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94% of Child Migrants Who’ve Received Removal Orders Had No Attorney

94% of Child Migrants Who've Received Removal Orders Had No Attorney

Between July 18 and October 21, immigration courts sped through 800 cases a week to begin processing the tens of thousands of child migrants who crossed the border into the U.S. this past summer, Politico reports. In the same span of time, judges issued 1,542 deportation orders and 94 percent of them went to children who faced their court proceedings without the aid of an attorney.

The public tussle over how children are being fast-tracked through the nation’s notoriously complex immigration system has swung from whether or not the child migrants in question show up at their hearings to whether or not these children deserve to have access to attorneys at all. Because immigration is handled in civil, not criminal courts, those who go before an immigration judge have no right to an attorney. 

The already backlogged immigration courts may not have yet seen the full weight of the child migrant crisis, since in those same three months judges have granted more than 10,000 continuances, which put off court hearings so that children can find the time to seek out the services of an attorney, Politico reported.

In addition to $9 million in federal aid to provide these children, many of whom are under the age of 14 and do not speak English, with attorneys, cities like Oakland, San Francisco, and New York have stepped up to provide legal services. 

Watch the Trailer for ‘Selma’

The trailer for Ava DuVernay’s MLK biopic, “Selma,” is here. The film opens in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day—with a nationwide release January 9, 2015.

Can you say Oscar? 

Jobless Rates Drop to Six-Year Low, Obama Writes to Khamenei, Stevie Wonder on Tour

Jobless Rates Drop to Six-Year Low, Obama Writes to Khamenei, Stevie Wonder on Tour

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Rather than handling its own ridiculous problem of online harassment, Twitter is collaborating Women Action Media, a third party, to create yet another tool to report such harassment. It’s unclear to me at this point who will own what user information and how it may be used in the future. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

In California, Trauma Experienced in Childhood a ‘Public Health Crisis’

In California, Trauma Experienced in Childhood a 'Public Health Crisis'

In Californa, one in six people has confronted severe trauma as a child, according to a new study (PDF) released this week by Bay Area-based health research and advocacy groups Center for Youth Wellness and the Public Health Institute. What’s more, those experiences, classified as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), can negatively impact the health of the adults children become.

The Center for Youth Wellness gathered four years of data on 27,745 Californians and found that 61.7 percent of people in the state had experienced one ACE, while 16 percent had experienced four more more. ACEs fall into three broad categories: abuse, neglect and “household dysfunction,” which encompasses the incarceration of a family member, mental illness, divorce and substance abuse. 

The more ACEs an adult has confronted, the higher their likelihood for serious illnesses like diabetes, stroke and cancer. Those who’ve experienced four or more ACEs, for example, are 2.2 times more likely to experience coronary artery disease. 

In California the most common ACEs adults report experiencing are emotional and verbal abuse, followed by parental divorce or separation, and substance abuse by a family member. Asian-Americans are less likely to report having experienced ACEs, but by and large, childhood trauma is distributed roughly equally across people of all races. For instance, 16.4 percent of whites, 16.5 percent of blacks, 17.3 percent of Latinos and 11.1 percent of Asians report experiencing four or more ACEs. However, the percentage of those who experience high concentrations of ACEs is higher among those who are poorer and have less education. 

Public health researchers in this emerging field have found that the accummulation of these negative life events and struggles constitutes toxic stress which can seriously impact children who are in the midst of important brain and cognitive growth, affecting their physical and mental health years down the line. 

“It’s a public health crisis,” the Center for Youth Wellness’s co-founder Dr. Nadine Burke Harris told KPCC“This is not just a small percentage of the population - that it’s happening in limited neighborhoods - but this is really all of us, and that’s going to require system change.”

h/t KPCC

Forget Congress. Who’s Running Your Statehouse?

Forget Congress. Who's Running Your Statehouse? Play

So put aside the horrific examples John Oliver points out above of shenanigans happening in statehouses all across the country. (Truly. Horrific.) Fact is, Congress has a well-earned reputation for gridlock, whereas statehouses are where bills actually become laws—more than 24,000 this year alone, according to a Washington Post article cited by Oliver. That compares to Congress’ 185 bills passed since January 2013. With that workhorse-meets-constipation disparity in mind then, consider that as of Tuesday, according to Facing South, the GOP further tightened its already dominant grip over the South, gaining 64 seats. (In Alabama, for example, the GOP controls every statewide elected office and all but one congressional seat.) Nationwide, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, after final votes are tallied and recounted, “it appears that Republicans will have a net gain of between 350 and 375 seats and control over 4,100 of the nation’s 7,383 legislative seats”—giving some indication of the thousands of laws to pass (or progressive legislation to stall) over the next few years on everything from abortion rights to low-wage labor organizing, paid sick leave, health care and more.

