Race Inquiry Digest (Nov 25) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Republican authoritarianism is here to stay. By Brian Klaas / Wash Post

For the past decade, I’ve studied the rise of authoritarianism and the breakdown of democracy around the world. Traveling from Madagascar to Thailand and Belarus to Zambia, I’ve tried to understand how despotic politicians and authoritarian political parties systematically destroy democracy. And based on that research, I have some bad news: The party of Reagan and Romney is long dead. The party of Trump is here to stay.

What has happened in the United States over the past five years is, in many ways, a classic of the autocratic genre. A populist leader rose to power, attacked the presspoliticized rule of lawthreatened to jail his opponentsdemonized minoritiespraised dictators abroadspread conspiracy theories and lies, and then sought to seize power despite losing an election. When such despotic figures emerge in democracies, their political party has two options: push back against the would-be despot while reasserting democratic principles, or remake the party in his image. Republicans have quite clearly chosen the latter path. Read more 

Related: Conservative Columnist Sounds Alarm On ‘Full-Blown Insurgency’ From The Right. By Lee Moran / HuffPost

Political / Social

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

All three defendants in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of murder. Arbery was jogging through a South Georgia neighborhood. The men formed a posse that became what has been described as a “lynch mob.” They stalked Arbery, hunted him down, insisted on detaining him, and then one of the men — Travis McMichael — blasted him three times with a shotgun. It was caught on video, ironically by one of the men now convicted of the murder. The guilty verdicts landed oddly for me. This was the right decision, the way it should have gone. There was an impulse to celebrate the victory, but it felt a bit like celebrating a mother caring for her children or respecting a spouse. Read more

Related: Biden Says Guilty Verdict In Ahmaud Arbery Murder Is A Step Forward, But Not Enough. By Sanjana Karanth / HuffPost

Related: In Arbery’s death, an echo of the ‘sundown towns’ that banned and threatened Black people. By Peter Carlson / Wash Post

After the Rittenhouse verdict: Will “white freedom” spell the ruin of America? By Chauncey Devega / Salon

White freedom” could bring the ultimate ruination of America. By that term, I do not simply mean “white privilege” or “racist” behavior that violates social norms and is considered unacceptable or aberrant. White freedom is much more powerful than that: it is a core organizing principle of American society. In his recent book “White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea,” Tyler Stovall explains this concept as “the belief (and practice) that freedom is central to white racial identity, and that only white people can or should be free.” Contrary to what many Americans would like to believe, the country’s founding was not a project dedicated to universal human rights. Instead, America’s “democratic” experiment was based on a racialized understanding of democracy and of who counts as fully human — and who does not. Read more 

Related: What the Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict means for the future of the American right. By Zack Beauchamp / Vox

Related: Kyle Rittenhouse’s $2 million legal funds won his case. Most defendants can’t afford that quality of aid. By Paul Butler / Wash Post

Related: Rittenhouse and the Right’s White Vigilante Heroes. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

In Charlottesville, the Nazis Were Finally Held to Account. By Dahlia Lithwick / Slate

After four weeks of arguments, 36 witnesses, and three long days of deliberations, a federal jury in Charlottesville, Virginia awarded more than $26 million in damages against two dozen white supremacists and violent right wing organizations who had organized the 2017 Unite the Right rally that ended in the death of a counter-protester and injuries to many others. The jurors deadlocked on two federal conspiracies charges rooted in the 150-year-old Ku Klux Klan Act, an 1871 statute that allows parties to sue for damages in response to race-based violent actions, but they did find the defendants had violated Virginia state civil rights laws against racially motivated harassment and intimidation. Read more 

Related: What the ‘Unite the Right’ trial reveals about white nationalism in the U.S. By Judy Woodruff / PBS

Related: Jury says ‘Unite the Right’ rally organizers must pay $25 million. By Will Carless and Kevin McCoy / USA Today

Related: A 19th-Century Law Dismantled The KKK. Now It Could Bring Down A New Generation Of Extremists. By Lyz Lenz / HuffPost

