Race Inquiry Digest (Mar 18) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Inside the Biden Administration’s Battle Against Extremism. By Vera Bergengruen and W.J. Hennigan / Time

It’s a daunting task for Biden’s team: confront one of the greatest domestic threats since the Civil War without provoking a political crisis or infringing on Americans’ civil liberties. Officials are armed with little data, less money, few programs to build on and no proven solutions. Federal law enforcement is limited by freedom-of-speech protections for U.S. citizens. Local police departments are often ill-equipped or unwilling to determine whether perpetrators are part of a larger far-right organization. But Biden’s 100-day scramble to understand the scope of the problem suggests how far it has spread. Read more 

Related: MAGA, the Proud Boys and the police: Biden’s DOJ must drain Trump’s swamp. By Heather Digby Parton / Salon  

Related: After the insurrection, America’s far-right groups get more extreme. By Matthew Valasik  and Shannon Reid / The Conversation

Related: White-Supremacist Propaganda Spiked Out of Control in 2020, Says ADL. By Jamie Ross / The Daily Beast

Related: Deplatformed White Supremacists & Neo-Nazis Thriving in Shadowy Corners of Internet. By Bill Berkwowitz / Daily Kos

Political / Social

GOP dreams of a return to Jim Crow — and not just through racist voting laws. By Chauncey Devega / Salon

It is the year 2021. But Republicans and the right-wing movement are trying to pull the American people back to the past. Their ultimate destination? It could be Jim Crow white supremacist America of the 1950s. It could be the end of Reconstruction in 1876 – or even a time before that. In that sense, the Republican Party and its allies and followers are time-breakers, not content with harmless nostalgia and happy-pill lies about the past. Their goal? To radically remake society in their own grotesque vision where white, right-wing “Christians” — men, by definition — rule America unopposed and for all time. Such a world would be a utopia for them and a dystopia for everyone else. Read more 

Related: Jim Crow Rises: Desperate Georgia Republicans Scurry to Pass Voting Restrictions Law. By George Chidi / The Intercept

Related: Stacey Abrams Slams GOP Push To Restrict Voting As ‘Jim Crow In A Suit And Tie.’ By Josephine Harvey / HuffPost

Ron Johnson’s racism is breathtaking. By Eugene Robinson / Wash Post

Johnson made the comments on conservative talk-radio host Joe Pagliarulo’s nationally syndicated show. “Now, had the tables been turned — Joe, this will get me in trouble — had the tables been turned and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned.” But Johnson described the White mob this way: “I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.” Read more 

Related: Ron Johnson’s Delusional Riot Claims Aren’t Being ‘Silenced.’ By Jonathan Chait / NY Mag

We are not leaving’: Sewanee’s first Black leader helps propel a racial reckoning at university. By Nick Anderson / Wash Post

Reuben E. Brigety II gazed at the smashed tequila bottle found outside the front door of his family’s campus home and seethed. The first Black vice chancellor and president of the University of the South knew on that fall morning that the perpetrators he calls “phantoms” had struck again. He resolved then, after suffering indignities in silence, to call out these unknown intimidators in public. So he delivered, in quiet, stern and measured tones, an explosive speech here on Feb. 7 at the All Saints’ Chapel that launched a wave of introspection for the school known as Sewanee. Read more 

Related: The Difference Between First-Degree Racism and Third-Degree Racism. Only when people align on what racist behavior looks like will we be able to take practical steps to make those behaviors costly. By John Rice / The Atlantic

Anti-Racism Groups Lead Calls For Urgent Action Against Anti-Asian Attacks Following Atlanta Shootings. By Robert Hart / Forbes

In the wake of three deadly shootings Tuesday that killed eight people, including six Asian people, anti-racism groups and prominent Asian-American figures are renewing demands for urgent action against growing hate and violence targeting Asian people and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic, which many blame on careless, racially loaded language used by politicians to describe Covid-19. Read more

Related: There Have Been Nearly 4,000 Incidents Of Anti-Asian Racism In The Last Year. By Marina Fang / HuffPost

Related: How racism and white supremacy fueled a Black-Asian divide in America. By Jerusalem Demsas and Rachel Ramirez / Vox 

Related: The surge of attacks against Asian Americans requires attention and swift solutions. The Editorial Board / Wash Post

Sen. Raphael Warnock’s historic Georgia win showed what’s possible. Now we look to 2022. By Laura Clawson / Daily Kos

