Race Inquiry Digest (May 30) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Colorism in Cuba: How Did Seeking ‘Strong Men of Color’ Ever Become Acceptable in Cuba? By Alejandro De La Fuente / NYT

A recent report found that while 58 percent of white Cubans have incomes under $3,000, among Afro-Cubans that proportion is as much as 95 percent. Afro-Cubans, moreover, receive a very limited portion of the family remittances from the Cuban-American community in South Florida, which is mostly white. There are two conflicting national visions within Cuba, but only one vision is white and has access to dollars. To confront these new challenges a vibrant Afro-Cuban movement, born out of various civic, community and cultural organizations, has emerged that demands effective inclusion policies. Read more

The Statue of Liberty was created to celebrate freed slaves, not immigrants, its new museum recounts. By Gillian Brockell / Wash Post

An early model, circa 1870, shows Lady Liberty with her right arm in the position we are familiar with, raised and illuminating the world with a torch. But in her left hand she holds broken shackles, an homage to the end of slavery. In the final model, Lady Liberty holds a tablet inscribed with the Roman numerals for July 4, 1776. The broken chains are still there though, beneath her feet, “but they’re not all that visible,” Berenson said. Read more

Racial Terror and the Second Repeal of Reconstruction. By Kimberle Williams Crenshaw / The New Republic

This April, PBS aired a groundbreaking documentary series on the fate of Reconstruction—and therefore of Black America. Featuring more than 40 scholars (myself among them) and Black descendants of key figures in Reconstruction’s history, this copiously researched chronicle also doubles as a powerful and chilling window on to our own age of violent and resurgent white nationalism. Read more

The Indian Law That Helps Build Walls. By Maggie Blackhawk / NYT

We have not yet fully dismantled the legal infrastructure that permitted abuse of Native Americans. On reservations starting in the mid-19th century, the United States established military-run detention camps where the executive branch held limitless power. Read more

Why Clarence Thomas wrote over a dozen pages on eugenics. By Ariane de Vogue / CNN

Justice Clarence Thomas took an unusual foray in an abortion related court opinion on Tuesday, warning his colleagues of the potential that abortion could become a “tool of eugenic manipulation.” Diving deep into the controversial movement from the early 20th century, aimed at improving society by encouraging the reproduction of certain traits, Thomas also charged that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was once “particularly open about the fact that birth control could be used” for eugenic purposes. Read more

For Many Navajos, Getting Hooked Up To The Power Grid Can Be Life-Changing. By Laurel Morales / NPR

About 10% of Navajos on the reservation live without electricity. And as much as 40% of them have to haul their water and use outhouses. A poll of rural Americans conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that more than a quarter of Native Americans have experienced problems with electricity, the Internet and with the safety of their drinking water. Read more

The Case to Impeach Trump for Bigotry. By Osita Nwanevu / The New Yorker

On May 16th, Representative Al Green, as he has many times since 2017, stood on the House floor to implore his colleagues to initiate impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump, this time with a copy of the Mueller report in hand and an American-flag tie on his collar. Read more

How Gentrification Brings Over-Policing for D.C.’s Black Residents. By Kenya Evelyn / The Daily Beast

A store in the historically black Shaw neighborhood blasts Go-Go music. Has for years. No one minded until the white folks moved in. It’s the tip of a big iceberg. Read more

Democrats can’t afford to ignore Asian American voters in 2020. By Lindy Li / NBC News

Given that Asian American voters could provide the margin of victory in battleground states such as Nevada, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan, Democrats must make a concerted effort in 2020 to encourage them to vote and to convert the Trump supporters among them. Read more

$40 Million for 400 Students: Morehouse Donation Highlights An Inequitable New Normal. By Colin Seale / Forbes

Robert F. Smith’s historic promise to pay off approximately $40 million in student loans by 2019 graduates of Morehouse College will be a gamechanger for the 396 graduates of one of our nation’s most prestigious historically black colleges and universities. But missing from the coverage of Smith’s unprecedented generosity is a crucial question about the value of higher education in the United States: How did it become normal for fewer than 400 students to accumulate $40 million in student loan debt? Read more

Robert Smith’s Real Gift to Morehouse. By Ibram X. Kendi / The Atlantic

The billionaire didn’t just pay off graduates’ debts; he offered an invaluable lesson about the real nature of individual success. “More than the money we make, the awards, or recognition, or titles we earn, each of us will be measured by how much we contribute to the success of the people around us,” Smith told the Morehouse graduates. “True wealth comes from contributing to the liberation of people.” Read more

The Oracle Of Apopka: Meet Eddie Brown, One Of Wall Street’s Greatest Untold Stories. By Antoine Gara / Forbes

Brown, 78, was born in Apopka, Florida, in 1940 to an unwed 13-year-old mother and raised by his grandparents in a part of town without paved roads, indoor plumbing or electricity. Brown is now a centimillionaire, by Forbes’ estimates. Read more

Lonnie Bunch III Set To Become Smithsonian Institution’s First Black Secretary. By Colin Dwyer / NPR

Bunch’s selection, made by unanimous vote of the organization’s 17-member Board of Regents, makes him the first African American to serve in the role of secretary in its 173-year history. He will take over for the outgoing secretary, David Skorton, in roughly three weeks. Read more

Jaime Harrison launches campaign against Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. By James Arkin / Politico

Democrat Jaime Harrison launched his campaign for Senate in South Carolina Wednesday by targeting GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham for his shift to becoming a major supporter of President Donald Trump. Read more

Dear Candidates: Here Is What Black People Want. By Alicia Garza / NYT

Some say that politics is quid pro quo, but that hasn’t been true for black voters. Our turnout in the 2018 midterms increased by nearly 11 percentage points over 2014, and voters in the 2018 election chose from the most diverse pool of candidates ever. The truth is, if candidates address the needs and concerns of black communities, it will result in dividends for all Americans. Read more

Visit our home page for more articles. And at the top of this page register your email to receive notification of new editions of Race Inquiry Digest.  Click here for earlier Digests.