Race Inquiry Digest (Oct 15) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured –  COVID deaths reveal how racism still has its grip on America. By USA Today Staff

‘An unbelievable chain of oppression’: America’s history of racism was a preexisting condition for COVID-19. In a six-part series, USA TODAY investigates how racist policies of the past and present have fueled high COVID-19 deaths in communities of color. Of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest death rates from COVID-19, seven have populations where people of color make up the majority, according to data compiled by USA TODAY. Of the top 50 counties with the highest death rates, 31 are populated mostly by people of color. Read more 

Related: World Mental Health Day: The mental health disparities faced by people of color.  By Kristen Rogers / CNN

Related: Pandemic Deepens Food Inequality in Brooklyn. By Khadhazha Welch / AAIHS

Related: My sister died needlessly of COVID-19 — and bias.  By Sheila Butler / Salon 

Biden leads Trump by 17 points as election race enters final stage. By David Smith  / The Guardian

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump has surged to a record 17 points as the US election enters its final sprint, an Opinium Research and Guardian opinion poll shows. Some 57% of likely voters intend to vote for Biden, while just 40% say they will vote for the incumbent president, the survey shows. The 17-point gap is even bigger than than 57%-41% margin found by CNN earlier this month. It is just short of the lead in the popular vote that Ronald Reagan enjoyed in his second landslide victory in 1984. Four years later, Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis led George HW Bush by 17 points only to suffer defeat, but that poll was taken in July so Bush had ample time to recover. Read more 

Related: Biden Is Not Out of the Woods. By Thomas B. Edsall / NYT 

Related: Black churches mobilizing voters despite virus challenges.  By Aaron Morrison / ABC News

Related: A growing Asian American electorate could help swing Pennsylvania back to blue. By Celeste Katz Marston / NBC News

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Latinx Vote Is Still Being Ignored. By Graciela Mochkofsky / The New Yorker 

As the country honors its Hispanic heritage for the fifty-second time this year, and one in every five Americans is now Latinx, people are still fighting for equality, are still largely invisible to power structures and state bureaucracies, and are still seen as foreign by the political parties and a good number of their compatriots. Just weeks ahead of a Presidential election, they remain painfully sidelined. Read more 

Donald Trump’s great performance nears its dramatic climax: Stay tuned! By Andres O’Hehir / Salon

If it weren’t for the human lives damaged or destroyed by Donald Trump’s presidency — the 215,000 or so killed by the coronavirus is only the beginning, of course — the whole insane experience could be understood as a brilliant, confrontational work of performance art. It’s a vulgar and moronic performance, to be sure, and one that pushes the audience’s willingness to suspend disbelief to its outer limits. But it’s also a work of indisputable genius, one that has hypnotized media and public around the world for the better part of five years. Read more 

Related: Cornel West on Trump, the virus and the future: “Imagine a world that is worth fighting for.” By Chauncey DeVega / Salon 

Related: Trump’s law-and-order mantra goes missing in wake of domestic terror plot against Democratic governor. By Kevin Liptak / CNN

Related: The Macho Appeal of Donald Trump. By Jennifer Medina / NYT

Barrett On George Floyd: Obvious That ‘Racism Persists In Our Country.’ By Samantha Raphelson / NPR

The letter of the law calls for everyone to be treated equally, and yet many Americans don’t feel they are; Durbin asked Barrett specifically about the police video that depicts this year’s killing of George Floyd, who died in the custody of an officer who knelt on his neck despite Floyd’s cries for help. Barrett said the video was “very, very personal” for her and her family, in part because she has two Black children adopted from Haiti, her daughter Vivian and her son John Peter. Read more 

Related: The Supreme Court is sitting on a major Pennsylvania voting rights case. By Mark Joseph Stern / Slate

Related: America’s Judiciary Doesn’t Look Like America. Noel Wise / The Atlantic 

Why Republicans keep saying “we’re a republic, not a democracy.” By Joshua Keating / Salon

The timeworn phrase “we’re a republic, not a democracy,” once confined to campus political debates and the nerdier corners of the political internet, has been bubbling up to mainstream politics for some time now. But it was still jarring, during last week’s vice presidential debate, when Sen. Mike Lee of Utah tweeted, simply, “We’re not a democracy.” He later followed up, “Democracy isn’t the objective; liberty, peace, and prosperity are. We want the human condition to flourish. Rank democracy can thwart that.” Read more 

