Race Inquiry Digest (May 16) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Joe Biden Is Going Back to the Clinton Playbook. The Democratic frontrunner’s campaign is pitched to white folks who have fled the party. Sound familiar? By Bob Moser / The New Republic

“For his whole career,” as New York’s Rebecca Traister wrote not long ago, “Biden’s role has been to comfort the lost, prized, and most fondly imagined Democratic voter, the one who’s like him: that guy in the diner, that guy in Ohio, that guy who’s white and so put off by the changed terms of gendered and racial power in this country that decades ago he fled for the party that was working to roll back the social advancements that had robbed him of his easy hold on power. That guy who believed that the system worked best when it worked for him.” All of which makes Biden, she added, “the Democrats’ answer to the hunger to ‘make America great again,’ dressed up in liberal clothes.” Read more

“I Now Have the Perspective of Both Sides”: 18 Voting Officials Take Civil Rights Tour. By Jessica Huseman / ProPublica

A trip that included a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, drew a number of officials from states with controversial voting requirements. The exuberant greeter, who said her name was Wanda, hugged each of the secretaries of state as they walked through the doors of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. “Thank you for being here,” she said as each crossed into the small, orange-brick building. Read more

‘He’s white, male and gay’: Buttigieg hits obstacles with black voters. By Daniel Strauss and Elena Schneider / Politico

Joe Darby, a prominent pastor in Charleston, S.C., was discussing the Democratic presidential field with fellow clergymen when Pete Buttigieg’s name came up. A fellow pastor quickly interjected. “Isn’t that the dude who kissed his husband on TV?” the person asked skeptically, according to Darby. The exchange highlights a major obstacle for Buttigieg, who’s vaulted into the top tier of Democratic candidates without gaining traction among African Americans, according to recent surveys of national and South Carolina Democrats. Read more

The Complicity of Ben Carson. By Jamil Smith / Rolling Stone

The Housing secretary has a new rule that may force tens of thousands of children into homelessness, all because President Trump tells us we should hate their undocumented relatives. Read more

Alabama’s Abortion Bill Is Great News For White Supremacists. By Andy Campbell / HuffPost

Many white supremacists subscribe to the bogus conspiracy theory that white people are going extinct due to immigration and falling birthrates among white women. To them, the strict abortion bill that passed the Alabama Senate on Tuesday ― which aims to challenge a woman’s constitutional right to choose to end a pregnancy ― represents a huge victory in their effort to propagate the “white race.” Read more

Tackle white supremacy as terrorism, experts say. By Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner / CNN

White supremacist murders in the US “more than doubled in 2017,” with far-right extremist groups and white supremacists “responsible for 59% of all extremist-related fatalities in the US in 2017,” ADL’s audit shows. They were responsible for 20% of these fatalities the year before. Read more

Threat of violence against Jews in US at alarming levels. By Sara Sidner / CNN Video

CNN’s Sara Sidner takes a look at the rise in anti-Semitic violent attacks in the US after two deadly synagogue attacks within months. Watch here

A Visit to the Unfathomable Past of Auschwitz. By Ralph Blumenthal / NYT

Mass murder takes central planning. Killing as a communal business, made widely lucrative by the Third Reich, permeates the first traveling exhibition about the largest German death camp, Auschwitz, whose yawning gatehouse, with its converging rail tracks, has become emblematic of the Holocaust. Read more

How 1800s racism birthed Chinatown, Japantown and other ethnic enclaves. By Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil / NBC News

Yong Chen, professor of history at the University of California, Irvine, said that about 200 Chinatowns were burned down or otherwise destroyed by the 1880s. The anti-Chinese movement also affected urban Chinatowns. “In San Francisco, for example, there were Chinese settlements and stores scattered throughout the city,” Tchen said. “But as anti-Chinese racism began to increase, these settlements became increasingly segregated and concentrated. It became an enclave.” Read more

How the War on Drugs Kept Black Men Out of College. By Tamara Gilkes Borr / The Atlantic

There was a time when black men’s college enrollment was gaining ground, as compared to white men’s. From 1980 to 1985, college enrollment among black men ages 18 to 24 grew slightly faster than it did for their white peers. However, the upward trend started to reverse for black men after the passage of the Anti–Drug Abuse Act of 1986. Read more

Ava DuVernay’s new Netflix series sheds light on the horrors of wrongful incarceration. By Janelle Richards, Michelle Cho and Kim Cornett / NBC News

The “Central Park Five” stories are profiled in the upcoming Netflix series “When They See Us,” a four-episode drama which was directed and co-written by Ava DuVernay. The limited series chronicles the journeys of the five men over the course of 25 years through their trials to their release from prison. Read more

The Intersection of Race and Blood. By Rose George / NYT

I knew the history of race and blood was an ugly one. America’s earliest blood bank, founded in 1937 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, noted race on donor forms and other blood banks followed suit. During World War II, African-American blood was labeled N for Negro (and some centers refused African-American donors outright) and given only to African-American soldiers. Read more

Slavery and the Family Tree. By Whitney Stewart / AAIHS 

How do you make a family tree when you may not know your family history? Beyond the very real physical and emotional toll on enslaved individuals, slavery’s violence also lay in its determination to erase or prevent the creation of family histories. As Frederick Douglass asserted in his 1855 autobiography, “Genealogical trees do not flourish among slaves.” In other words, the constraints of slavery made assembling and representing family history, and one’s identity in relation to it, a near impossible task. Read more

Documentary on the South’s first racially integrated Little League game in Orlando is on Netflix. By Annabelle Sikes / Orlando Weekly

Long Time Coming: A 1955 Baseball Story, made by local film company Strong Films, follows the surviving members of the all-black Pensacola Jaycees. The film tells the story of the game played by the Pensacola Jaycees against the all-white Orlando Kiwanis team at Lake Lorna Doone about 63 years ago. Previously, white teams would not compete with African American Teams. Read more

HBO’s ‘What’s My Name’ expertly tells story of Muhammad Ali as fighter, thinker. By Richard Roeper / Chicago Sun Times

Through the use of archival footage and interviews (no sports figure of the 1960s and 1970s appeared on more talk shows and was filmed more frequently than Ali), the narrator of Antoine Fuqua’s brilliant two-part HBO documentary “What’s My Name” is Muhammad Ali himself. He’s our tour guide through his life and times. Read more

Before Jack Johnson or Jackie Robinson, there was Major Taylor. By Michael Kranish / The Undefeated

On the afternoon of June 17, 1898, thousands of spectators filled an arena to watch a contest between two men, billed as “Black Vs. White.” The black man was Marshall “Major” Taylor. In the previous 18 months, he had become the nation’s most famous and successful African-American athlete. He was a champion cyclist, specializing in sprints around oval tracks, in velodromes specially built for what was then the nation’s most popular sport. Read more

The Partly Obscured Brilliance of Stephen Curry. By Vinson Cunningham / The New Yorker

With his teammate Kevin Durant temporarily out of the picture, Stephen Curry may shine the way he did three years ago. Read more

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