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


The Capitol Riots and the Eternal Fantasy of a Racially Virtuous America. By Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw / The New Republic

In the weeks since the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a lie-emboldened mob of Trump-branded insurrectionists, many political leaders and mainstream pundits across the political spectrum have assiduously sought to displace white supremacy’s starring role in the attack.

A more complete expression of the facts of American history urgently underlines the question of why we’re unable to grasp in full how the founding racial dispensation surrounds and defines virtually every issue in our public life. There’s clearly a deep and ongoing cognitive incapacity to recognize the lethal handiwork of white supremacy. And this repression of national trauma blockades any real reckoning with the racial disparities of the Covid pandemic’s death numbers, the color of our nation’s inmates, or the demographic makeup of our most vulnerable citizens. Read more 

Related: Post-Trump, the GOP Continues to be the Party of (White) Grievance. By David Corn / Mother Jones 

Related: Will appealing to White grievance be the ticket for the GOP in 2022? Ron Johnson may be the test case. By Eugene Scott / Wash Post

Political / Social

Democrats Have a “Once-in-a-Century Moment” to Protect Voting Rights. Ari Berman / Mother Jones

The Senate will hold its first hearing Wednesday on the For the People Act, the most significant democracy reform bill since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “This is the once-in-a-century moment to protect people’s right to vote,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chair of the Senate Rules Committee, which is holding the hearing, told Mother Jones. Read more 

Related: Republican voter restrictions are a race against time. By Ronald Brownstein / CNN 

Related: Mitch McConnell is wrong. Here’s the filibuster’s ‘racial history.’ By Sarah Binder / Wash Post

Nearly half of Americans think Black people face a lot of discrimination, survey says. By By Leah Asmelash / CNN 

Most Americans say that people of color in the United States face at least some discrimination, according to a survey published Thursday by the Pew Research Center. A new survey shows that 80% of Americans believe there is “some” or “a lot” of discrimination against Black people. Seventy-six percent say the same about Hispanic people, while 70% hold the same view about Asian people. Read more 

Related: New York City mayor launches commission to address systemic racism.

‘You’re Big, You’re Black…You’re Intimidating’: Black F-22 Pilot Leaves Air Force After 11-Year ‘Uphill Battle’ Against Racism. By Niara Savage / Atlantic Black Star

A Black F-22 pilot told CBS news correspondent David Martin in a “60 Minutes” interview that a continued “uphill battle” against racism contributed to his decision to leave the Air Force after an 11-year-career. The broadcast interview aired on Sunday, March 21. “The way you stand, the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you speak. In what is supposed to be an objective field, [they] are subjectively rating you to others in the sort of unofficial grapevine of evaluation,” Walker explained. He believes he’s been treated differently than white pilots. Read more 

How Our Tax Code Is Rigged Against Black Americans. By Michael Mechanic / Mother Jones

In her new book, The Whiteness of Wealth, Dorothy A. Brown digs deep into how tax policies related to most aspects of American life—housing, marriage, work, education, etc—elevate white prosperity at the expense, wittingly or otherwise, of Black wealth and opportunity. Naturally, I had questions. Read more 

Democrats, Republicans clash over D.C. statehood effort. By Rebecca Shabad / NBC News

Democrats argued Monday that Washingtonians are treated as second-class citizens, performing the responsibilities of citizens but not receiving representation in Congress in return. Republicans, by contrast, voiced their staunch opposition to the effort, claiming that the legislation violates the Constitution. Read more

Trump, My Dad and the Rightward Shift of Latino Men. By Eric Garcia / Wash Post Mag

In 2016, my dad, Charlie Garcia — a third-generation Mexican American and lifelong Republican — supported Sen. Ted Cruz in the GOP presidential nomination contest. Recently, he recalled that, of the 17 candidates who ran for the Republican nomination in 2016, “Trump was my 17th.” Toward the end of the election, I remember him saying that he would “hold my nose and vote for Trump.” But by this past November, something had changed. As far as I can tell, my dad voted while breathing through his nose as clearly as somebody could when wearing a face mask. Not only did he enthusiastically support Donald Trump, he gave money to the Republican National Committee. Read more 

