Race Inquiry Digest (Oct 29) – Important Current Stories On Race In America


Trump’s Army of Angry White Men. By Charles M. Blow / NYT

This election will test the country’s core. Who are we? How did we come to this? How did this country elect Donald Trump and does it have the collective constitution to admit the error and reverse it? At the moment, Joe Biden is leading in the polls, but the fact that Trump is even close — and still has a chance, however slim, to be re-elected — is for a person like me, a Black man, astounding. I assume that there are many women, Muslims, immigrants, Mexicans and people from Haiti and African nations he disparaged who feel the same way. Read more 

Related: The White Extremist Group Patriot Front Is Preparing For A World After Donald Trump. By Jane Lytvynenko / Buzz Feed

Election News

For Black Americans, Being Voters Is Who We Are. By Dorian T. Warren / The Nation

For Black Americans, who have faced generations of authoritarian rule under Jim Crow regimes, the right to vote is central to how we see our place in this democracy and whether we are equal members in this society. To paraphrase the voting rights champion Lani Guinier, Black voters are the “miner’s canary” of our entire system of democracy. Read more

Related: Black Americans are fired up and flocking to the polls. By Faith Karimi / CNN 

Related: ‘A stronghold of the Democratic Party’: How older Black voters could propel Biden to victory. By Zeeshan Aleem / NBC News 

Related: Georgia’s legacy of voter suppression is driving historic Black turnout. By Maya King / Politico 

Related: Women of color will play crucial role in both presidential and local elections. By Jessica Hopper Stephanie Lorenzo and Allie Yang / ABC News 

Related: What issues will win the Latino vote on election day? 

Related: Asian American vote carries newfound weight in swing state N.C. By Celeste Katz Marston / NBC News

Related: Who are the Asian Americans still voting for Trump in spite of his ‘China virus’ rhetoric? By Kimmy Yam / NBC News 

Related: Many Latino Men Are Supporting President Trump In Tuesday’s Vote. By Leila Fadel / NPR

Political / Social

Can a Democracy on the Brink of Authoritarianism Recover? By David Corn / Mother Jones

Donald Trump’s presidency has been a boon for at least one particular pocket of political science: the study of democracies and autocratic regimes. Since Trump strode into the White House and started trampling norms, there have been a flood of articles and numerous best-selling books on the fall of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism. History is indeed replete with vivid examples of the decline of democracies—and with the transition of repressive states into democracies. Read more 

Trump aide Stephen Miller preparing second-term immigration blitz. By Amanda Holpuch / The Guardian

The architect of Donald Trump’s hardline immigration policy, senior adviser Stephen Miller, is said to have a drawer full of executive orders ready to be signed in “shock and awe” style if Trump is re-elected. The 35-year-old has managed to keep his position as a senior adviser to the president after being outed for having an affinity for white nationalism. Read more 

How to spot voter intimidation and what to do. By Briana Stewart and Abby Cruz / ABC News

With the presidential election just days away, record voter turnout is being met with the specter of voter intimidation, leaving some Americans with fears of confrontation at the polls from now until Nov. 3. Civil rights advocates, election experts, and government officials have expressed heightened concerns following President Donald Trump’s recent call for his supporters to “go into the polls and watch” for possible voting fraud, as well as his reelection campaign’s recruitment and training what it has called an “army” of supporters to become poll watchers. Read more 

Black Senate Candidates in South Tell Democrats to ‘Meet the Moment.’ By Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns / NYT

Mike Espy and Jaime Harrison, two of the five Black Senate candidates in the South this year, may belong to different political generations, but they both came up in a Democratic Party where African-American politicians didn’t talk directly about race in campaigns against white opponents. But there was Mr. Harrison this month, speaking before more than 250 cars at a drive-in rally in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, explicitly urging a mix of white and Black supporters to right the wrongs of the state’s past. Read more 

