Race Inquiry Digest (June 17) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – ‘When They See Us’ exposes a legacy of hatred aimed at black men. By Ken Makin / The Undefeated

From the Scottsboro Boys to the Central Park Five, much of white America has always despised black boys. “When do we ever get to be boys?” It is a question that Ava DuVernay’s masterpiece When They See Us asked in a gripping preview to a four-part series based on the true story of the Central Park Five. It is also a question that rings true through American history. Society’s sordid perception of black boys and men won’t allow for that growth to happen gracefully. And so, we’ve got to fight like hell and through hell for our kids. Read more

After Oprah’s Central Park Five interview, you realize that a $41 million settlement will never be enough. By Ernest Owens / The Grio

On Wednesday night, however, the men were granted the one opportunity they have always wanted — the chance to be interviewed by the Queen of all Media herself, Oprah Winfrey, for a special aired on her OWN that unexpectedly gave a different viewpoint than what I initially expected to see. Also available on Netflix. Read more

House To Hold Reparations Hearing With Testimony From Ta-Nehisi Coates. By Errin Haines Whack / AP

The topic of reparations for slavery is headed to Capitol Hill for its first hearing in more than a decade with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and actor Danny Glover set to testify before a House panel. Read more

Maryland has created a truth commission on lynchings – can it deliver? By Kelebogile Zvobogo / The Conversation

Between 1850 and 1950, thousands of African American men, women and children were victims of lynchings: public torture and killings carried out by white mobs. Lynchings were used to terrorize and control black people, notably in the South following the end of slavery. More than 40 lynichings have been documented in Maryland. Yet despite the prevalence and seriousness of the practice, there has been an “astonishing absence of any effort to acknowledge, discuss, or address lynching,” reports the Equal Justice Initiative, the leading organization conducting research on lynchings. Until now. Read more

Report: Hundreds of Police Officers Belong to Racist Facebook Groups. By Michael Harriot / The Root

Investigative journalists have discovered hundreds of law enforcement officers around the country who are active in members-only Facebook groups that are based on racism, hate and … well, it would be nice to add a third thing here, but that’s about it. Read more

Racist Laws Took the Vote Away From Prisoners. After Serving Time, One Man Is Fighting to Give It Back to Them. By Samantha Michaels / Mother Jones

Many countries allow people in prisons to vote, but in the United States, only Maine and Vermont give all of their incarcerated people that right. Knight, who was released in 2007, wants to change that, starting with his hometown, the District of Columbia.  Last week, based on recommendations from Knight’s commission, DC council member Robert White Jr. introduced a bill that would allow people from the district to participate in elections even while they’re serving time. Read more

More and more workplace discrimination cases are being closed before they’re even investigated. By Maryam Jameel / Vox

It’s a classic Washington catch-22: For years, Congress has chastised the agency that investigates workplace discrimination for its unwieldy backlog of unresolved cases while giving it little to no extra money to address the problem. In turn, officials at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have found a workaround: Close more cases without investigating them. Read more

New foreclosure crisis hitting after shady lenders targeted black seniors for reverse mortgages. By Laura Clawson / Daily Kos

The financial industry isn’t done victimizing homeowners, leading to a new mortgage crisis hitting struggling senior citizens. USA Today reports on how lenders have targeted majority black neighborhoods for shady reverse mortgages, leaving elderly homeowners fighting to keep their homes, property values diminished, and adult children without the modest homes they expected to inherit. Read more

Black Bodies, Green Spaces. By Tiya Miles / NYT

More than 30 years into the movement for environmental justice, and more than a decade into a global, multiracial campaign led by groups like 350.org to raise awareness about climate change and push governments into action, many Americans still do not associate black people with environmental engagement. Read more

Elizabeth Warren’s New Plan to Close the Racial Wealth Gap. By Jamil Smith / Rolling Stone

As part of her new “economic patriotism” agenda, Warren proposed the creation of a Small Business Equity Fund, a new $7 billion initiative to help level the playing field for entrepreneurs of color. Read more

Hip-Hop’s Next Billionaires: Richest Rappers 2019. By Zack O’Malley Greenburg / Forbes 