The Conspiracy Theories About Jewish Americans Fueling Today’s Far-Right Have Long Been A Part Of US History. By Jonathan D. Sarna / TPM

Jews will not replace us,” demonstrators chanted at the “Unite the Right” rally organized by armed white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, to stop the removal of a statue dedicated to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. “In its simplest and most straightforward interpretation, ”Scholar of Jewish history Deborah Lipstadt explained, “that chant can be understood to say Jews will not replace ‘us,’ i.e., white Christians in our job or our dominant place in society. We as whites will remain the dominant and supreme force in society.” Read more 

Related: US militias: From the KKK to the Oath Keepers. By John Avlon and Sara Sidner / CNN

Dear White People: Here’s How to Honor Native American. By Mary Annette Pember / Mother Jones 

This annual exercise has taken on a wearying sameness: It’s the month of explaining Indians to white people. Typically they tell me they want to know more about Native people, our lives today, how to honor our culture and be allies. But almost always this means they want me to present generic versions of Native dance, crafts, spirituality; to help them participate in ceremonies and drumming, identify their power animals, and become shamans. In short, they want to celebrate an Indian who never was, one who soothes their settler souls. Shown are Chiricahua Apache children at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1885.    Read more 

Related: Black Natives Want to See Themselves in ‘Reservation Dogs,’ Too. By Ruth Eitesit / HuffPost

Biden to pick Capitol Hill favorite to run his budget office. By Laura Barron-Lopez and Caitlin Emma / Politico

President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that he will nominate Shalanda Young to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, along with Nani Coloretti as deputy director. If confirmed, Young would be the first Black woman to serve in the post, and Coloretti would be one of the highest-ranking Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians to lead in the federal government, positioning two women of color to head the White House budget office. Young will continue to serve as acting director of the office until she is confirmed. Read more 

Biden nominates top diplomat and academic as American ambassador to South Africa, say sources. By Peter Fabricius / Daily Maverick

Reuben Brigety, a diplomat, academic and former naval officer, is President Joe Biden’s choice to be the next US ambassador to South Africa, according to Washington sources. Brigety (48) is currently vice-chancellor and president of the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was US ambassador to the African Union in Addis Ababa from 2013 to 2015 and before that deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa with responsibility for southern African and regional security affairs since 2011. Read more 

Pandemic Prompts More Black Americans to Take Up Urban Gardening to End “Food Apartheid.” By Karen Robinson-Jacobs / Mother Jones

Before coronavirus shutdowns gave Mike Daniels an unexpected furlough, he hadn’t thought much about urban gardening, though he’d heard as a youngster about his great grandmother tilling the soil. Yet weeks into the pandemic, the former bowling alley attendant turned his Lawton, Oklahoma, backyard into a “mini-food forest,” feeding family and friends with zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Read more 

Historical / Cultural

University System of Georgia to keep names on buildings with ties to slavery and white supremacy. By Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga / Wash Post

The University System of Georgia’s governing board on Monday rejected the recommendation of an advisory group to rename 75 buildings and colleges on campuses across the state that honor individuals who supported slavery, racial segregation and other forms of oppression.Among the buildings at issue are more than two dozen at the flagship University of Georgia. Aderhold Hall, according to the advisory group’s report, is named for a 20th-century president of the university, Omer Clyde “O.C.” Aderhold, who was a “committed segregationist.” Read more 

Being American means reckoning with our violent history. By Ken Burns / Wash Post

I’ve been making films about American history for more than 40 years. In all of those years, there’s something central that I’ve learned about being an American: Veneration and shame often go hand-in-hand. Today, however, I fear patriotism is presented as a false choice. It seems that for many, to be patriotic is to remember and celebrate only our nation’s triumphs. To choose otherwise, to choose to remember our failings, is thus somehow anti-American. Read more 

Are Democrats the “real racists”? Well, they used to be: Here’s the history. By Matthew Rozsa / Salon