Sen. Raphael Warnock’s win in January’s Georgia runoff election, in particular, seems to be inspiring a surge of Black Senate candidates to run, Politico reports, from Pennsylvania to Ohio to North Carolina to Missouri. In some of those states, Democratic primaries might involve multiple Black candidates—in Pennsylvania, for instance, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta has announced a run, while state Sen. Sharif Street is launching an exploratory committee. Read more

Republicans launch yet another racist smear campaign against a female nominee.  by Jennifer Rubin / Wash Post

Kristen Clarke, President Biden’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, finds herself in the middle of a tiresome rerun of an all-too-familiar Republican smear campaign against women of color. It goes like this: Once a nominee is announced, Republicans search for some statement from her to twist and blow up out of proportion. They then throw around terms such as “radical” or “racist” to slander her. (This routine comes from a party that is committed to anti-voting legislation and that does not blink when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) says white supremacist rioters did not scare him because they are patriots, but Black Lives Matter demonstrators do.) Read more

The State Department has a systemic diversity problem. By Ryan Heath / Politico

Antony Blinken’s State Department is racing to address a 232-year-old problem: the overwhelming and entrenched whiteness of the nation’s oldest government agency. The department’s 23,000 or so American staff may be the global face of America, but they don’t look like it. And the gap is growing, not shrinking, by many metrics. Though 40 percent of the American population is from a racial or ethnic minority, “only 13 percent of the Department’s Senior Executive Service are people of color,” said Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a career diplomat. Read more 

Related: Diversity matters, but actions and values just as much. By Colbert I. King / Wash Post

Related: George Floyd: Most companies still don’t have a Black board member. By Jessica Gutnn / USA Today 

Related: Women and minorities are scarce in top paid ranks of elite universities. By Kim Churches and Andrea Silbert / USA Today 

Deb Haaland confirmed, becomes first Native American in cabinet. By Ledyard King / USA Today

The Senate has confirmed Deb Haaland to head the Interior Department, making her the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary. The vote was 51-40. All Democrats and a handful of Republicans voted to confirm her. “Rep. Haaland’s confirmation represents a gigantic step forward in creating a government that represents the full richness and diversity of this country, because Native Americans were, for far too long, neglected at the Cabinet level and in so many other places,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor before the vote Monday evening. Read more

A golden ticket: Efforts to diversify Boston’s elite high schools spur hope and outrage. By Melissa Bailey / NBC News 

Emily Chan is in the sixth grade, the crucial year to get into one of Boston’s three exam schools, which serve grades seven to 12. In the past, the pressure of the entrance test has been intense, and Emily wasn’t planning to apply. But for the first time in nearly 60 years, students won’t have to sweat through an exam to land a spot. Instead, Emily was invited to apply based on her pre-pandemic academic record. So she threw her name in for all three schools. Read more 

Is Columbia University Hosting Graduation Events Based on Race, Identity? By Evan Palmer / Newsweek

Pestigious Columbia University in New York has attracted attention after it was reported to be holding six additional graduation ceremonies for its students based on race, gender, sexuality and income. A page on the university’s website details virtual ceremonies for students who wish to participate in a Native Graduation, a Lavender Graduation for the LGBTQIA+ community, an Asian Graduation, a ceremony for those from first-generation and/or low-income communities, a Latinx Graduation and a Black Graduation. Read more 

Black law students are thriving at places like Georgetown, but there still aren’t enough of them. By Tahir Duckett / Wash Post 

In 2013,  I was the only Black student in my section of more than 70 students. Both my undergraduate GPA and my LSAT score were well below Georgetown Law’s median. I almost certainly benefited from affirmative action in my admission. Critics of affirmative action would have labeled me “unqualified” and unlikely to thrive at Georgetown — and left my first-year section completely devoid of Black students. But I did thrive, graduating magna cum laude, clerking for a federal judge, and — much more important — building a successful public interest career. And I’m not alone. Every Black student I knew at Georgetown navigated the challenges of studying in a predominantly White institution and, regardless of their final GPA, went on to do important work. Read more 

Historical / Cultural

What Alexander Hamilton’s deep connections to slavery reveal about the need for reparations today. By Nicole S. Maskell / The Conversation

Alexander Hamilton has received a resurgence of interest in recent years on the back of the smash Broadway musical bearing his name. But alongside tales of his role in the Revolutionary War and in forging the early United States, the spotlight has also fallen on a less savory aspect of his life: his apparent complicity in the institution of slavery. Despite being a founding member of the New York Manumission Society, which sought gradual emancipation of New York’s enslaved population, Hamilton benefited from slavery – both personally and by association. Read more 

