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Race Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Robin Rue Simmons

How the long fight for slavery reparations is slowly being won

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

In a suburb of Chicago, the world’s first government-funded slavery reparations programme is beginning. Robin Rue Simmons helped make it happen – but her victory has been more than 200 years in the making By Kris Manjapra, The Guardian — It began with an email. On an especially cold day in Evanston, Illinois, in February 2019, Robin Rue Simmons, 43 years old and two years into her first term as…

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George Wallace blocking a federal agent from entering the University of Alabama to enroll Black students, 1963.

Is Freedom White?

By Editors' Choice

In a political season of dog whistles, we must be attentive to how talk of American freedom has long been connected to the presumed right of whites to dominate everyone else. By Jefferson Cowie, Boston Review — “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” Alabama governor George Wallace’s most famous sentence fired through the frigid air on the coldest day anyone in the state could remember. His 1963 inaugural address—written by a…

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Housing Segregation

Black Households Earned 61 Cents for Every Dollar of White Median Incomes

By Commentaries/Opinions

Police violence linked to segregated housing. By Charlene Crowell — The August 23 police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, WI, triggered yet another round of community protests and national news coverage of a Black man. A series of multiple gunshots fired by a local police officer, were not fatal for 29-year old Jacob Blake; but may have permanently paralyzed him from the waist down. Days later on…

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Jacob Blake

The “Bad Guy” Narrative is Back Again — This Time it’s Jacob Blake

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson — You could have mailed this one in.  The “this” is the cynical, calculated, cold hearted, factually challenged assertion that Jacob Blake was really the bad guy. The bad guy that Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey had almost no choice but to use deadly force to protect himself against. The picture painted of Blake as the villain in the deadly encounter follows almost to  the letter…

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In Wilkerson’s view, racism is only the visible manifestation of something deeper, a hidden system of social domination.

Isabel Wilkerson’s World-Historical Theory of Race and Caste

By Editors' Choice

By comparing white supremacy in the U.S. to the caste system in India, her new book at once illuminates and collapses a complex history. By Sunil Khilnani, The New Yorker — As the summer of 1958 was coming to an end, Martin Luther King, Jr., was newly famous and exhausted. All of twenty-nine years old, he had been travelling across the country for weeks promoting his first book, “Stride Toward…

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Will white people’s participation in Black Lives Matter protests yield real change?

After the civil rights era, white Americans failed to support systemic change to end racism. Will they now?

By Commentaries/Opinions

In principle, white Americans support efforts to end racism. But in practice, they have long been unwilling to support the fundamental change needed to do that. Will this year’s events change that? By Candis Watts Smith — The first wave of the Black Lives Matter movement, which crested after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, had the support of less than half of white Americans. Given that Americans tend…

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Glover, right, and author Ta-Nehisi Coates

History of affirmative action policies show how white people have benefitted

By Editors' Choice

By Christiana Best-Giacomini, Hartford Courant — When most Americans hear “affirmative action,” they often think the phrase is referring to a policy that protects African Americans. What many Americans don’t know is that affirmative actions are policies that were made by white people, to benefit white people, exclusively. Moreover, due to the insidious nature of how these policies and practices are integrated into American institutions and culture, white people continue…

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Shirley Weber, a member of the California Assembly

In California, Ethnic Studies Could Soon Be Required by Law. A Former Professor is Behind It.

By News & Current Affairs

By Marc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education — As Shirley N. Weber built the Africana-studies department at San Diego State University in the 1970s, she spent lots of time defending its existence. Eventually, shaped by her studies of Black social movements, the professor and longtime department chair realized that her defensive posture was self-defeating. She decided to stop answering questions from, as she put it, “old white men.” “The smart…

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A print of U.S. President Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Tallushatchee, 1813.

This Land Is Not Your Land

By Editors' Choice

The Ethnic Cleansing of Native Americans By David Treuer — In his first annual message to the U.S. Congress, in 1829, U.S. President Andrew Jackson—a slave-owning real estate speculator already famous for burning down Creek settlements and hounding the survivors of the Creek War of 1813–14—called for the “voluntary” migration of Native Americans to lands west of the Mississippi River. Six months later, in the spring of 1830, he signed…

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Steven Perry as Henry Temple in “The Big Tall Wish,” a Season 1 episode of The Twilight Zone

Tele-visionary Blackness

By Commentaries/Opinions

By Brandy Monk-Payton, Public Books — I. CHANNELING FREEDOM DREAMS A Black boy presses his forehead and cheek against the television. He shuts his eyes, clasps his hands together, and mutters fervently. It is a scene from “The Big Tall Wish,” a Season 1 episode of The Twilight Zone. The episode, which was released in 1960, follows Bolie Jackson (Ivan Dixon), a washed-up prizefighter who has lost all confidence in his…

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