Race Inquiry Digest (Sept 5) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Featured – Welcome to the Year of the Black Quarterback. By Jason Reid / The Undefeated

This is week zero of a new NFL. The reigning MVP is a black quarterback, the highest-paid player in league history is a black QB, the No. 1 overall draft pick is a black signal-caller, multiple franchises have black men as their face who are also in line for new deals in excess of $100 million. After decades of being blocked, black folk have changed the NFL under center, and the league will never be the same. Read more

Andrew Luck and the NFL’s Looming Crisis of Race and Class. By Dave Zirin / The Nation

When an affluent, young, white quarterback walks away, it rips the mask off the race and class dynamics of the league. Losing players like Andrew Luck promises a future when the mask is ripped clean off the NFL and the sport is plainly poor black players playing for wealthy white fans living vicariously through fantasy football and a violence that they don’t have to personally endure. Read more

Why black voters are backing two old white guys. By Maya King / Politico

Joe Biden has amassed a staggering lead among older African Americans, commanding nearly two-thirds support of black voters 65 and older in the most recent Morning Consult poll. Bernie Sanders is the favorite of black millennials, though his margin with that group is much smaller. Among all black voters, Biden is leading Sanders, 41 percent to 20 percent. Read more

What Nashville can teach New York about school desegregation. By Ansley T. Erickson / Wash Post

Last week, New York’s School Diversity Advisory Group released new recommendations, which included substantial policy changes like reworking “gifted and talented” education to address the ways it concentrates white and Asian students in those programs and segregates them from their black and Latinx peers. New York in 2019 and Nashville in the 1970s might seem far away from one another. But Nashville offers important lessons for the present. The most important: In many ways, desegregation works. Read more

School District ‘Secession’ Is Segregation By Another Name. By Rebecca Klein / HuffPost

When Penn State University professor Erica Frankenberg graduated from high school in Alabama, there was only one school district in Mobile County. Now, over 20 years later, it is one of four districts. In the past decade, three communities have splintered off to create their own districts, and, in doing so, they have exacerbated segregation in the area. The process is called school district secession. Around the country, it’s changing the nature of school segregation. Read more

The White Power Movement From Reagan to Trump. By John Wiener / The Nation

Kathleen Belew explains the links among “lone wolf” white supremacist attacks like those in Charleston, Christchurch, and El Paso. Kathleen Belew teaches history at the University of Chicago and is the author of Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement in Paramilitary America. This interview has been edited and condensed. Read more

North Carolina Court Strikes Down Gerrymander, Citing Smoking Gun Evidence in the Hofeller Files. By Mark Joseph Stern / Slate

A North Carolina court struck down the state’s legislative maps on Tuesday, ruling that the districts amounted to a partisan gerrymander in violation of the state constitution. Republican legislators have indicated that they will comply with the sweeping, emphatic decision. There is thus a strong probability that the state’s 2020 legislative elections will be held under fair maps, potentially breaking state Republicans’ stranglehold on power. Read more

Freedom Without Citizenship, Reconciliation without Reparations. By Westenley Alcenat / AAIHS   

While Black citizenship experienced great potential in the late nineteenth century, the transition from slavery to freedom and from sharecropping to the semi-feudalistic Jim Crowism of most of the twentieth century wiped out the democratic legacies of Reconstruction. A history of the present does not bode well either. Read more

The Former Slave Who Sued for Reparations, and Won. By W. Caleb McDaniel / NYT

The debate over reparations has re-entered American politics. At congressional hearings, primary debates and across social media many people are talking about what reparations could look like and who might get them. But the story of Henrietta Wood, a formerly enslaved woman who sued for restitution and won is missing from the discussion. Her little-known victory offers lessons for today, both about the impact restitution can make and about the limited power of payment alone. Read more

Immigration in America Is Increasingly Asian, Female, and Middle-Class. Why Don’t We Talk About It? By Laura Thompson / Mother Jones

A conversation with New York Times reporter Jason DeParle about his new book. His latest book, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves, follows Rosalie Comodas Villanueva, who was 15 when DeParle was living in Manila, from her childhood in a shantytown in the Philippines through college and eventually to a career as a nurse. She worked in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates before moving her husband and three children to a large home in the Houston suburbs. Through it all, she supports her family back in that Manila shack. Read more

The graying of America’s prisons: ‘When is enough enough?’ By Eileen Rivers / USA

One of Wayne Pray’s earliest run-ins with the criminal justice system occurred when he was 22. He was arrested for having pills in two envelopes. At 29, he was given probation on fraud charges. Now 71, Pray has been locked up for three decades on nonviolent offenses, most recently at the federal prison in Otisville, New York. He is one of about 20,000 older federal inmates — prisoners over 55 who are among the fastest growing population in the federal system. Many of them were given life amid the war on drugs of the 1990s. One in five African American prisoners are in for life. Read more

Cherokee Nation Names First Delegate To Congress. By Graham Lee Brewer / NPR

The Cherokee Nation has named its first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Former Obama appointee Kimberly Teehee’s nomination was approved by the tribe’s council on Thursday. Although the treaty that created this nonvoting position is almost 200 years old, it had never been filled. The article outlining the right to a delegate is in the Treaty of New Echota. The 1835 treaty is also the document that led to the Trail of Tears, something that has been top of mind for Teehee. She points out the treaty gave up the Cherokee’s homelands and cost the tribe thousands of lives. Read more

It’s About Time!’ Betye Saar’s Long Climb to the Summit. By Holland Cotter / NYT

I ask the artist Betye Saar, who is 93 and set to open concurrent solo shows this fall at two major museums — the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art — if she has any theories as to why big-ticket attention is finally coming her way. She skips mentioning the obvious factors: She’s a woman; she’s black; she’s lived her whole life on what she calls “the other side of the planet” (Southern California). “Because it’s about time!” she says. “I’ve had to wait till I’m practically 100.” Read more

The Voice That Shattered Glass. How Ella Fitzgerald’s cassette campaign fueled a late-career renaissance. By Michelle Mercer / NPR

In a 1985 interview, Fitzgerald remembered her Memorex audition at the Algonquin Hotel in New York: “They asked me to do the ending of ‘How High the Moon.’ I just kept singing, ‘High, high the moon,’ doing the ending. And when the glass broke, they said, ‘That’s the one!’ Then I got the job. … A lot of people say, ‘Did you really break the glass?’ We had to prove that. They had lawyers there.” Read more

The W.N.B.A. Is Putting On Some of the Best Pro Basketball in America. Why aren’t more fans showing up? By Kim Tingley / NYT

Though women have been playing basketball competitively since shortly after the game’s invention in 1891, perhaps the most direct impetus for the W.N.B.A. was a single college season — that of the 1994-95 University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, led by its star, Rebecca Lobo, now an ESPN commentator, and its still-dominant coach, Geno Auriemma — whose undefeated run, which happened to take place during an N.H.L. lockout, captivated the country. So, too, did the 1996 Olympic team, stacked with household names at the time like Lobo, Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie and Dawn Staley, which won gold in Atlanta. Read more

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