no Republican candidate in the race. Read more 

Kamala Harris to make first trip to the border as vice president this week. By Jasmine Wright, Priscilla Alvarez and Jeremy Diamond / CNN 

Vice President Kamala Harris will head to the US-Mexico border on Friday, her office confirmed, following weeks of criticism that she hasn’t visited the area despite being tasked by the Biden administration with trying to stem the flow of migration from Central America. The upcoming trip to El Paso, Texas, comes as Harris has been dogged by Republican criticism of her absence at the border after being asked by President Joe Biden to lead diplomatic relations in the Northern Triangle in an attempt to alleviate the tide of migration over the southern border. Read more 

Linda Thomas-Greenfield talks about Black Lives Matter and her experiences as a career diplomat. By Jonathan Capeheart / Cape Up Wash Post Podcast

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations discusses the importance of addressing uncomfortable truths and her experience in the Rwandan genocide. Listen here

Nikole Hannah-Jones will not join UNC faculty without tenure. By Char Adams / NBC News

The award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones will not join the faculty at University of North Carolina “without the protection and security of tenure,” her legal team said this week in a letter to school officials following weeks of controversy over the board of trustees’ failure to grant her tenure. Shown is Nikole Hannah-Jones who spoke at commencement at Morehouse College on May 16 in Atlanta. Read more 

US to investigate ‘unspoken traumas’ of Native American boarding schools. By Guardian staff and agencies / The Guardian

The US government will investigate the troubled legacy of Native American boarding schools and work to “uncover the truth about the loss of human life and the lasting consequences” of the institutions, which over the decades forced hundreds of thousands of children from their families and communities. The US interior secretary, Deb Haaland, has directed the department to prepare a report detailing available historical records relating to the federal boarding school programs, with an emphasis on cemeteries or potential burial sites. Read more 

As Covid-19 deaths hit record lows, those dying are younger and more disproportionately Black than before. By Deidre Phillips / CNN

Covid-19 deaths have fallen dramatically across the United States — average daily deaths are less than a tenth of what they were at the peak of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University — but nearly 300 people are still dying of Covid-19 each day in the US. Some groups remain more at risk than others. People who died of Covid-19 in May were younger and more disproportionately Black than those who had died of Covid-19 throughout the pandemic, a CNN analysis of CDC data shows. And Americans who are still dying of Covid-19 are “overwhelmingly” unvaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday. Read more 

Related:  Black people are more likely to die in traffic accidents. Covid made it worse. By Char Adams / NBC News 

Historical / Cultural

Georgetown was once a slave port. Norton wants a memorial for Africans who arrived there in chains. By Meagan Flynn / Wash Post

At the Georgetown Waterfront, where wealthy boaters parked their yachts, Andrena Crockett started seeing slave ships instead. The Georgetown University graduate went looking for the stains of slavery all over the neighborhood, finding them obscured by the diners and shoppers who throng the waterfront park and main drag of the famous D.C. neighborhood. At the building that once housed the old Georgetown Market and Dean & DeLuca, discolored bricks marked what Crockett thought could be the only vestige of a tunnel that led into the market’s basement, where she learned enslaved people awaited auction. Read more

Born in Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories in Photos. By Lydia Chebbine / U.S. News

Betty Simmons recalled the day she was freed. Mary Crane spoke about the slave trade. Andrew Goodman recounted the painful torture he witnessed. These are some of the more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery from the “Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project,” which was created between 1936 and 1938. The autobiographical accounts of people across 17 states, paired with 500 black-and-white photographs, provides a unique portrait of U.S. history available online through the Library of Congress. Read more 

Confederate Imagery On Stone Mountain Is Changing, But Not Fast Enough For Some. By Emil Moffatt / NPR

As calls to remove Confederate monuments have increased in recent years across the U.S., the debate over what to do with the biggest one is getting louder. Monthly board meetings of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association are held in a spacious resort hotel ballroom nestled inside the Georgia park. As the social justice movement has gained steam, so have the crowds at the meetings. Tension is bubbling up between those who want the 90-foot tall Confederate carving removed and those who think it should stay. The carving at the center of the debate is the largest Confederate monument in the world. It depicts Confederate Gens. Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee and president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, on horseback. Read more 

77 years later, still seeking appropriate honor for a heroic Black medic on D-Day. By Thomas S. James Jr / Wash Post

