Race Inquiry Digest (May 6) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Jim Crow North: A New Book about Segregation and Struggle outside the South. By J.T. Roane / AAHS

Jim Crow was not a regional sickness, it was a national cancer. Even at the high point of twentieth century liberalism in the North, Jim Crow racism hid in plain sight. Perpetuated by colorblind arguments about “cultures of poverty,” policies focused more on Black criminality than Black equality. Procedures that diverted resources in education, housing, and jobs away from poor Black people turned ghettos and prisons into social pandemics. Americans in the North made this history. They tried to unmake it, too. Read more

Buried Truths. A Podcast Series. By WABE and NPR

We can’t change our history, but we can let it guide us to understanding. Buried Truths investigates still-relevant stories of injustice, resilience and racism in the American South. Season 1 focused on Isaiah Nixon, voter suppression and new beginnings — from WABE, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist and professor, Hank Klibanoff, and the students in his civil rights cold cases class at Emory University. Listen here

A symbol of slavery — and survival. By Deneen L. Brown / Wash Post

By the time Angela was brought to Jamestown’s muddy shores in 1619, she had survived war and capture in West Africa, a forced march of more than 100 miles to the sea, a miserable Portuguese slave ship packed with 350 other Africans and an attack by pirates during the journey to the Americas. “All of that,” marveled historian James Horn, president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, “before she is put aboard the Treasurer,” one of two British privateers that delivered the first Africans to the English colony of Virginia. Read more

The Trip I Hope All African-Americans Can Take. By Mercedes Bent / NYT

At a naming ceremony in the home of my host family in Lagos, Nigeria, I wore brightly colored traditional clothing — a long, rectangular skirt tied tightly around my waist and an off-the-shoulder top with short, flared cuffs, all in a pink ankara pattern with a matching head wrap. “Please stand,” said my host, who had graciously offered to tailor the ceremony — which is normally performed for babies — for me, her adult visitor from the United States. “I hereby give you the name Esosa; it means ‘God’s gift.’ You are now Esosa Oloke. Welcome to the family. You will always have a family here in Nigeria.” Read more

Black Mississippi student says in lawsuit she was denied graduation honor because of race. By Minyvonne Burke / NBC News

A black high school graduate from Cleveland, Mississippi, is suing her alma mater’s school district claiming officials did not award her the title of salutatorian because of her race, and instead gave the honor to a white student who had lower scores. Read more

The Rich Legacy of African American Political and Intellectual History. By Robert Greene II / Black Perspectives

In 1962, the magazine Negro Digest published a blistering critique of African American intellectuals by the sociologist E. Franklin Frazier. Titled, “The Failure of the Negro Intellectual,” Frazier’s arguments were that African American intellectuals had repeatedly failed to live up to the needs of the African American community at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Read more

In an era of rising anti-Semitism, should Jewish Americans tack left or right? By Andrew Paul / Wash Post

On Saturday, April 27, a gunman attacked worshipers in a synagogue in Poway, Calif., killing one person and injuring three. The suspect in the shooting is a nationalist who has professed a hatred of Jews, immigrants and other minorities, as well as liberals and leftists who push for social change. More broadly, Americans have a choice to make between a nationalism based on what’s good for the individual or an internationalism based on solidarity. Only the latter has any chance of healing the divisions that cause crimes such as the one in Poway to keep happening over and over again. Read more

Black imprisonment rates are down. It’s important to know why. By Charles lane and Keith Humphreys / Wash Post

Bad news about race and criminal justice is all around us. Relative to white people, black people receive longer sentences for the same crimes, are treated more disrespectfully by police in routine interactions and are more likely to be shot by police during confrontations. Yet even on this bleak front, there not only can be good news; there is good news. Specifically: The imprisonment rate for African Americans is falling, has been falling since 2001 and now stands at its lowest level in more than a quarter-century. Read more

Florida Legislature approves bill requiring former felons to pay fines and fees before voting. By P.R. Lockhart / Vox

After weeks of debate and over the objection of several voting and civil rights groups, the Florida Legislature has passed a measure requiring people with felony records to pay all financial obligations from their sentencing or get these obligations excused by a judge before they can have their voting rights restored. Read more

How African-Americans disappeared from the Kentucky Derby. By Katherine Mooney / Salon

The Kentucky Derby is closely intertwined with black Americans’ struggles for equality. When the horses enter the gate for the 145th Kentucky Derby, their jockeys will hail from Venezuela, Florida, Panama and France. None will be African-American. That’s been the norm for quite a while. When Marlon St. Julien rode the Derby in 2000, he became the first black man to get a mount since 1921. Read more

Miss America, Miss Teen USA and Miss USA Are All Black Women for the First Time. By Mihir Zaveri / NYT

The three wins have become a powerful symbol of how much American views on beauty have evolved from a past marred by racism and gender stereotypes, even as black women leaders are still severely underrepresented in other fields, like corporate America or in Congress. Read more

Harry Shum Jr. On How Lack Of Asian Representation Hurt His Self-Perception. By Kemberly Yam / HuffPost

The “Crazy Rich Asians” star, who’s part of a Panda Express campaign for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month called “Asian-American Originals,” spoke to HuffPost about his relationship to his Asian identity. When he was growing up, Shum said, he internalized the absence of Asian voices and faces in the entertainment world. “With Asian Americans, especially those from past generations, we’ve dealt with being ashamed of even our parents’ stories … you almost lead two identities,” he told HuffPost. Read more

Giannis Antetokounmpo Is the Pride of a Greece That Shunned Him. By Peter S. Goodman / NYT

He is known as the Greek Freak, a basketball player of such transcendent ability that he has become celebrated as the face of the country of his birth. Yet for most of his life growing up in Greece, Giannis Antetokounmpo was considered a foreigner. As the son of African immigrants, he was perpetually vulnerable to attacks by racist militants, and to threats of deportation to Nigeria, a country he had never visited. Read more

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