Race Inquiry Digest (Nov 19) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Racial Tension is Driving an Increase in Black Gun Ownership. By Melissa Chan / Time 

Luther Thompson never thought he’d be a gun owner. But in April, the 41-year-old obtained a concealed carry license and bought his first firearm—a $400 Smith & Wesson pistol—after feeling, for the first time, that he was not safe raising a family in the South as a Black man. “Down here, it’s totally different,” he says. “They’re bold with their racism.” Thompson’s concerns have only grown since the election, as President Donald Trump refuses to concede and as his supporters grow angrier over what they falsely believe was a stolen election. Read more 

Related: FBI: Number of Hate Crime Deaths in 2019 Hits All-Time High. By Josiah Bates / Time 

Related: Rise in reports of hate crimes against Latinos pushes overall number to 11-year high. By Suzanne Gamboa and The Associated Press / NBC News 

Political / Social

The Challenge of Black Patriotism. By Theodore R. Johnson / NYT

For Black Americans, loving the country and criticizing it have always been inseparable — something other Americans have often struggled to understand. The hypocrisy of the United States’ expecting its Black citizens to help defeat tyranny abroad while being subjected to racism at home, also posed a question: “Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?” James G. Thompson a 26-year-old cafeteria worker at a factory in Wichita, Kan., that manufactured aircraft for the military proposed in 1941 that Black Americans initiate a “Double V” campaign for double victory: “The first V for victory over our enemies from without, the second V for victory over our enemies from within.” Read more 

Biden speaking about systemic racism is a win. But the battle is just beginning. By Courtland Milloy / Wash Post

President-elect Joe Biden says he has a mandate to lead several “great battles” on behalf of the American people — against the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, inadequate health care and a rigged economy. But I’ll be tracking the battle where something remarkable has already happened. Biden said he had a mandate “to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country.” What’s so remarkable? Biden actually said it, out loud, in his victory speech, just hours after being declared the winner over Republican incumbent Donald Trump. Read more 

Related: Biden’s big challenge: A growing racial wealth gap. By Renuka Rayasam and  Ben White / Politico

Americans didn’t repudiate Donald Trump. But Black voters did. Suzette Hackney / USA Today

Americans last week waited four excruciating days before taking to the streets to celebrate the historic election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. And even as votes are still being counted, it’s clear that Black voters helped steer the moral clarity needed to move this country forward. Record numbers of Americans cast ballots —  nearly 160 million  — but African American voters were a critical demographic that helped determine the final outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Cities with large Black populations such as Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta bolstered Biden’s lead in key battleground states the Democratic Party lost four years ago. Read more 

Related: Invisible no more: Native Americans celebrate Biden win after playing key role in election. By Mariya Mosely / ABC News

Related: What we know about who Asian American voters supported in the election. By Li Zhou / Vox

This Election, Latinos Sent a Warning Sign to Democrats. By Mariso Franco / NYT

The varied results in areas with high Latino density, like Maricopa County, Ariz.; Miami-Dade County; and the Rio Grande Valley simply show that Latinos are not monolithic. Together, these outcomes are a window into the future of a growing Latino electorate. And they offer a warning sign to the Democratic Party: Don’t expect Latinos to be reliably blue if we cannot rely on you. Read more

Related: The Myth of the Latino Vote and What Newsrooms Must Learn From 2020. By Perla Trevizo / ProPublica

Related: 2020 election shattered assumptions about Latino voters as a monolith. By Daniel Gonzalez / AZ Central 

Obama says internet, social media are threat to democracy. By Peter Kafka / Vox

His latest critique comes in a new interview between Obama and Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg, and before we go any further we should put it in full context: Obama was discussing a media landscape dominated not just by Facebook but by Fox News that allows Americans to choose their own distorted reality. Which means, he says, we no longer have a shared set of facts. Read more

How Georgia went blue. By Katrina vanden Heuvel / Wash Post

In reporting on how Georgia went from red to blue, the media has naturally sought a protagonist — and found the perfect one in Stacey Abrams. Early on, Abrams recognized that demographic changes in Georgia meant Democrats could have a chance there if they organized. But Abrams did not single-handedly turn demographic change into Democratic wins, and she was one of the first to point out that fact. This year’s victory in Georgia was thanks to a hugely diverse and collective effort across the state — a base-focused campaign among dozens of organizations to activate thousands of volunteers, who talked to their neighbors and turned out the vote. Read more

Related: Ossoff, Warnock start Georgia runoffs behind the eight ball. By James Arkin / Politico

Nearly two-thirds of older Black Americans can’t afford to live alone without help – and it’s even tougher for Latinos. By Jan Mutchler / The Conversation

Older Americans who want to live independently face serious economic challenges. Half who live alone don’t have enough income to afford even a bare-bones budget in their home communities, and nearly 1 in 4 couples face the same problem. Those numbers add up to at least 11 million older adults who are struggling to make ends meet, a new analysis shows. The numbers are worse for older people of color. Dramatically higher percentages of Black, Latino and Asian older adults live on incomes that don’t meet their cost of living, even with Social Security. That can mean skipping needed health care, not having enough food, living in unhealthy conditions or having to move in with family. Read more 

Related: Racial discrimination ages Black Americans faster, according to a 25-year-long study of families. By Sierra Carter / The Conversation

Homes for sale: Black homeowners more likely to return to renting. By Charisse Jones / USA Today

