Race Inquiry Digest (Nov 9) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


The idea that “the country” is “deeply divided” is ludicrous. White people are divided. By Elie Mystal / The Nation

The thing is, while the Trump coalition is every bit as stubborn, racist, and vile as we’d feared, the idea that “the country” is “deeply divided” is ludicrous. White people are divided. White people can’t stand together to reject white supremacy. Black people repudiated Trump just fine. We’d also launch him into the sun, if you’d let us—free of charge. Read more 

Related: ‘And THAT’S That!’ Jamelle Bouie Breaks Down The 2020 Election. By  

Political / Social

We need to talk about the white people who voted for Donald Trump. By Fabiola Cineas and Anna North / Vox

Americans will be dissecting the 2020 election for years to come, with analysts and ordinary voters alike parsing who voted for whom and wondering why this race was such a nail-biter. But amid all the remaining uncertainty, one thing is abundantly clear: White people, yet again, showed up for Donald Trump. Read more 

Related: Why America’s Attitude Towards Racism Hasn’t Really Changed. By Justin Worland / Time 

Related: Why Trump Voters Used The Economy As An Excuse To Vote For Him. By Emily Peck / HuffPost

How Black voters in key cities helped deliver the election for Joe Biden. By Janell Ross / NBC News 

Political operatives and others felt that the election would come down to Donald Trump’s mythical all-white suburbs filled with stay-at-home moms or Joe Biden’s ability to convert them. Instead, it was decided in racially diverse urban centers and increasingly diverse suburbs in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia. The Black people who make up 39 percent or more of the population in those areas chose Biden, with some exceptions. In fact, once the vote counts from Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta started to near completion, Trump’s lead in their respective states disappeared. Read more 

Related: What Black History Should Already Have Taught Us About the Fragility of American Democracy. By Jelani Cobb / The New Yorker 

Related: Black Voters at the Polls in Georgia: “Everybody We Know Is Ready for Trump to Get Out.” By Charles Bethea / The New Yorker  

Juan González: The Media Has It Wrong. Record Latinx Turnout Helped Biden. White Voters Failed Dems. By Juan González / Democracy Now 

The main story is that people of color, especially Latinos, flocked to the polls in numbers that far exceeded what the experts had expected, while the total number of votes cast by white Americans barely increased from the last presidential election,” says González. “How come none of the experts are asking why white voters underperformed the Democratic Party?” Watch here

Related: Not ‘naturally anything’: The history of the Latino vote and how it played out in 2020. By Geraldo Cadava / NBC News Video

Once again, Democrats have misunderstood minorities. By Fareed Zakaria / Wash Post

The dominant Democratic approach is that minority groups face deep (systemic) discrimination and need to be protected with active measures by the government across a series of fronts. This idea is rooted in the experience of Black people, for whom it is entirely applicable. America’s treatment of Black people has been cruel, with policies that have broken their families and treated them as either subhuman or as second-class citizens. Historical, structural barriers have left a lasting imprint, and discrimination persists to this day. Other immigrants — almost all of whom came voluntarily, not bound in chains — have had a very different experience. Read more 

White Supremacy Is Baked Into Our Electoral System. By Melissa Harris-Perry and Dorian T. Warren / The Nation Podcast

Last week on System Check, your hosts Melissa Harris-Perry and Dorian Warren dug into all the different ways this country makes it hard for people to cast their ballot. But it’s one thing to vote—on this week’s show, they explain why it’s a whole other thing to get that vote to matter. On this week’s episode, the deep, foundational biases of our democracy come back to haunt us—again. Listen here 

Georgia preps for war with Senate majority on the line. By James Arkin, Andrew Desiderio and Elena Schneider / Politico

Democrats failed to deliver in Senate battlegrounds this week, but both parties are still short of a majority in the chamber. So now Georgia holds the keys to control of the Senate, with both of the state’s races appearing likely to head to runoffs in early January. And with Joe Biden favored to win the presidency, Democrats could win control of a 50-50 Senate if they flip both seats. Read more 

Related: After Biden’s win, parties gird for ferocious Senate runoffs in Georgia. By Sean Sullivan, Annie Linskey and Chelsea James / Wash Post 

