Race Inquiry Digest (Nov 2) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Morgan Freeman Spells Out Exactly What’s At Stake This Election. By Lee Moran / HuffPost

Actor Morgan Freeman explains exactly what’s on the line in the 2020 election in a new ad for the NAACP. Freeman warns — as the narrator of the spot that Rachel Maddow premiered on her MSNBC show Friday — that “our lives quite literally depend” on voting.“It wasn’t long ago that people were beaten and even killed to obtain the sacred power each of you have today, the power to vote,” he says. “And right now your vote is more critical than ever.” “This election is about you and me, your family and my family, our planet, and our democracy in its entirety,” Freeman continues. “With our votes, we, the people, can begin to overwhelm the unjust political and economic systems that favor profits over people and elect leaders who will take us forward.” “Brothers and sisters, go vote,” Freeman concludes the clip. “Our lives quite literally depend on it.” Read more and  Watch YouTube video here

Political / Social

Why Are Republicans So Afraid of Voters? By The Editorial Board / NYT

Across the country, the group most responsible for making voting harder, if not impossible, for millions of Americans is the Republican Party. Republicans have been saying it themselves for ages. “I don’t want everybody to vote,” Paul Weyrich, a leader of the modern conservative movement, told a gathering of religious leaders in 1980. “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Read more 

Related: How a Republican plan to split a Black college campus backfired. By Lewis Kendall / The Guardian 

Trump’s handling of race is the single most important issue in this election. By Michael Gerson / Wash Post

Which final arguments in the 2020 election are most compelling? Joe Biden is focusing his remarkably disciplined message on the worsening pandemic and the hope of national healing. President Trump is randomly regurgitating every grievance that has ever brushed up against his ego. When I entered the voting booth, none of this was on my mind. There is one particular way that Trump has made this a directional, perhaps a definitional, election: He has purposely brought the issue of race to the center stage of American politics. His reelection would mean, in part, the public vindication of his approach to racial matters. Read more

Related: Don’t Fool Yourself. Trump Is Not an Aberration. By Jamelle Bouie / NYT

Related: How Trump Destroyed America’s Naïveté. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

Related: Trump’s crackdown on trainings about white privilege draws broad opposition. By Jena McGregor and Eli Rosenberg / Wash Post 

Related: Trump rallies may be responsible for roughly 700 Covid-19 deaths, study finds. By Ian Millhiser / Vox  

In Miami, coalition of Latino evangelical leaders endorses Biden. By Carmen Sesin / NBC News

A group of evangelical leaders endorsed Joe Biden at a press conference in Miami on Friday as the Biden and Trump campaigns amp up their Latino outreach in the battleground state. Pastor Antonio Mansogo, regional vice president of the National Latino Coalition of Christian Ministers and Leaders, (CONLAMIC), said at a press event that they are endorsing Biden because of the moment we are living in, as well as “his personality and his political trajectory,” adding that he is “an impeccable and decent man.” Read more 

The economy is showing signs of recovery. Many Black Americans are not. By Dartunorro Clark / NBC News

“It’s not a matter of differences in experience. It’s not a matter of differences in education, which is presumed to be an indicator of skill. It’s not a matter of the overall health and strength of the economy, necessarily,” she said. “That makes a very strong argument for the fact that the difference itself is a reflection of discrimination in the labor market — and that being a result of the broader patterns of structural racism and structural inequality in our society.” The pandemic magnified those longstanding issues. According to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll in May, 16 percent of Black workers reported having been laid off or furloughed since the pandemic upended the economy, compared to 11 percent of white workers. Read more

Many Asian American Candidates Face Racism During Pandemic. By Chloee Weiner / NPR

Niou, who’s Taiwanese American, says that addressing the pandemic’s toll on her district has left little time to campaign for reelection. In the spring, she says many Asian American businesses in her district, which spans lower Manhattan and includes Chinatown, were forced to shut down as customers avoided their restaurants and neighborhoods. She says the economic impact was an early consequence of racism that links the coronavirus to Asian American communities. Read more

Breonna Taylor: Grand jurors say Louisville cops should be charged. By Tessa Duvall and Lucas Aulbach / USA Today

More Louisville police officers should face criminal charges for their roles in the March 13 attempted drug search that ended in the death of Breonna Taylor, two grand jurors said Wednesday. And both jurors said they agree with the effort of Tamika Palmer, Taylor’s mother, to have a special prosecutor appointed to review the case. Read more 

Related: Another disturbing shooting of a Black man shows how desperately police need reform. By The Editorial Board / Wash Post

Related: Justice Dept. quietly curtailed civil rights investigation into Tamir Rice killing. By Matt Zapotosky / Wash Post  

America’s Black brain drain: Why African-American professionals are moving abroad—and staying there. By Beth Kowitt / Fortune

The decision to work and live abroad has been brought into sharp relief for many Black American expats this spring and summer as they watch a national movement take hold back home in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd. There’s a sense of guilt at not being on the front lines, mixed with affirmation of why they did not want to return. Read more

How to Be an Active Bystander When You See Casual Racism. By Ruth Terry / NYT

We’ve all been there. At a dinner party. In line at the post office. On a Zoom meeting. You can feel it coming: that awful joke your friend likes to tell about immigrants. Questions like “Don’t all lives matter?” or “Did he resist arrest?” The discomfort becomes palpable. Your gut twists. God, I hope someone says something, you think with increasing desperation. And so does everyone else. This phenomenon, in which no one in a group of witnesses chooses to disrupt a problematic event, is called the bystander effect, said Thomas Vance, a national certified counselor and a postdoctoral psychology fellow at the New School for Social Research in New York. Read more 