On the Mythologizing of United States History. By Matthew Teutsch / AAIHS

The desire to present “an accurate account” of the past and to educate “patriotic citizens” is nothing new. It is a means of controlling the historical narrative and suppressing progress. Writers and activists such as David Walker, Frederick Douglass, and William Apess, among others, confronted the mythologizing of United States history during the early decades of the nineteenth century. Read more

Catholic Order Pledges $100 Million to Atone for Slave Labor and Sales. By Rachel L. Swarns / NYT

In one of the largest efforts by an institution to atone for slavery, a prominent order of Catholic priests has vowed to raise $100 million to benefit the descendants of the enslaved people it once owned and to promote racial reconciliation initiatives across the United States. The move by the leaders of the Jesuit conference of priests represents the largest effort by the Roman Catholic Church to make amends for the buying, selling and enslavement of Black people, church officials and historians said. Read more 

Boston Institutions To Launch The Emancipator, Antiracist News Platform. By Rachel Treisman / NPR

The summer of 2020 ignited a wave of nationwide protests and renewed calls for racial justice across the U.S. Now, a new media platform aims to be at the forefront of that push. The Boston Globe and Boston University Center for Antiracist Research are partnering to launch The Emancipator, a resurrection of an early 19th-century abolitionist newspaper that its contemporary founders hope will reframe the national conversation in an effort to “hasten racial justice.” Shown is Author, professor and anti-racism activist Ibram X. Kendi who is one of the co-founders of The Emancipator. Read more  

Beyoncé Breaks Record For Most Grammy Wins By A Female Artist. By Cole Delbyck / HuffPost

With 28 wins, Beyoncé now stands as the most decorated female artist in the history of the Grammys. Still managing to cause all sorts of conversation without even performing at the 63rd annual ceremony Sunday night, the music superstar led the pack heading into the evening with nine nods, extending her reign as the most nominated female artist of all time. Read more  

Related: Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B bring racy ‘WAP’ to Grammys 2021. By Charles Trepany / USA Today 

Related: Grammys 2021 performer Mickey Guyton makes history — without country radio’s help. By Jada Watson / NBC News 

Steven Yeun Is The First Asian American Nominated For Best Actor Oscar. By Marina Fang / HuffPost

Steven Yeun made history Monday by becoming the first Asian American actor to be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar. Yeun’s performance in “Minari,” director Lee Isaac Chung’s semiautobiographical drama about a Korean American family cobbling together a life in rural Arkansas in the 1980s, has earned him widespread critical acclaim. It marks long overdue recognition for both Yeun, who has had a long career in TV and film, and for Asian American actors, who have been historically underrepresented in film and at the Oscars. Read more 


Jeremy Lin Talks N.B.A. Comeback and Anti-Asian Racism. By Marc Stein / NYT

Lin spent 43 days and 42 nights as a member of the Santa Cruz Warriors, playing in the N.B.A. G League bubble in a bid to make it back to the best league in the world for the first time since the 2018-19 season. After a season of gaudy statistics and rock-star treatment with the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association, Lin bypassed millions of dollars in China to play for $35,000 in the N.B.A.’s developmental league and give scouts ample opportunity to study him. Lin spoke about his N.B.A. comeback bid and his activism in a wide-ranging phone conversation on Monday. Read more

“I signed my life to rich white guys’: athletes on the racial dynamics of college sports. By  Nathan Kalman-Lamb, Derek Silva, and Johanna Mellis / The Guardian

Based on the NCAA’s own figures, at the predominantly white institutions (PWIs) that comprise the Power Five, as of the 2019-2020 season, Black students comprise only 5.7% of the population. Yet, in the Power Five, Black athletes make up 55.9% of men’s basketball players, 55.7% of men’s football, and 48.1% of women’s basketball. At some schools, the numbers are particularly startling. Texas A&M, the second-highest athletic revenue earning institution in US college sports, has only 3.1% Black students in the general student body. Yet, its college football team is 75% Black, and its women’s basketball team 92.9%. It is hard to deny from these numbers that Black athletes are admitted into institutions that usually ignore them specifically to have their labor exploited for the universities’ gain. Read more 

After Owning the Boston Celtics for Years, LeBron James Becomes Part-Owner of Boston Red Sox. By Jay Connor / The Root

Since entering the NBA in 2003 as an 18-year-old phenom, LeBron James has completely transformed what it means to be a professional athlete. Aside from being dominant on the court, he frequently uses his platform to combat social injustice and has evolved into a savvy businessman whose interests extend to music, the restaurant industry, education, lucrative endorsements, and film and television, just to name a few. And now King James is expanding his portfolio to include sports franchise ownership, because what do you give the man who already has everything else? Read more 

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