Race Inquiry Digest (October 11) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Feature – In Brazil and the US, democracy is at a crossroads. Voters in Brazil and the US face elections in the coming weeks whose outcomes will directly influence the future of democracy in the Americas.

In Brazil, the candidate who captured 46% of the votes in Saturday’s first-round presidential elections, Jair Bolsonaro, is pro-torture and speaks in favor of military rule as a way to solve deep societal problems. Bolsonaro will face leftist Fernando Haddad, who gained 29.3% of the first-round votes, in final elections on 28 October. In the US, the process of filling Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the supreme court underscored the indifference, if not contempt, with which President Trump and Republicans in Congress treat basic democratic norms. Pro- and anti-Trump forces have mobilized voters around this and other crucial issues, such as immigration and women’s rights, for the 6 November elections. Jeffrey W. Rubin / The Guardian Read more 

Powerful, Privileged White Men Will Not Win Forever. We watched Brett Kavanaugh cry, lash out, bully and deflect in the face of sexual assault allegations because he wasn’t getting what he felt like he deserved. We watched thousands of people at rallies cheer on a president who continues to produce a less ethnically aware and inclusive America. We who envision a more just America have the powers that be shook, and we may soon have them on the run if we can channel our anger and grief into action. Brandi Miller / HuffPost Read more 

The Origins of Prison Slavery. How Southern whites found replacements for their emancipated slaves in the prison system. The link between prison labor and slavery is not merely rhetorical. At the end of the Civil War, the thirteenth amendment abolished slavery “except as a punishment for a crime.” This opened the door for more than a century of forced labor that was in many ways identical to, and in some ways worse than, slavery. The following is an excerpt from my new book, American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey Into the Business of Punishment. Shane Bauer / Slate Read more

A Last Hope for Truth in a Mass Lynching. A federal appeals court should release records of a grand jury that held no one responsible for a 1946 Georgia horror. More than 100 people were summoned to a grand jury that failed to indict anyone in the deaths of George W. Dorsey, his wife, Mae Murray Dorsey, and Roger and Dorothy Malcom. Shown are  mourners attending the burial of the World War II veteran George Dorsey and his sister, Dorothy Malcom. The Editorial Board / NYT Read more

The Rise and Fall of Affirmative Action. With a lawsuit against Harvard, Asian-American activists have formed an alliance with a white conservative to change higher education. Did they want Harvard to be fifty per cent Asian? It seemed evident that, if this ever happened, the prestige, the aura of selective élitism, wouldn’t accrue to such a student body—Harvard would no longer be Harvard. Hua Hsu / The New Yorker Read more 

I Pretended To Be White To Find Out Why White People Support Confederate Monuments. I have written today about a group of people who feel genuine fear and believe beyond any doubt that their lives and their values are in critical danger. Years of systems and interactions, or lack thereof, have allowed these fears to cultivate to the violent, intractable level we see today. Alecia Smith / HuffPost Read more 

In a Mississippi Restaurant, Two Americas Coexist Side by Side. Crystal Walls and Lovetta Green have the easy warmth that comes with working together 23 years, Ms. Walls as a waitress and Ms. Green in the kitchen of the restaurant where everyone in town seems to gather. Shown is Lovetta Green who stayed away from President Trump’s rally last week because she dilikes him so much. Susan Chira and Ellen Ann Fentress / NYT Read more

Georgia Governor’s Race Is Epic Showdown Over Voting Rights. In early 2014, Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D) undertook an ambitious effort to make Georgia’s voter rolls look more like its population. The New Georgia Project aimed to register 800,000 new minority and young voters within the decade, awakening the sleeping giant of the state’s fast-growing minority communities and giving Democrats like her a chance to compete statewide. That seemed to alarm her current opponent for governor, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R). Cameron Joseph / Talkingpointsmemo Read more 

Why Are Black Women Less Likely To Stick With A Breast Cancer Follow-Up Treatment? A study, recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, showed that black women were more likely than white women to have difficulty affording and taking endocrine therapy, a 10-year treatment prescribed for women with certain types of breast cancer. Read more

Where we live, block by block. Mapping this diversity reveals not just a snapshot of today but the imprint of two and a half centuries of migration, conflict, and prosperity. This story is part of Diversity in America, a National Geographic series covering racial, ethnic, and religious groups and examining their changing roles in 21st-century life. Matthew W. Chwastyk, Kennedy Elliott, and Ryan Morris / National Geographic Find your city here 

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