Black Immigrants Matter. By Jack Herrera / The Nation

In immigration, as in policing, every arm of the US incarceration and deportation machine brings down a hefty amount of its weight onto the backs of Black people. But for now, the struggle continues. According to Jozef, on February 1, the first day of Black History Month, ICE forced 102 Haitians onto a plane. Parents held children on their laps; many of the passengers were less than 2 years old. The flight took off from San Antonio, winged its way over the Gulf, and landed in Port-au-Prince. The next flight would take off just days later.  Read more 

Oakland will give low-income families of color $500 per month, mayor announces.  By Maria Morava and Scottie Andrew / CNN

Low-income families of color in Oakland, California, could receive some extra financial assistance over the next year and a half. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced this week that the city will launch a guaranteed income project to give hundreds of Black and Indigenous families and people of color $500 per month for 18 months. The project’s payments will be unconditional, and recipients may spend the money however they choose. Read more 

Data Reveals Significant Racial Disparities in School Reopening. By Lauren Camera / U.S. News

The coronovirus pandemic exposed long-standing inequities baked into the country’s public education system, and now, a year after schools shuttered for more than 50 million children, parents finally have their first glimpse at the depths of the racial disparities that stand to haunt the U.S. for years to come. As of January, more than half of all Black, Hispanic and Asian fourth-graders were learning in a fully remote environment. By comparison, a quarter of white students were learning fully remotely, and instead nearly half of white students were learning in-person, full-time. Read more 

Meisha Porter is the first Black woman chancellor of NYC schools – here are the challenges she will face. By Stanley S. Litow / The Conversation

Meisha Porter on March 15 became the first Black woman selected as chancellor of the New York City public school system. Here, Stanley S. Litow, former deputy chancellor of the city’s school system, explains the significance of this development. He also addresses the challenges that Porter faces for what will likely be a limited tenure at the helm of the nation’s largest public school system as government leaders seek to fully reopen the nation’s schools. Read more 

Latinos, youth of color make up very few of paid congressional interns. By Cynthia Silva / NBC News

Paid congressional internships are a prestigious and powerful stepping stone for college students, but a recent report found they are far from representative of the nation’s diversity. White students made up 76 percent of paid congressional interns, though they make up about half (52 percent) of the national undergraduate student population, according to a new report from the non-profit Pay Our Interns. Latino and Black students, on the other hand, accounted for 7.9 percent and 6.7 percent of paid interns, though they represent 20 percent and 15 percent of the undergraduate student population, respectively. Read more 

Kim Janey Becomes First Woman And Person Of Color To Be Boston Mayor. By Steve LeBlanc / AP and HuffPost

Boston has a new mayor in Kim Janey, who became the city’s first female and first person of color to take the office Monday. Marty Walsh resigned Monday evening to become President Joe Biden’s labor secretary. The Boston City Council President Janey, who is Black, stepped into the role of acting mayor and is scheduled to have a ceremonial swearing in Wednesday. Walsh, the latest in a long line of largely Irish-American Boston mayors stretching back the better part of a century — with one notable Italian-American exception — said he welcomed the change. Read more 

Historical / Cultural

Virginia must preserve places of African American valor. By Alfonzo Lopez and Lamont Bagby / Wash Post

With integral roles in America’s founding and the Civil War, Virginia counts more historically significant battlefields than any other state. Some of these battles have been household names for generations. Others — despite their significance and compelling human stories — have languished too long in obscurity. For example, those driving along the New Market Road or biking on the Virginia Capital Trail just east of Interstate 295 outside Richmond could easily not realize they are passing through the New Market Heights Battlefield, one of the most significant sites in African American military history. Read more 