In 1944, Waverly B. Woodson Jr., a 21-year-old African American medic, landed on the beaches of Normandy wearing the same patch that is on my uniform today. He valiantly saved dozens, possibly hundreds, of troops on Omaha Beach despite his own severe injuries. Woodson was denied the nation’s highest award for valor — almost certainly because of the color of his skin. Of the more than 400 Medals of Honor awarded during World War II, none went to the more than 1 million Black troops who served, and history has largely forgotten the nearly 2,000 Black soldiers who were on the beach that day. A bipartisan congressional bill has been introduced to posthumously award this brave soldier the medal. If it passes, he would join seven other Black WWII troops who were upgraded in 1997. Read more 

Juneteenth commemorated by all-Black flight crew. By Neelam Bohra and Justin Lear / CNN 

Water cannons blasted over United Airlines flight 1258 as it left its gate, celebrating that every person on the flight crew, from pilots to gate agents and ramp staff, was Black. The all-Black crew flew from Houston to Chicago on Saturday morning, commemorating Juneteenth, now a federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery. Before takeoff, a celebration of the crew included a speech from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a saxophone performance from one of the pilots, Sal Crocker, and water cannons on the tarmac. Turner said the flight crew was a symbol for how far the Black community has come over the past 150 years. Read more 

In the Heights exemplified the ugly colorism I’ve experienced in Latinx communities. By Jasmine Haywood / Vox

The film adaptation of In the Heights, based on the popular stage musical by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, was billed as a much-needed celebration of the diverse Latinx neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City. Yet when the movie opened, criticism immediately ensued on social media. For a film set in a heavily Afro-Latinx neighborhood, darker-skinned people were relegated to dancers, hair salon workers, and other background roles. And among the leading roles, there was a glaring lack of Afro-Latinx representation. Read more


Erik Moses, NASCAR’s first Black track president, on the importance of representation.  By Andrew Maraniss / The Undefeated

Erik Moses loves a good challenge. The former CEO of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and president of the DC Defenders of the XFL was named president of the Nashville Superspeedway in August 2020, becoming the first Black track president in NASCAR history. The track in Lebanon, Tennessee, will host its first NASCAR Cup event in 37 years during Father’s Day weekend. Read more 

Black NBA coaches hope playoff success presents more opportunities. By Marc J. Spears / The Undefeated

The NBA’s version of the Final Four arrived with Black head coaches leading three of the four teams for the first time in the conference finals. The Phoenix Suns’ Monty Williams, LA Clippers’ Tyronn Lue and Atlanta Hawks’ interim Nate McMillan are all Black coaches leading their teams into the conference finals. Lue sees the historic moment as a reminder that Black coaches are capable of leading successful teams. “Three out of the four coaches left standing are going to be Black coaches. That says a lot about how we can coach. Hopefully, we can stop getting looked down upon so we can build a way for all the young Black head coaches,” Lue said. Read more 

The Supreme Court Sides With NCAA Athletes In A Narrow Ruling. By Nina Totenberg / NPR

At issue in the case were NCAA rules that limit educational benefits for college players as part of their scholarships. The athletes maintained that the NCAA has, in effect, been operating a system that is a classic restraint of competition — in short, a system that violates the nation’s antitrust laws. The NCAA countered that its rules are largely exempt from antitrust laws because they are aimed at preserving amateurism in college sports and because the rules “widen choices for consumers by distinguishing college sports from professional sports.” On Monday, however, a unanimous court ruled that the NCAA rules are not reasonably necessary to distinguish between college and professional sports. Read more 

Trae Young pushed and shushed his way to NBA stardom. He’s not done yet. By Michael Lee / Wash Post

Trae Young treats nearly every one of his spectacular plays as a chance to celebrate or irritate. He hits a clutch shot and rubs his shoulders as if he’s too cold. Responds to hard fouls by doing push-ups. Silences Madison Square Garden by bowing or pressing his index finger to his lips. Hits soul-snatching threes that make notoriously obnoxious Philadelphia fans appear to question their allegiance. “He’s fearless,” Coach Nate McMillan said Sunday after the Atlanta Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference finals with the franchise’s first Game 7 road win. Read more 

Kobe Bryant’s widow, other families, settle wrongful death suit related to fatal helicopter crash. By Alexandra Meeks and Jon Passantino / CNN

Vanessa Bryant and other families have settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the company that owned and operated the helicopter that crashed last year in Southern California, killing her husband, NBA legend Kobe Bryant, their daughter and seven others. Attorneys for Bryant filed a joint notice of settlement Tuesday in US District Court in Los Angeles. “Plaintiffs and Defendants jointly report that they have agreed to settle their claims,” the filing states. Terms of the settlement, which are confidential, require court approval. Read more 

Site Information

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.

About Race Inquiry and Race Inquiry DigestThe Digest is published on Mondays and Thursdays. 

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