Related: ‘My ideals are driven by my faith’: Raphael Warnock on his Senate runoff race. By Curtis Bunn / NBC News 

How Stacey Abrams and other Georgia activists laid the groundwork for 2020. By Emma Hinchliffe / Fortune

In 2016, Abrams explained her Georgia strategy: as President Obama did in North Carolina in 2008, turn out Black and brown voters likely to vote for the Democratic Party while simultaneously appealing to white moderates. But, because of differences between Georgia’s electorate and North Carolina’s, she argued that the white moderate approach should be a smaller part of the equation for Democrats in the Peach State. Georgia Democrats, Abrams said, should put their resources behind the Black and brown voters who, if encouraged to turn out, would support the party. Read more

Related: Stacey Abrams on minority rule, voting rights, and the 2020 election. By Ezra Klein / Vox Podcast

Related: Stacey Abrams garners praise from Democrats on the verge of achieving a long-held dream: Flipping Georgia. By Venessa Williams and Reis Thebault / Wash Post 

Georgia’s political shift – a tale of urban and suburban change. By Jan Nigman / The Conversation

The key drivers of Georgia’s changing electorate are ongoing demographic shifts, combined with urban and suburban growth. Since 2000, the population of the Atlanta metropolitan region has grown tremendously, making it one of the three fastest-growing metro areas in the nation. It now contains about two-thirds of Georgia’s entire population. The rest of the state’s growth has been concentrated in other smaller metro areas, such as Savannah and Macon. At the same time, large swaths of rural Georgia have witnessed population decline. Read more 

Fox News, Murdoch-Owned Papers Urge Trump to ‘Leave Office With Dignity.’ By Benjamin Fearnow / Newsweek

Fox News hosts and editorial boards at two of Rupert Murdoch’s largest newspapers are demanding President Donald Trump either present evidence or immediately cease allegations of “voter fraud,” urging him to “leave office with dignity” should he be unable to disprove his defeat. Read more  

Related: Murdoch Family Tries to Dodge Backlash for Fox News. By Peter Maass / The Intercept

We have to understand the motivation for why people hate,’ says former neo-Nazi leader. By KK Ottesen / Wash Post

Christian Picciolini, 47, is an award-winning television producer, public speaker, author, peace advocate and former neo-Nazi leader. He is the founder of the Free Radicals Project, which helps people disengage from hate and violence-based extremism. His latest book is “Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism.” Read more

Who Is AOC: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Her Rise to Political Power. By Michelle Ruiz / Vanity Fair

Her Republican colleagues had, up until then, been civil. But one day in late July, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol while Representative Ted Yoho lost his shit. The Florida Republican, incensed by the New York congresswoman’s recent comments linking crime and poverty, jabbed his finger in her face, calling her “crazy” and “disgusting.” She told Yoho he was being rude and went into the Capitol to vote. As Yoho descended the steps, he called her a “fucking bitch.” Read more 

BLM Activists Demanded Police Accountability. In City After City, Voters Agreed. By Madison Pauly and Samantha Michaels / Mother Jones

Across the county, there were at least 20 ballot measures dealing with law enforcement reform—more than in previous elections—and all but one of them passed. “All of this is just a culmination of the years of organizing that has happened by Black folks,” Chris Melody Fields Figueredo, who leads the nonprofit Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, told Bloomberg CityLab last month. Read more 

Related: Philadelphia Voters Will Consider Overhauling Police Oversight After the Fatal Shooting of Walter Wallace. By Madison Pauly / Mother Jones

Alabama votes to allow purge of racist constitutional language. By Brian Lyman / USA Today

Alabama voters Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that could lead to the removal of racist language from the state Constitution. The main purpose of the measure is purging the state’s governing document of racist language, reflecting its undemocratic origins. The 1901 Constitution was framed to disenfranchise Blacks and poor whites, and includes language that bans interracial marriage and requires public schools to be segregated. Read more 

Medical school students’ Hippocratic oath asks doctors to combat racism, misinformation. By Jacqueline Howard / CNN

In a new Hippocratic oath written by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Class of 2024, incoming students pledged to fight the spread of misinformation and racial injustice. The oath names Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. The students pledge to be allies to underserved communities “in order to dismantle the systemic racism and prejudice that medical professionals and society have perpetuated” and the students pledge to combat misinformation “in order to improve health literacy.” Read more 