Black homeowners are twice as likely to lose their homes and have to return to renting than whites, in part because their relatives may be less able to help if they are struggling to pay their mortgage, according to a new study. Over a 30-year period stretching from 1984 to 2017, 10% of Black homeowners became renters again compared with 5% of whites, according to new research published in the journal “Demography.” Read more 

Some Brazilians long considered themselves White. Now many identify as Black as fight for equity inspires racial redefinition. By Terrence McCoy and Heloisa Traiano / Wash Post 

For most of his 57 years, to the extent that he thought about his race, José Antônio Gomes used the language he was raised with. He was “pardo” — biracial — which was how his parents identified themselves. Or maybe “moreno,” as people back in his hometown called him. Perhaps “mestiço,” a blend of ethnicities. It wasn’t until this year, when protests for racial justice erupted across the United States after George Floyd’s killing in police custody, that Gomes’s own uncertainty settled. Watching television, he saw himself in the thousands of people of color protesting amid the racially diverse crowds. He saw himself in Floyd. Read more

History / Culture

Where Is the Smithsonian Museum for American Latinos? By Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and 

The need for this museum cannot be overstated, particularly now. Latinos are the second-largest ethnic and racial group in the country, and yet our diversity and complexity remains misunderstood. This year’s presidential election highlighted the significant role that Latino voters play in our democracy and every other aspect of the nation’s collective well-being. Our stories still don’t have a permanent home in our nation’s capital. Read more 

The Thanksgiving Myth Gets a Deeper Look This Year. By Brett Anderson / NYT

The brutality of settlers’ expansion into the Great Plains and American West has been drastically underplayed in popular myths about the founding and growth of the United States. Arguably the best-known of those myths is the story of the first Thanksgiving, a holiday Robert Magnan, who led the buffalo hunt at Fort Peck, does not observe. “Thanksgiving is kind of like Columbus Day for Native people,” he said. “Why would we celebrate people who tried to destroy us?” Shown is Dana Buckles, whose Native name is White Dog, bowed his head in prayer before a buffalo hunt in early November in Montana, a form of thanksgiving. Read more

How the Nation of Islam Pioneered Prison Protest. By Joshua Clark Davis / AAIHS

Sometimes you read a new book whose significance and urgency are so clear that you almost can’t believe it was just published. How hasn’t this book already been written, you wonder. Garrett Felber’s Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State is one of those books. Whether in the biographies of Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, or Warith Deen Muhammad, prison played a key role in the personal transformations of the Nation of Islam’s leaders. Shown is Nation of Islam Minister Keith Muhammad.   Read more 

Ta-Nehisi Coates isn’t ready to celebrate America just yet. By Helena Andrews-Dyer / Wash Post

Because Ta-Nehisi Coates — winner of the National Book Award and the MacArthur “genius grant,” whose writing led to a congressional hearing on reparations for American slavery — is acutely aware of how legends are made. The 45-year-old became one — the intellectual celebrity — just as his work deconstructing another — the shining city on the hill that is America — shot into the stratosphere. But he is on his way back. Read more 

Related: Between The World And Me, based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ #1 New York Times bestselling account, is coming to HBO as a special event. Watch the trailer. / HBO

“The Reagans” shows how the Gipper paved the way for political actors pretending they aren’t racist. By Melanie McFarland / Salon

Reagan had moves way back when that are easily recognizable to anyone who spent the last five years drowning in Trumpland. “Make American Great Again” is directly cribbed from the Gipper; if you weren’t aware of that the series handily reminds us this is the case. As civil rights activist Maya Riley puts it, “Reagan’s genius was that he wrapped his racism in a façade of fatherly love. And it was something that Black people in this country understood was a façade. And we understood it from his words and his deeds.” The first episode of “The Reagans”  premieres Sunday, Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. on Showtime. Read more

Smokey Robinson on Marvin Gaye, ‘My Girl’ and new Audible memoir. By Patrick Ryan / USA Today 

There’s no one better to tell Smokey Robinson‘s story than the Motown legend himself. On Thursday, the singer, songwriter and producer will release new audio memoir “Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed,” available exclusively on Audible within the Audible Plus catalog. The 100-minute special features a mix of words and music, as Robinson recounts his humble beginnings in Detroit, growing up with future icons Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross. He recalls his early days as frontman of vocal group The Miracles, and work with Motown artists Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and The Temptations, writing the latter’s enduring 1964 hit “My Girl.” Read more 


First all-Black NFL officiating crew to work Monday Night Football game. By Kevin Seifert. ESPN

The NFL has assembled an all-Black officiating crew for the first time to work Monday night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, citing the opportunity to recognize the league’s history and recent practices in diversifying its officiating department. “This historic Week 11 crew is a testament to the countless and immeasurable contributions of Black officials to the game, their exemplary performance, and to the power of inclusion that is the hallmark of this great game,” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent said. Read more 

Tiger Woods and the fight with his body, his game and his motivation. By Bob Harig / ESPN

Woods, 44, has contemplated his golf mortality before, most notably in the spring of 2017 when his back issues were so acute he consulted with experts in London before choosing what was considered a last-gasp spinal fusion surgery. We all know the rest: He came back and had a remarkable 2018 season that saw him contend several times and win the Tour Championship; he won the Masters in 2019 for his fifth title at Augusta, his 15th major and first in 11 years; and he later captured the Zozo Championship to tie Sam Snead with 82 PGA Tour victories. After a strong performance at the Presidents Cup last December, Woods seemed on track to break Snead’s record and have further moments of glory. All of that seems more remote now, which is why Woods was so emotional and contemplative last week. Read more 

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