Race Inquiry Digest (September 17) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Feature – This is the most important thing you will do all year. The 2016 presidential election taught us the bitter consequences of not going to the polls. By the time the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson got his chance to speak, Aretha Franklin’s eight -hour homegoing service was nearly half over. But Jackson’s message loomed large over the day. Jackson said sorrowfully, “We have long lines to celebrate death and short lines for voting.” He added, “If you leave here today and don’t register to vote, you’ll dishonor Aretha.” Jackson struck a nerve — or at least I hope he did. Nothing you do this year will be more important than casting a ballot in November. Read more

The ongoing controversy around a black man killed by police in his own home, explained.  An off-duty Dallas police officer shot Botham Jean in his own apartment. A week later, there are more questions than answers. Read more

Police killings, brutality damaging mental health of black community. Boston University’s School of Health and the University of Pennsylvania released a study that found the high rate of unarmed African Americans being killed at the hands of police has caused more incidents of depression, stress and other mental health issues among blacks. In other words, overwhelming police brutality is damaging the mental health of African Americans — even those who have no direct connection to men, women and teens who have lost their lives. Read more

The Majestic, Rule-Breaking ‘Hale County’ Questions How We Observe Black Bodies. RaMell Ross’s majestic debut documentary follows two men in Hale County, Alabama over the course of five years, probing the politics of representing and observing black bodies. Ross documents Hale County as a rural, majority black town with sprawling fields, wild skies, and dark concrete lots. But, for the most part, Ross withholds any real sense of place, opting instead to deliver lengthy shots of country landscapes out of car windows and static takes in the town church or on a family porch. Read more 

Defining Latino: Young people talk identity, belonging. Young Latinos talk about how their American experience has defined their identity at a time when Latinos, ages 18-34, are part of one of the largest and fastest-growing youth populations in the country. Watch here 

San Francisco Removes Statue Of Native Man At Feet Of Colonizers. The statue depicts “the degradation and genocide of Native American peoples” using stereotypes that “are now universally viewed as disrespectful, misleading, and racist,” the arts commission said in February. Read more 

Eyewitness to the Desolation of ‘Black Wall Street.’ Her name is Olivia J. Hooker, and she is a sharp and glorious 103 years old. Not only was she the first African-American women to join the Coast Guard, not only was she a psychology professor and activist, but she is one of the last known survivors of the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. Read more

Maybe This Naomi Osaka Family Photo Will Get Reporters To Finally Stop Ignoring Her Black Heritage. We recently published a list of need-to-know facts about the 20-year-old champ, and one of the things we highlighted is how proud the rising tennis star is of both her Haitian and Japanese heritage. Read more

Schools Have Committed to Hiring Teachers of Color. Now They Need to Keep Them. Numerous recent research studies bear out the importance of having teachers of color in classrooms. Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school, for example. Read more

Before Asian Americans sued Harvard, the school once tried restricting the number of Jews. In the early 20th century, some of Harvard’s leaders were deeply upset. Jews — “Hebrews” as they were dubbed at the Cambridge campus — were on the rise. Today, Harvard is essentially being accused of doing the same thing to Asian Americans. Read more

Stacey Abrams’ Identity Politics.  Abrams is polling in a virtual tie with Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the Republican nominee for governor, but strategists on both sides say if she is going to make history as the first black female governor in the nation, she first has to make inroads in the rural parts of the state, which tend to be whiter and more conservative. Read more 

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