“We are complicit”: Only some churches are offering real reparations and repentance for slavery. By Ashlie D. Stevens / Salon

Reparations for slavery — contemporary financial restitution for the descendants of enslaved people — is a highly divisive topic in America. According to a 2020 Associated Press poll, 74% of Black respondents favored reparation payments, while 85% of white respondents opposed them. However, a number of Christian denominations, and even individual churches, are committing to reparations by way of financial investments and long-term programs that benefit Black Americans. Read more 

Uncle Nearest Whiskey: A Black-Owned Brand With A Bold Plan. By Garin Pirnia / HuffPost

In 2017, entrepreneur and author Fawn Weaver — who did not have a background in the spirits industry — invested $1 million of her own money to found Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey. She has since raised $60 million, and Uncle Nearest is now the bestselling African American-owned and founded spirit brand of all time. Read more 


‘Sesame Street’ adds 2 Black Muppets to talk clearly about race and racism. By Kerry Breen / Today

“Sesame Street” is introducing two new Muppets, a Black father and son, as part of an effort to help children understand racial literacy. The two Muppets, Wes and Elijah, were introduced in a short video created by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind the long-running show. In the video, Elmo wants to know why Wes’s skin is brown, so his father Elijah explains the concept of melanin and how “the color of our skin is an important part of who we are,” according to a press release from Sesame Workshop. Read more 

HBO’s ‘Tina’ details abusive marriage to Ike Turner, ‘heroic’ survival. By Patrick Ryan / USA Today

“Tina,” premiering Saturday on HBO and HBO Max (8 EST/PST), charts her rise to fame, as well as her triumphant liberation from the abusive Ike, whom she divorced in 1978 after 16 years of marriage. The documentary also poignantly reminds viewers why Tina, nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, deserves to be an inducted as a solo artist, having already been welcomed into the Hall in 1991 as a member of Ike and Tina Turner. Read more

Cynthia Erivo as Aretha Franklin Is About Introducing the World to Singer’s Journey of Becoming the Queen of Soul. By Angelina Velasquez / Atlanta Black Star

Actress Cynthia Erivo says respect and humanity are at the fulcrum of her craft as she opens up about her latest role, Aretha Franklin. Erivo portrays the iconic vocalist in Nat Geo’s “Genius: Aretha Franklin,” a limited series that journeys through the late singer’s adolescent years to Franklin finding her voice, style, and ultimately herself through her music and life’s trials. In eight episodes, two airing each night beginning March 21, audiences get a glimpse into a child prodigy singing gospel under the loose guidance of her father Rev. C.L. Franklin, portrayed by actor Courtney B. Vance, to an adult finding solace in using her voice for activism. Following the series’ four-night run on Nat Geo, “Genius: Aretha” will be available for streaming on Hulu beginning March 25. Read more 


Is Baseball Really Ready to Reckon With Its Segregated Past?

Major League Baseball now wants to welcome Negro-leagues statistics into its record books — but the numbers are just a small part of what needs to be remembered. “For me, the statistical aspect of this is almost secondary. It’s the recognition and the atonement that comes along with the acknowledgment of the Negro Leagues as just what it was: a major league,” Kendrick told me. “I, for one, don’t ever want the lore and legend to go away,” he continued. “These stories about Josh Gibson should be viewed as larger than life. Babe Ruth was in many eyes Paul Bunyan. Well, for Black folks, Josh Gibson was John Henry. And I don’t want to lose that.” Read more 

Appreciating the Legend of Elgin Baylor. By Dave Zirin / The Nation

A true icon left us this week. Basketball legend Elgin Baylor passed away at age 86, and perhaps the living connection to the origins of the modern game has been cruelly severed. Baylor changed the way the game was played, on and off the court. Read more 

Related: Elgin Baylor, Acrobatic Hall of Famer in N.B.A., Dies at 86. By Richard Goldstein / NYT

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