A Voting Rights Battle in a School Board ‘Coup.’ By Nicholas Casey / NYT

One mother worked at Habitat for Humanity. The other helped teenagers who had run afoul of the law. Their sons played soccer together, and for a few years, the two women also sat on the county school board. They were friendly on the sidelines until 2014, when different battle lines became clear. That was when the Sumter County Board of Education got a new voting map. Donna Minich, who is white, had championed it. She said it was time to shrink the board for the small rural county, something state officials had urged for years. But Carolyn Whitehead, who is African-American, saw the map as a potential threat. Read more 

Black man shot dead by police in Philadelphia, sparking heated protests. By Rachel Elbaum, Kurt Chirbas, Colin Sheeley and Julie Goldstein / NBC News

Police in Philadelphia shot and killed a Black man on Monday, triggering protests that saw at least 30 officers injured, officials said. Police said they shot Walter Wallace Jr., 27, after responding to a call about a man armed with a knife. The responding officers ordered Wallace “several times” to drop the knife and he continued to “advance towards” them, according to a statement. They then fired their weapons “multiple times,” shooting him in the chest and shoulder, and he was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 4 p.m., the statement added. Read more 

Related: Philadelphia prepares for another night of protests over Walter Wallace killing after second night turns violent. N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Jeff Neiburg, / USA TODAY

Kushner, Employing Racist Stereotype, Questions if Black Americans ‘Want to Be Successful.’ By Annie Karni / NYT

On Monday, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, played into a racist stereotype by seeming to question whether Black Americans “want to be successful” despite what he said Mr. Trump had done for them. Mr. Kushner’s remarks prompted a scathing response from Representative Gwen Moore, a Black Democrat from Wisconsin. She tweeted: “Trust fund baby slumlord Kushner who has enriched himself in the WH takes the silver spoon out of his mouth long enough to insert his foot with a racist trope about Black people and success.” Read more 

Related: Obama blasts Kushner for suggesting that Black Americans need to ‘want’ to be successful. By Caitlin Oprysko / Politico 

A knee on his neck. George Floyd’s America. By Arelis R. Hernandez / Wash Post

Police were a part of George Floyd’s life from beginning to end, an experience uncommon for most Americans, except other Black men. They were there when Floyd and his siblings played basketball at the Cuney Homes housing project, driving their patrol cars through the makeshift courts. They were there when he walked home from school, interrogating him about the contents of his backpack. They were there when he went on late-night snack runs to the store, stopping his car and throwing him to the ground. They were there, surrounding his mother’s home, as his family prepared for their grandfather’s funeral. Read more

What is the NFAC? An all-Black group arming itself and demanding change.  By Nicole Chavez, Ryan Young and Angela Barajas / CNN

When two loud bangs rang out on the streets of Lafayette, Louisiana, no one knew where the gunshots came from as protesters gathered to demand justice for another Black man killed by police. Among the crowd was a group of armed Black men and women who call themselves the “Not F**king Around Coalition” or NFAC. The group did not run toward the gunshots or break formation. Instead, they kneeled on the ground amid the confusion, and then walked away after their leader shouted, “fall back! fall back!” The all-Black, Atlanta-based group has grown in size out of frustration during a summer of protests against questionable policing and the deaths of countless Black people at the hands of police, said their founder John Fitzgerald Johnson. Read more 

83 former D.C. federal prosecutors support changes to address racial bias. By Keith L. Alexander / Wash Post

They called for implicit-bias training for prosecutors and for a new focus on alternatives to incarceration. They said the job of a prosecutor should not be confined to an office or courtroom. Prosecutors, they said, should develop relationships in the communities they serve, attending meetings and events. And prosecutors should be required to visit the city’s jail to better understand the impact on those who are locked up. The proposals, the prosecutors wrote, would lead to better decisions in prosecuting cases and help secure trust and bring more just outcomes in a city where they said the majority of victims, suspects and witnesses are Black. Read more 

