Race Inquiry Digest (Sept 16) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Teaching Hard History. Preface by Hasan Kwame Jeffries / Southern Poverty Law Center

Schools are not adequately teaching the history of American slavery, educators are not sufficiently prepared to teach it, textbooks do not have enough material about it, and – as a result – students lack a basic knowledge of the important role it played in shaping the United States and the impact it continues to have on race relations in America. Read more

The Ticking Time Bomb in Biden’s ‘Record Player’ Answer. Jeff Greenfield / Politico

Once upon a time, in the long ago pre-social media days, it took a day or so for the full impact of a debate answer to emerge. When President Gerald R. Ford declared in 1976, “there is no Soviet domination of Poland,” it took a day’s worth of analysis for the firestorm of ridicule to ignite. You’d think in an age of instant communication that would no longer be true. But the next day or so will tell us whether an answer Joe Biden gave in Houston might come back to haunt him. Read more

“Racism in America Is Endemic”: Democratic Candidates Vow to Confront White Supremacy & Legacy of Slavery. By Juan Gonzalez / Democracy Now

During the third Democratic debate Thursday night, the discussion of race and racism got personal for former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, who brought up last month’s El Paso massacre. He said the white gunman who killed 22 people, mostly Latinos, had driven to the border city “to kill people who look like me.” Former Texas Congressmember Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, said racism is endemic and foundational of the United States. He mentioned that this year will mark the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved African being brought to America, and promised he would create a slavery reparations commission. Watch here

The Democratic Candidates Did Nothing to Appeal to Hispanic Voters. By Jorge G. Castaneda / NYT

Perhaps the most notable feature of the Democratic presidential debate in Houston on Thursday was what the candidates did not say about Latin America, immigration, asylum and border security. This was in stark contrast to the detail with which they addressed health care, education, gun control and the war in Afghanistan. Their silence, half-truths or platitudes on these issues was surprising. Read more

O’Rourke Promises To ‘Take Your AR-15,’ But Americans Are Split On Buybacks. By Brandon Carter / NPR

His plan to combat gun violence links guns and white nationalism, and he told the NPR Politics Podcast last month that law enforcement’s top priority should be white nationalism and white supremacy. “With 40,000 gun violence deaths in this country, not all of them are connected to white nationalism, white supremacy or white terrorism,” he said. “But … you do have to connect the hatred, the racism, the president’s words and actions with the accessibility of those weapons that afford someone the means to conduct this kind of terror in this country.” Read more

Civil Rights Groups Challenge Trump’s “Racially Discriminatory Scheme” to Skew Redistricting. Ari Berman / Mother Jones

In July, the Trump administration abandoned its push to add a controversial question about US citizenship to the 2020 census after the Supreme Court blocked the move. Instead, President Donald Trump issued an executive order instructing the Census Bureau to collect citizenship data using administrative records. On Friday, civil rights groups filed the first lawsuit challenging the executive order, claiming it was “motivated by a racially discriminatory scheme to reduce Latino political representation and increase the overrepresentation of non-Latino Whites, thereby advantaging White voters at Latino voters’ expense.” Read more

How Black Americans Were Robbed of Their Land. Video by The Atlantic

Over the course of the 20th century, black Americans have lost approximately 12 million acres of land. This mass land dispossession—a war waged by deed of title, which has affected 98 percent of black farmers—can only be called theft, says Atlantic writer Vann R. Newkirk II in a new documentary. Watch here

Couples in Virginia will no longer have to disclose race to obtain a marriage license. By Minyvonne Burke / NBC News

People seeking a marriage license in Virginia will no longer have to disclose their race, the state’s attorney general said, announcing that he is eliminating the requirement that sparked three couples to file a lawsuit. Read more

Crystal Mason Reacts To Felicity Huffman’s 14-Day Prison Sentence. By Sam levine / HuffPost

News of actor Felicity Huffman’s sentence to 14 days in prison on Friday prompted many on social media to compare her sentence to that of Crystal Mason, a Texas woman who faces five years in prison for casting a provisional ballot. Mason was convicted of illegal voting after casting a provisional ballot in 2016 while on supervised release for a federal felony, but says she didn’t know she was ineligible to vote. Read more  Also see, Texas Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments to Overturn Crystal Mason’s Prison Sentence for Illegally Voting.

The Ongoing Struggle of the Black Ivy League. By Alaina Morgan / AAIHS

The successful petition of Columbia Law School’s Black Law students follows in the legacy of the activism and persistence of the thousands of Black Ivy Leaguers that Stefan Bradley so thoroughly details in his new monograph, Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League. Read more

Lupita Nyong’o Talks Us, Black Panther, Her Oscar and Americana. By Kimberly Drew / Vanity Fair

In 2017, Nyong’o made headlines because her hair was photoshopped for the U.K. cover of the Italian magazine Grazia. Nyong’o called the magazine out in an Instagram post, including photos of her unretouched image and a caption that stated, “Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture.” Read more

Restoring Black Cowboys to the Range. By Sarah Maslin Nir / NYT

At the Black Cowboy Museum in a storefront near Houston, one man celebrates the lives of African-Americans in the West’s most iconic role. For most of his adult life, some part of Mr. Callies wondered what part people who looked like him had played in the American West; he was unaware of its rich legacy of black cowboys. Until one rainy day about two decades ago, cleaning out a barn at a guest ranch where he worked, he came across an antique photo from 1880s. In it eight cowboys sat astride eight horses. Read more

Country Music Is More Diverse Than You Think. By Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan / NYT

Mr. Burns is the director and producer of the PBS series “Country Music.” Mr. Duncan is the writer and producer of the documentary and author of its companion book. Shown is Charlie Pride. Common stereotypes overlook the roles that blacks and women have played in shaping a uniquely American genre. This spring the rapper Lil Nas X, who is black, released “Old Town Road,” a twang-inflected song that rocketed to the top of the country music charts — even though Billboard temporarily removed it from the list, saying it wasn’t sufficiently “country.” Read more

“You’re Gonna See a Lot Of Swag”: James Harden on the New Houston Rockets and His Latest Sneaker/ By Dan Adler / Vanity Fair

James Harden says he has a new move in his arsenal for the upcoming NBA season. One of the greatest scorers in the history of the game has been targeted by defenses during his 10-season career, and he’s had to innovate. This off-season, he’s been demoing the maneuver on his Instagram, and encouraging others to try it out too: a running, one-legged three-pointer. If he’s serious about it—and despite the shot’s, well, unconventional appearance, he insists he is—it’ll probably work. Read more

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