It seems that everyone on the right, from crackpot filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza to The Federalist, enjoys pointing out that the Democratic Party used to be the main political vehicle for white supremacy in the United States. They assume their readers will pretend not to notice that decades ago Democrats and Republicans “switched sides” (at least on the issue of race), since that would cancel out this attempted “gotcha.” In fact, the Democratic and Republican parties did not assume their current identities as “liberal” and “conservative,” respectively — and as we understand those terms today — until partway through the 20th century, and neither party stands for what it once did, especially but not exclusively on racial issues. Read more

New documentary highlights plight of missing Black women and why their cases go ignored. By Amna Nawaz and Talesha Reynolds / PBS

A third of the almost 300,000 U.S. girls and women reported missing in 2020 were Black. That’s according to the National Crime Information Center. Yet those cases are often marginalized or ignored by law enforcement and national media. Now, a four-part documentary series on HBO follows the lives of two women working to bring awareness to these cases. Amna Nawaz has the story. Read more

Related: ‘Black and Missing’: HBO docuseries addresses media, police bias. By Erin Jensen / USA Today

56 Years Ago, He Shot Malcolm X. Now He Lives Quietly in Brooklyn. Jonah E. Bromwich, Ashley Southall and 

Waiting in the holding area of a Manhattan courthouse in 1966, Talmadge Hayer turned to the two men who were standing trial with him. He told them that he intended to confess to his role in the assassination of Malcolm X and make it clear that they were innocent. “I just want to tell the truth, that’s all,” he said when he took the stand. The convictions of Mr. Butler and Mr. Johnson, who changed their names to Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam while in prison, were thrown out in that same courthouse last week after a 22-month review of the case. Mr. Halim, formerly Talmadge Hayer,  was released on parole in 2010. Now 80, he lives quietly in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, about five miles away from the courthouse that linked him inextricably to the two innocent men. Read more 

Don’t let the inspiring story of Josephine Baker story erase France’s pervasive racism. By Rokhaya Diallo / Wash Post

Josephine Baker, one of the most fascinating figures of French 20th-century history, is finally being interred at the Panthéon, after an announcement by President Emmanuel Macron in August. She is the first woman of color and first artist to be interred at the mausoleum, which houses the remains of the most distinguished French citizens. There is no doubt she deserves the honor — but France should not use this moment to congratulate itself on its treatment of people of color. Read more 


Renaissance Search & Consulting at forefront of diversifying hiring of college coaches. By Jamal Murphy / The Undefeated

While significant gains were made by NCAA men’s basketball head coaches — 53% of the Division I college basketball head coaches hired in the last cycle were Black — after the police murder of George Floyd, college football head-coaching minority hires have not improved in 40 years. Since 1981, less than 10% of college football head coaches and athletic directors hired have been Black. In 2020, 13% of Power 5 schools had a Black athletic director and 15% of Power 5 schools employed a Black head football coach. Meanwhile, 46% of the football players at Power 5 schools were Black. The disparity remains staggering. One area that is getting increased scrutiny is how the hiring for these positions is done. Search firms have been used by university athletic departments for a long time, but dependence on them has increased in recent years. Read more 

Stephen Curry is remaking his Curry Brand with new tech and designs beyond basketball. By Nick Depaula / The Undefeated

It’s been a year since the Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry launched his own subset company within Under Armour — Curry Brand. Ever since, Curry has both reasserted his dominance over the league after missing nearly all of the truncated 2019-20 regular season and made major steps in building the company he hopes can extend well past his playing career. In just the last 12 months, Curry Brand has: – Launched a new logo, inspired by Curry’s family legacy and impact on the sport. – Debuted “Flow” technology, a foam compound bridging lighter-weight cushioning and court feel. – Expanded beyond basketball into golf footwear and apparel, along with running and lifestyle sneakers. – Funded the relaunch of Howard University’s Division I men’s and women’s golf programs. – Contributed to upgrading and refurbishing the famed Rucker Park basketball court in Harlem, New York, with quarterly skills camps and activations for young athletes planned. – Pledged to refurbish at least 20 basketball courts by 2025. Read more 

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