To Reduce Racial Inequality, Raise the Minimum Wage. By Ellora Derenoncourt and 

Our new research shows that Congress’s decision in 1966 to both raise the minimum wage and expand it to workers in previously unprotected industries led to a significant drop in earnings inequality between Black and white Americans — and explains more than 20 percent of the overall reduction during this period. The findings suggest that raising and expanding the minimum wage could once again reduce the persistent earnings divide between white workers and Black, Hispanic and Native American workers. Read more

Related: Racial inequity in California is real. Is Prop. 16 the answer? By George Skelton / LA Times

Black Women Were Among The Fastest-Growing Entrepreneurs—Then Covid Arrived. By Ruth Umoh / Forbes

For years, Black women have created new businesses at a rapid clip, far outpacing other racial and ethnic groups. But strong financial headwinds from the pandemic and a lack of access to new funding sources threaten to wipe out decades of economic progress, leaving Black female business owners in a state of perpetual uncertainty, waiting for relief they fear will never come. Read more

History / Culture

Black Art and Poetry Elevate a Tribute to Civil Rights Leaders. By Maya Phillips / NYT

During the last several months, between the scourge of Covid-19 and the spate of Black deaths resulting from police brutality, Blackness has become a concept loaded with fresh injuries. In “The Baptism,” a short, abstract video tribute to Representative John Lewis and the civil rights leader C.T. Vivian, Blackness isn’t divorced from the tragedies but carefully picked apart and examined through an existential lens. The result is a work that is freeing and radical in a way that Black art so often doesn’t get to be. Read more 

Whitney Houston Becomes First Black Artist To Sell Three Diamond-Certified Albums. By Carlie Porterfield / Forbes

Legendary R&B singer Whitney Houston, who sold hundreds of millions of records before her untimely death in 2012, officially became the first Black artist in history to have three diamond-certified albums, a fitting achievement that comes a week ahead of Houston’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Read more  

Protecting Your Birth: A Guide For Black Mothers. By 

The data is heartbreakingly clear: Black women in America have more than a three times higher risk of death related to pregnancy and childbirth than their white peers. This is regardless of factors like higher education and financial means, and for women over 30, the risk is as much as five times higher. While the recent national dialogue created in response to the data has been a critical leap forward, it has also brought up a lot of fear and questions from Black women about how we can prevent these outcomes. Read more

LeBron James to produce documentary on 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. By Zoe Christen Jones / CBS News

“With the lack of historic journalism around ‘Black Wall Street’ and the Tulsa Massacre of 1921, we are honored to be partnered with CNN, which has a long-standing record of credible and groundbreaking journalism,” said Jamal Henderson, the chief operating officer of SpringHill. James, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar, will serve as an executive producer for the project. While proven by both survivors and public records, the Tulsa Race Massacre has long stood as a distinct episode of American history that has remained under-documented. In 1921, a false report of a Black man assaulting a White woman led to a bloody attack on Tulsa’s Black residents. Read more 


Jackie Robinson challenged baseball and others to acknowledge, value Black life. By Doug Glanville / The Undefeated

When Jackie Robinson crossed the baseball color line in 1947, we knew it was violating many sacred constructs that shaped American society. This line was hardly drawn in chalk. It was solid like a wall, electrified with America’s reluctance to see humanity on the other side. There was a social order and a Black baseball player was not supposed to be on the roster. Yet the bricks started to be removed, where baseball could not turn back. Read more

If the Supreme Court tosses Obamacare, football players will feel the loss. By Kevin B. Blackstone / Wash Post

They shouldn’t forget that they play for owners who have donated mostly to the very Republican politicians who backed the right-leaning imbalance Barrett is expected to bring to the court. Players should create their own political action committees or other organizations to financially back politicians who will protect them rather than do them harm. As DeMaurice Smith told a CBS News audience on the morning of the Super Bowl in 2017: “We have a 100 percent injury rate in the National Football League. And so every player leaves the National Football League with a preexisting condition. Every NFL player should be concerned if the ACA is overturned,” Smith told me this month. Read more 

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