Meet Wilton Gregory, set to be made first Black US cardinal by Pope Francis. By Anne Thompson / NBC News Video

At the end of November, Pope Francis will officially make Wilton Gregory the first Black cardinal of the American Catholic Church. Gregory sees his elevation as a sign of support for 3 million Black Catholics in the U.S. NBC’s Anne Thompson spoke with him. Watch here

History / Culture

A Black voting rights activist confronts the ghosts of racial terror in North Carolina. By Sydney Trent / Wash Post

On Nov. 10, 1898, two days after a contentious election, Athalia Howe, the 12-year-old granddaughter of prominent Black builder Alfred Augustus Howe, had crouched fearfully in Wilmington’s Pine Forest Cemetery as armed white supremacists stormed the city. The mobs massacred dozens of African Americans — the true number will never be known — dumping their limp bodies in the winding Cape Fear River. They seized prosperous Black people and their White allies and forced them onto trains out of town. After publishing a “White Declaration of Independence,” the marauders took over the county Board of Aldermen — the only coup d’etat in U.S. history. Read more 

In 1860, as the most toxic campaign in American history delivered Abraham Lincoln — by most accounts, our greatest president. But before he could save the Union, Lincoln had to survive his election and a difficult transition, bitterly resisted by an entrenched political establishment that had no intention of giving up power. Southern leaders  devoted their considerable resources to gaming the system, through a campaign of false personal attacks, physical intimidation and ballot manipulation. Read more 

What the Constitution means to us. By Soraya Nadia McDonald / The Undefeated

Heidi Schreck’s play, now streaming on Amazon Prime, helps us see the hope — and the many holes — in our founding document. The U.S. Constitution is a mess. Important, revolutionary, bursting with good intentions — but still a mess. It is a fallible document, created, interpreted and enforced by fallible humans. Though its equal protection clause guarantees rights to all Americans, the Constitution often fails to protect those rights — sometimes with lethal consequences. Is its messiness intrinsic, and too faulty to be redeemable? Or can it be fixed? Read more 

‘City So Real’ TV Review: Life, Death and Politics — The Chicago Way. By David Fear / Rolling Stone

City So Real, a sprawling look at a pivotal moment in Chi-town’s modern political history that debuts tonight on NatGeo (all five of its hour-plus installments will drop on Hulu tomorrow), continues James’ drilling down into the various corners of a vibrant, diverse, and highly conflicted urban landscape. Centered mostly around the 2018 mayoral election — in which the incumbent Rahm Emanuel announced he wouldn’t seek a third term, thus opening the race up — the series follows the general trajectory of a who-will-win campaign competition, complete with the backbiting, undercutting, trash-talking and horse-trading we now associate with winning public office. Read more

Black Horror Is Bigger Than Black Trauma. By Zeba Blay / HuffPost

Hollywood, paradoxically, often lacks imagination when it comes to telling Black stories on screen. Black filmmakers have ideas on ideas, but getting them funded and made is quite another thing. The movie industry is first and foremost a business, and before major studios take leaps out of the norm, they must be shown the potential for making lots and lots of cash. In 2017, when Jordan Peele’s seminal horror film “Get Out” proved to be a critical and financial success (becoming the highest-grossing writer-director debut based on an original screenplay of all time), it created a powerful precedent: Black horror sells. Read more 

Brandy isn’t just back. She matters. By Helena Andrews-Dyer / Wash Post

In the span of a month, the “Borderline” singer went from “Where is she?” to “Where isn’t she?” She released her seventh studio album, “B7,” on July 31. The very next day, Netflix (finally) began streaming all six seasons of “Moesha,” the ’90s sitcom that diversified the Girl Next Door trope forever and made Brandy a teenage star. In August, the “Verzuz” battle between Brandy and Monica, another trademark ’90s R&B artist, broke records in viewership and touted a cameo by Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris. Then Billboard called. Read more 


Dave Roberts won the World Series, but will he finally get credit for his success? By William C. Rhoden / The Undefeated

Receiving credit when credit is due is a tricky business, especially when you’re Black. Especially in an overwhelmingly white sports media environment where cultural biases and stereotypes continue to be alive and well. On Tuesday, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts led the franchise to its first World Series championship since 1988. Roberts became just the third manager in the Dodgers’ storied history to win a World Series. Walter Alston and Tom Lasorda were the others. Read more 

Sports’ biggest names offer up arenas and stadiums to limit minority voter suppression. By Ahiza García-Hodges / NBC News

More than 40 arenas, stadiums and ballparks across the NBA, the WNBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer are being used for election-related purposes. The effort, in many cases spearheaded by the professional athletes who compete in the venues, is designed to increase voting opportunities, with a particular focus on Black and Latino voters who continue to face voter suppression. Read more 

 5 Black Women Who Are Catching Fish and Stares. By 

To his frustration, they talked about Patrick Mahomes’ arm rather than his decision making as if brawn somehow mattered more than brain. Despite monetary success and awards, Black quarterbacks, past and present, say they still face an uphill battle against prejudice, especially when entering the league. For quarterbacks who threw for more than 3,000 yards in 2019, three of the top four — as ranked by passer rating — were Black: Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson. That leaves out their individual rushing efforts too, of which Jackson’s was substantial, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards as well as throw for over 3,000 yards. Read more 

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