Back in 2007, Jay-Z made a bold statement in song about both his lyrical prowess and his future financial fortunes: “I’m already the G.O.A.T.–next stop is the billie.” Sure enough, Forbes declared him hip-hop’s first billionaire earlier this month. The news caught the attention of observers around the world—not only due to the breadth of Jay-Z’s financial achievement, but because of what it means for others looking to follow in his footsteps. Read more

The real reason Trump won’t put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill. By Dorothy Brown / CNN

President Donald Trump wants NASA to go to Mars, but his Treasury secretary can’t figure out how to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill? Read more

A former slave who was the first black Catholic priest takes a step toward sainthood. By Daniel Burke / CNN

No Catholic seminary in the United States would take him, so Augustine Tolton went to Rome, where he thought he might become a missionary to Africa. Instead, the Vatican sent Tolton to a different mission field, the United States, where many believe he was the first African-American priest ordained in the Catholic Church. This week, the Vatican said Tolton had taken another historic step, toward becoming the first Catholic African-American saint.  Read more

Reflections on African American Intellectual History. By Pero G Dagbovie / AAIHS  

In the mid-1970s when the study of African American history was gaining unprecedented interest in the mainstream U.S. historical profession and when some practitioners of U.S. intellectual history were seeking to revitalize their enterprise as epitomized by the publication of the anthology New Directions in American Intellectual History (1979), slavery historian John W. Blassingame suggested to readers of Reviews in American History that African American intellectual history—which he did not specifically define—was a “neglected field.” Read more

23% of young black women now identify as bisexual. By Tristan Bridges and Mignon R. Moore / The Conversation

Since 1972, social scientists have studied the General Social Survey to chart the complexities of social change in the United States. The survey, which is conducted every couple years, asks respondents their attitudes on topics ranging from race relations to drug use. In 2008, the survey started including a question on sexual identity. As sociologists who study sexuality, we’ve noticed how more and more women are reporting that they’re bisexual. But in the most recent survey, one subset stood out: 23% of black women in the 18 to 34 age group identified as bisexual – a proportion that’s nearly three times higher than it was a decade ago. What forces might be fueling this shift? And what can we learn from it? Read more

This Southern murder trial inspired Harper Lee’s ‘lost’ book. ‘Furious Hours’ reexamines it. By Stephen Phillips / LA Times

Tom Radney leaves his arraignment hearing with Robert and Vera Burns. In “Furious Hours,” Casey Cep picks up where Harper Lee left off with a full accounting of a shocking true-crime case involving Robert Burns. Read more

‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’ is an elegy to home and family, destroyed by gentrification. By Syreeta McFadden / NBC News

America in its rawest form is a story about native people’s displacement and dislocation, from the moment European settlers arrived centuries ago. Nowadays, in cities such as Oakland and San Francisco — collectively known to many as the Bay Area — economic forces have led to dislocation and displacement for longtime African American residents at an alarming pitch. This reality serves as the backdrop for the new film “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” released in theaters nationwide Friday. Read more

‘Shaft’ Made Richard Roundtree a Star. But Store Clerks Still Tailed Him. By Reggie Ugwu / NYT

Returning to the role he originated nearly 50 years ago, the 76-year-old actor considers its disorienting impact on his life. Read more

Kevin Durant and the dehumanization of black athletes. By Martenzie Johnson / The Undefeated

As Kevin Durant sat on the floor of Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on Monday night gripping his right ankle, segments of the crowd began to audibly cheer and jeer at the fallen Golden State Warriors forward. Television cameras caught at least two Raptors fans near courtside waving goodbye to the two-time Finals MVP. They, like most everyone else, were already aware this would be the last any of us would see of Durant for at least the rest of the postseason. It was a cause for celebration, it appeared. Read more  

Which shooting star will join Lakers with Anthony Davis: Kyrie, Kemba or who? By Dan Woike / LA Times

Getting Davis wasn’t the big challenge — his representation did everything in its power to get him to the Lakers. The Lakers had to give up a lot, but Davis is the star. The challenge for general manager Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office will be what comes next. That’s where the Lakers can cement themselves as the favorite in 2020. Read more

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