Navy Has Few Black Admirals; Some Blame Discrimination. By Steve Walsh / NPR 

Only 10 of the Navy’s 268 admirals are African-American, most are rear admirals and none holds the two highest ranks, according to data from a task force that’s examining the history of discrimination in the Navy. Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, who heads the One Navy Task Force for the Chief of Naval Operations, concedes that those numbers are small. Read more 

History / Culture

The Visual Documentation of Racist Violence in America. By Mary Niall Mitchell /AAIHS

With the ubiquity of digital cameras in the twenty-first century—96% of Americans own some kind of cell phone—the importance of visual evidence in the fight against racial injustice is clear. With digital footage, Crump insists “we are changing the narrative.” Matthew Fox-Amato’s Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America (2019) considers photography’s place at the root of the battle over slavery before, during, and after the Civil War. Read more 

When a Kidnapping Ring Targeted New York’s Black Children. By Paul Sehgal / NYT

In 1833, Black children began to vanish from the streets of New York City. Frances Shields, age 12, with cropped hair and a scar over her right eye, was last seen walking to school wearing in a purple and white dress. John Dickerson, 11, disappeared while running an errand for his parents. Jane Green, 11, was speaking to a stranger before she went missing. Or so it was believed; none of the children were heard from again. In “The Kidnapping Club,” the historian Jonathan Daniel Wells describes the circle of slave catchers and police officers who terrorized New York’s Black population in the three decades before the Civil War. They snatched up children, as well as adults, and sold them into slavery.  Read more

Voter suppression kept my grandfather from voting. It won’t stop me. By  Otis Moss III / Wash Post

Many Americans see this year’s election as unprecedented. For my family, it is far too familiar. On Tuesday, I will think about the grandfather I never met, Otis Moss Sr. He was a World War I veteran, sharecropper and metal smelter in rural Troup County, Ga. A widower, he kept a photo of his wife on the wall of the humble home where he raised his five children. Those children, I have been told, could sense his pride on the morning of Nov. 5, 1946. As family history records it, Otis Sr. was excited about exercising the right that had been given — at least nominally — to Black men three-quarters of a century earlier. White supremacist and segregationist Eugene Talmadge was seeking a fourth term as Georgia’s governor. My grandfather was determined to vote him out. Shown is Otis Moss II and Otis Moss III.  Read more 


A Star of the ‘Raging Rooks,’ He Helped Change the Face of N.Y.C. Chess. By Joe Lemire / NYT

Charu Robinson was one of the pioneers who inspired a generation of children to play a game that had been the province of elite schools. Mr. Robinson died suddenly on Oct. 13 at age 43, his family said, declining to say more than that he died of natural causes. His death dealt a blow to the city’s chess community, where he had remained a fixture and role model, having taught at Mott Hall, a middle school in Harlem (where he won another national championship, as assistant coach, in 1999), and later at Chess NYC, which offers private chess instruction, and at Success Academy, a network of charter schools. Read more 

Trump demolished the walls between politics and sports. He might not like the result. By Jerry Brewer / NYT

To energize his base of supporters, Trump tried to belittle and divide a diverse and sheltered world of sports. Trump awakened, unified and mobilized some of the most competitive adversaries he has faced. He gave the politically agnostic among them just what they needed to activate: an opponent. Combine that with social issues that are chillingly personal to many athletes, and sports have been politicized in a more overt manner than ever. Read more 

The challenges of being a Black play-by-play announcer in the NBA. By Marc J. Spears / The Undefeated

Every year, Charlotte Hornets TV play-by-play announcer Eric Collins can’t help but feel a little anxiety when he goes to the NBA’s annual broadcast meetings before training camps start. Considering he is the only Black man in his position in the league, it’s hard for him to feel comfortable. “It’s uncomfortable to me. It’s not my sweet spot,” Collins told The Undefeated. “People are nice to me, don’t get me wrong. It’s a group of guys who have a common love for basketball. But, you notice when you’re the only guy of color that is not a former player who is holding a microphone. … So, that’s awkward. Read more 

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