Dominance or democracy? Authoritarian white masculinity as Trump and Pence’s political debate strategy. By Karin Vasby Anderson / The Conversation

I’m Jewish and Don’t Identify as White. Why Must I Check That Box? By Kwame Anthony Appiah / NYT

There are good reasons for white people, in particular, to want to abandon whiteness. One, which you mention, involves the intellectual error. In massing together so many different experiences — including the distinct experiences of white Jews and white gentiles — the system treats unlike cases alike. The experience of anti-Semitism is one reason many Jews have a deeper sense of the harms inflicted by racism than do white people who have not been victims of it. Read more

Americans aren’t worried about white nationalism in the military – because they don’t know it’s there. By Jennifer Spindel, Matt Motta, and Robert Ralston / The Conversation

White nationalist groups, who make up some of the most serious terror threats in the country, find new members and support in the U.S. military. These groups believe that white people are under attack in America. In their effort to create an all-white country where nonwhites do not have civil rights protections, these groups often instigate violent confrontations that target racial and religious minorities. Since 2018, white supremacists have conducted more lethal attacks in the United States than any other domestic extremist movement. Read more 

Couple says they faced discrimination in home appraisal because of wife’s race.  By 

Abena Horton and her husband, Alex Horton, recently did what many homeowners do every day: They requested an appraisal to refinance their Jacksonville, Florida, home. On the day of the appointment, Abena Horton was there to greet the appraiser who would go over their family’s four-bedroom, four-bathroom ranch style home. But when the Hortons got the appraisal back, they thought the price was shockingly low. Abena Horton, an attorney, is Black. Her husband, an artist, is white. Abena Horton decided to conduct her own experiment. She requested a second appraisal, but this time she had her husband greet the appraiser alone, while she and their young son were out of the house. Prior to the appointment, she removed all photos and books showing he had a Black family. Read more

Related: Black Landowners Will Benefit From New Funding to Prevent Land Loss. By Lizzie Presser / ProPublica 

How I Found My Voice as the Only Native Student in My Class. By Nick Martin /  The New Republic

I’m a senior this year at a high school in Wake County, which is the largest public school district in North Carolina. I’m also a member of the Lumbee Tribe. And this year, the Wake County Board of Education officially recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the first time, thanks in part to a speech I gave last fall. I have always been the only Native person at my school, or any school that I’ve been in. In that kind of situation, sharing your experience and your tribe with others isn’t easy. Read more

Related: How Native Americans in Minnesota Beat Back COVID-19. By Devon Haynie / US News  

Indigenous Peoples’ Day: These are the states that have ditched Columbus Day. By Scottie Andrew and AJ Willingham / CNN

Related: Activists have long said a Santa Fe monument celebrated the killings of Native Americans. Crowds toppled it this week. By Christina Maxouris / CNN

I’m Kentucky’s only Black female legislator. Here’s how we get Breonna Taylor justice. By Attica Scott / Wash Post

Millions now know her name. But from the moment Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home by Louisville police, those with the power to right this wrong have tried to erase who she was and what she has come to stand for. To them, her name is not a rallying cry for justice and equity. It is a threat tearing down the rotted foundation on which they stand. They are right to be afraid. We are doing our work of justice in Taylor’s name. As Kentucky’s only female Black legislator, and as the mother of two children near Breonna’s age, I have more than a vested interest in this case. I feel it in my bones. I have taken part in marches and rallies, breathed in tear gas and been accused — ridiculously and falsely — by the Louisville Metro Police Department of trying to burn down a treasured library in my own district. Read more 

Stocks are soaring, but most Black people are missing out. By CBS News

Only 33.5% of Black households owned stocks in 2019, according to data released recently by the Federal Reserve. Among white households, the ownership rate was nearly 61%. Hispanic and other minority households also were less likely than white families to own stock. Many reasons are behind the split. Experts say chief among them is a longstanding preference by many Black investors for safer places to put their money — the legacy, some say, of decades of discrimination and fear. Also, many Black Americans were never taught what they were missing out on. Read more 

