Race Inquiry Digest (June 20) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Four years ago this week: Trump’s escalator ride and the Charleston shooting. It’s not a coincidence. By Heather Digby Parton / Salon

It was four years ago (plus one day) when Donald Trump descended his golden elevator at Trump Tower and announced to the world that he was running for president to make America great again. It was a memorable day, although I don’t think anyone believed at the time. But there was something much darker happening that I didn’t see coming. On the evening after Trump’s announcement a 21-year-old white supremacist named Dylann Roof went into a prayer meeting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and murdered nine African American church members, injuring three more. He confessed that he was hoping to start a race war. Read more

It’s Juneteenth, and a White Nationalist Is President. By Barrett Holmes Pitner / Daily Beast

With the South rising again on the watch of President Donald Trump, who plans to turn the Fourth of July this year from a celebration of America to a celebration of himself, it’s time for Americans who champion equality to begin celebrating Juneteenth. June 19, 1865 — “Juneteenth” being a combination of June and nineteenth — should remind all Americans of the long and complex fight required to end slavery here. Read more

Jesse Jackson on Reparations: ‘We Are Due a Different Kind of Recognition.’ By Adam Harris / The Atlantic

Thirty years ago, the reverend made reparations for slavery core to his presidential campaigns. Now he’s watching as the House grapples with a proposal to study their feasibility. Read more

Why the racial wealth gap persists, more than 150 years after emancipation. By Calvin Schermerhorn / Wash Post

Juneteenth — Emancipation Day 1865 — was supposed to start a new era of black wealth creation. After 12 generations of being subject to slavery’s institutionalized theft, 4 million African Americans were now free to earn incomes and degrees, hold property, weather hard times and pass down wealth to the next generation. They would surely scramble up the economic ladder, if not in one generation then in a few. Eight generations later, the racial wealth gap is both yawning and growing. The typical black family has just 1/10th the wealth of the typical white one. In 1863, black Americans owned one-half of 1 percent of the national wealth. Today it’s just over 1.5 percent for roughly the same percentage of the overall population. Read more  

Mitch McConnell says America made up for slavery by electing Barack Obama. By Luke Barnes / ThinkProgress

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) scoffed at the idea of reparations during his weekly press conference Tuesday, saying that slavery was part of America’s distant past, and pointing as evidence to the election of former President Barack Obama — someone McConnell did his absolute utmost to thwart. Also see, Ta-Nehisi Coates dismantles Mitch McConnell’s excuse for opposing reparations on live TV.   Read more

Netflix’s The Edge of Democracy charts the slippery slope from democracy to authoritarian rule. By Alissa Wilkinson / Vox

The premise: Taking a sweeping but personal view of contemporary Brazilian politics, Petra Costa shows what it looks like for a country to finally embrace democracy after years of military dictatorship — and then squander its progress in a move back toward authoritarianism. If you live in America and think that doesn’t sound very relevant to your own life — think again. The story of Brazil’s slide toward takeover by the far right has echoes both in history and in our own time, and resonates with movements in both Europe and the US. Read more

Trump Is Changing the Shape of the Democratic Party, Too. By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT

Early on, after the votes were counted, the dominant political narrative about the 2016 election was straightforward. Donald Trump mobilized racially resentful whites to build an army of angry supporters determined to constrain minorities and halt the flood tide of immigrants from south of the border. While Trump did turn out the universe of voters who score high on measures of racial resentment and what political scientists call “anti-black affect,” he also generated a boomerang effect. Read more

New documentary on Charleston church shooting explores idea of forgiveness. By Jamie Aten / Wash Post

Monday marks four years since nine members of a black church were shot to death by a white supremacist in Charleston, S.C., setting off a national debate about gun violence. A new documentary about the massacre does not explicitly address gun violence or gun policy, but the powerful stories told by the survivors allow viewers to consider the implications and draw their own conclusions. Read more

No African American has won statewide office in Mississippi in 129 years – here’s why. John A. Tures and Seth Golden / The Conversation

Mississippi is home to the highest percentage of African Americans of any state in the country. And yet, Mississippi hasn’t elected an African American candidate to statewide office since 1890. That’s 129 years. John Stuart Mill wrote about “the tyranny of the majority” – the idea that an electoral majority will use the political structure to impose its will on the minority population – in his essay “On Liberty” in 1859. Read more

Supreme Court hands Democrats a win in Virginia racial gerrymander case. By Ariane de Vogue, Ryan Nobles and Devan Cole / CNN

In a victory for Democrats in Virginia, the Supreme Court held Monday that the Republican-led Virginia House of Delegates did not have the legal right to challenge a lower court opinion that struck several district maps they had drawn as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. This means court-ordered maps that favored Democrats will continue to be used. Read more

The Nonwhite Working Class. By Henry Grabar / Slate

“If there was something to do in this town, this town would prosper, because there’s a lot of loyal people here, a lot of good people,” said Tre Lewis, who lives with his family on Youngstown’s south side. Read more

Adidas Sells Diversity. Black Employees Say It Doesn’t Practice It. By Julie Creswell and Kevin Draper / NYT

In the United States, Adidas has built much of its name — and sales — through its association with black superstars. In the 1980s, the seminal hip-hop group Run-DMC gave the company’s sneakers and apparel cultural cachet through its song “My Adidas.” Popular black athletes and entertainers like James Harden, Candace. In April, Adidas announced a new partnership with Beyoncé Knowles. Fewer than 4.5 percent of the workers at the company’s North American headquarters identify as black. Members of that small group say they feel ignored and sometimes discriminated against. Read more 

California Governor Apologizes For State’s History Of Violence Against Native Americans. By Dominique Mosbergen / HuffPost

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) apologized Tuesday for the state’s history of violence and “genocide” against Native Americans, saying he hoped the belated gesture could help “tell the truth about our past and begin to heal deep wounds.” Newsom issued an executive order that contained an official apology to Native Americans on behalf of the citizens of California. Read more

Who Is Clarence Avant? True Story of Music’s Most Influential Exec Revealed in Netflix’s ‘The Black Godfather.’ By Janice Williams / Newsweek

There is a man who is perhaps one of the most powerful and renowned people within the entertainment industry and yet he may also be the most elusive, too. He’s someone everyone in the business knows and respects. If you expect to have a career as an entertainer and you don’t know his name, you certainly will eventually. In fact, everyone will become familiar with one of the industry’s most prominent figures upon the release of the Netflix documentary, The Black Godfather, which details the life and rise of the great mover and shaker, Clarence Avant. Read more

Twenty-five years ago, O.J. Simpson showed white Americans just how conditional their comfort with black athletes was. By Phillip Lamarr Cunningham / Wash Post

O.J. Simpson is back in the news, joining Twitter and promising in a video that he had “a little getting even to do,” 25 years to the week of his most infamous moment. But he’s far from the household name he was on the night of June 17, 1994. Read more

The Los Angeles County DA Has Put 22 People on Death Row. Not One of Them Was White. By Nathalie Baptiste / Mother Jones

In Los Angeles County, only people of color have been sentenced to death in the last seven years. In a new report titled “The California Death Penalty Is Discriminatory, Unfair, and Officially Suspended: So Why Does Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey Still Seek to Use It?” the American Civil Liberties Union details how Lacey, the black Democratic district attorney who has the power to pursue death sentences, is the force behind the numbers. Read more

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