Race Inquiry Digest (September 20) – Important Current Stories On Race In America

Feature –  Are today’s white kids less racist than their grandparents?  In America’s children, we often see hope for a better future, especially when it comes to reducing racism. Each new generation of white people, the thinking goes, will naturally and inevitably be more open-minded and tolerant than previous ones. But do we have any reason to believe this? Should we have faith that today’s white kids will help make our society less racist and more equitable? Previous research has had mixed findings. So in order to explore more fully what white kids think about race, I went straight to the source: white children themselves. In my new book, “White Kids: Growing Up with Privilege in a Racially Divided America,” I explore how 36 white, affluent kids think and talk about race, racism, privilege and inequality in their everyday lives. Read more 

Whites stereotype black neighborhoods more than black people. In a series of studies, Bonam has found that white Americans hold ironclad stereotypes about black neighborhoods—even when they display little or no animus toward black people. They’re likely to infer from the presence of a black family that a neighborhood is “impoverished, crime-ridden, and dirty,” though they make none of those assumptions about an identical white family in the same house. They’ll knock the value of a house down by $20,000, or nearly 15 percent, if they believe the neighborhood is black. Read more 

The Origins of America’s Enduring Divisions. “To write history is to make an argument by telling a story,” Jill Lepore once explained. And the argument a historian makes about America’s long, turbulent, and demographically complex past—from the arrival of the first European settlers in the sixteenth century to the triumph of Donald Trump—depends upon the story she chooses to tell. Read more

At The University of Florida, black students feel a reckoning on race is long overdue. These students know of Virgil Hawkins, a black man denied entry into the College of Law in 1949. Hawkins battled in court for years before agreeing, in 1958, to withdraw his application in exchange for a state Supreme Court order desegregating UF’s graduate-level schools. Yet more than a decade later, just 343 of 20,000 students were black. Read more 

“I Certainly Didn’t Think of Myself as Asian.” The Indian American author of a new memoir on her particular immigrant experience. In hew new memoir, Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America, Sharmila Sen recounts emigrating to America in 1982 at the age of 11 from the Indian state of West Bengal.* The book is about growing up in America—in the Boston area, specifically—in the 1980s and her conception of her own race and identity during that time. Read more 

A Man Says His DNA Test Proves He’s Black, and He’s Suing. In 2014, Ralph Taylor applied to have his insurance company in Washington State certified as a “disadvantaged business enterprise.” The DBE program at the U.S. Department of Transportation was originally designed to help minority- and woman-owned businesses win government contracts. So as proof of his minority status, Taylor submitted the results of a DNA test, estimating his ancestry to be 90 percent European, 6 percent indigenous American, and 4 percent sub-Saharan African. Read more 

New York Elects Its Next Anti-Trump Warrior. By winning the Democratic primary to be New York’s next attorney general, Tish James is now virtually guaranteed to become the state’s top legal officer this November. That position will almost immediately make her into a national figure—and perhaps the most influential state official in the country who isn’t a governor. Read more 

The NFL’s Rooney Rule: why football’s racial divide is larger than ever
. The NFL’s Rooney Rule has helped minority head coaches advance their careers. But the racial disparity between offensive and defensive coordinators has never been greater. Read more 

When a Slave Becomes Free. Esi Edugyan’s new novel, Washington Black, which has already been longlisted for the Booker Prize, is the story of the eponymous central character, who in the 1830s is a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. Black is exceptionally bright—he is only 11 when the book starts, but already has both artistic and scientific gifts—and develops a strange, complex relationship with his plantation master’s brother. That leads the book to many surprising twists, including a wild journey on a hot air balloon and a move to Canada, where Edugyan herself was born to Ghanaian parents. Read more 

Black Patients Miss Out On Promising Cancer Drugs. A ProPublica analysis found that black people and Native Americans are under-represented in clinical trials of new drugs, even when the treatment is aimed at a type of cancer that disproportionately affects them. Read more 

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