12-year-old genius on soaring through college: “I just grasp information quickly.” By Mark Strassman / CBS News

Whip-smart kids apply every year to Georgia Tech. But no one like Caleb Anderson. He’s 12 years old. “I’m not really smart,” he told correspondent Mark Strassmann. “I just grasp information quickly. So, if I learn quicker, then I get ahead faster.” This elite engineering school fell over itself recruiting him. Caleb saw the labs, and met the school’s president, Ángel Cabrera. Read more  

Related: America’s gifted education programs have a race problem. Can it be fixed? By Danielle Drellinger / NBC News 

School Suspension Data Shows Glaring Disparities in Discipline by Race. By Lauren Camera / US News

STUDENTS MISSED OUT ON 11 million instructional days due to out-of-school suspensions in a single academic year, according to new research that details major disparities in how those suspensions are given to Black and Hispanic students and paints a portrait of an alarming and systemic problem with school discipline in the U.S. The findings headline a new report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project and the Learning Policy Institute, which analyzed federal data from the 2015-16 school year for nearly every school district in the country. Read more

California poised to reject affirmative action measure despite summer of activism. By Alexander Nieves / Politico

California voters are poised to reject an affirmative action measure despite a summer of racial justice activism and overwhelming support for Black Lives Matter in one of the nation’s most diverse states. The surprising mood of the California electorate is confounding state lawmakers and political strategists, who believe the moment is riper than ever to repeal a 1996 statewide ban on racial and gender considerations in public hiring and college admissions. A defeat now could delay the return of affirmative action for years, squandering a 2020 opportunity with racial justice top of mind for voters across the U.S.  Read more 

Tragedy and Triumph: The Dorothy Dandridge Story. By Hadley Hall Meares / Vanity Fair

Dorothy Dandridge accomplished many things in her short life; she was the first Black woman nominated for the best-actress Oscar and the first Black woman on the cover of Life magazine. But she was also plagued by ghosts. In her perceptive, often humorous autobiography, Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy, published in 1970—five years after her death—Dandridge and cowriter Earl Conrad lay out her search for love in candid, often luscious prose. “If it is possible for a human being to be like a haunted house,” she writes, “maybe that would be me.” Read more

The Exhausted Radiance of Claudine. By Charles Taylor / Dissent

The 1974 romance Claudine is one of the few true depictions of working-class life in a decade of great films that rarely addressed the topic. By the time Diahann Carroll starred in Claudine, she already meant something to Black audiences: In Julia, the sitcom she starred in for three years, as a nurse and single mother who has lost her husband in Vietnam, Carroll was the first Black woman to headline an American television show who wasn’t playing a maid or a racist cartoon. Carroll, who always exuded a kind of supper-club glamour, might not seem a natural choice to play Claudine, who has lived a life like the characters Barbara Stanwyck played in the tough-minded melodramas she made in the 1930s. Read more

It’s time to end the LeBron James-Michael Jordan debate. By William C. Rhoden / The Undefeated 

By winning his fourth NBA title, LeBron James has not only just leaped into history, he’s also leaped over Michael Jordan in the heated, ongoing debate over which player is greatest. James scored 28 points and had a triple-double Sunday to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the franchise’s 17th NBA title. There has not been another NBA superstar to lead three different teams to a championship: not Jordan, not Magic Johnson, not Kobe Bryant. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Milwaukee Bucks to a title and then helped the Lakers win five, but no one has matched James. Read more 

Related:  LeBron James’s legacy off the court may ultimately mean more than what he did on it. By Mike Wise / Wash Post 

Joe Morgan loved baseball but also challenged its outdated practices.  By Claire Smith / The Undefeated

Joe, Baseball Hall of Famer, was a fierce, larger-than-life advocate for a game that often did not deserve his passion and dedication to its betterment. He stood with pride when winning trophies and World Series, but stood out even more when championing what was right. His calls for equal hiring for managerial candidates, coaches, front-office personnel never ceased. His disdain for those who broke promises or pretended cooperation with inclusivity was never hidden from the public. Joe Morgan, my friend, my brother, died Monday. My heart is broken as another person who taught me through actions how to be a good and honest person has died.  Read more 

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