“Statehouses do a huge amount of work while no one is watching,” Oliver says. He’s right. Less than one-third of U.S. newspapers assign a reporter to the statehouse and nearly 90 percent of local TV news stations do not either, according to a Pew analysis released this July.

G.O.P. Agenda, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Alive, Colon Cancer Rising for Young Adults

G.O.P. Agenda, Carlesha Freeland-Gaither Found Alive, Colon Cancer Rising for Young Adults

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

TAGS: Morning Rush

So How Much Did Obama’s Immigration Delay Hurt Latino Turnout?

So How Much Did Obama's Immigration Delay Hurt Latino Turnout?

At long last, a first take at a concrete answer to what has, up until now, been a mostly speculative conversation. Would President Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration reform put a dent in Latinos’ turnout?

The answer: It likely did.

Today, Latino Decisions, in partnership with National Council of La Raza, the Eva Longoria-sponsored Latino Victory Project, and immigration reform advocacy group America’s Voice, released the final installment of its bilingual, landline and cell-phone poll. Latino Decisions, in addition to polling those who intended to vote, talked to those who were registered but were not interested in participating in the 2014 elections. Among the reasons voters gave for not voting this year were a lack of time in their day (25 percent); a lack of knowledge about their polling place (24 percent); frustration with “bad candidates” (19 percent) and a lack of photo ID required to vote (14 percent). 

Twenty-three percent of non-voting Latinos who responded to the poll said that Obama’s decision to delay executive action made them more enthusiastic about the president and the Democratic Party, while 60 percent of non-voting Latinos said the delay made them less enthusiastic. This is notable because Latinos have historically backed Democrats by wide margins. In every state that Latino Decisions polled save for Florida—Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, North Carolina, Nevada and Texas—respondents said that immigration was the most important issue to them.

And, as what will widely be interpreted as a kick in the pants to Obama, 68 percent of non-voters said that they could be brought back to the polls in 2016 with executive action on immigration reform “before the end of this year,” according to Latino Decisions. 

“In 2012 the thing that drove Latino turnout was [the deportation deferral program for young undocumented immigrants] DACA,” said Latino Decisions’ Matt Barreto. “It’s extremely clear that what drove Latino voter turnout [in 2012] and the record share of the Latino vote Obama got was the enthusiasm he got from enacting DACA.” Obama ought to take pointers from his past wins to help both Latinos and his party, Barreto said.

Alabama Bans Sharia Law and Other 2014 Ballot Measures

Alabama Bans Sharia Law and Other 2014 Ballot Measures

More than 140 ballot measures to amend state laws were in play yesterday. Here’s a sampling of the results that matter:

Sentencing reform passes in “three strikes” California.

Nearly 60 percent of California voters passed Prop. 47, which reduces sentences for simple drug possession and certain theft from a felony to a misdemeanor. It’s projected to reduce sentences for tens of thousands of men and women annually. Following California’s 2008 Marsy’s Law, Illinois voters approved an amendment giving crime victims more rights during criminal prosecutions. And bail reform, which the ACLU predicts will end imprisonment for those who can’t afford bail, passed in New Jersey.

Red state voters want higher minimum wage, too.

Four Republican-majority states—Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota-voted to increase their minimum wage. Nearly 70 percent of Illinois voters also approved a wage hike in a non-binding ballot. San Francisco joined Seattle in raising its minimum wage to $15-an-hour, the highest anywhere in the nation. In other news about the quality of life of low-wage-workers, Massachusetts becomes the third state to mandate paid sick leave, along with municipalities Montclair and Trenton in New Jersey and Oakland’s new law will expand on California’s.

Alabama bans Sharia law.

Seventy-two percent of voters approved the “American and Alabama Laws and Alabama Courts Amendment,” which prevents state courts and other legal authorities from applying foreign laws that violate the rights of Alabama citizens. The amendment has been described as an attack on Muslims. Defenders say it has wider application but that it will prevent Sharia from being argued in custody cases, for example. Six states have similar “foreign laws” bans. And according to Governing, a federal appeals court this year struck down Oklahoma’s, which explicitly mentioned Sharia, for being discriminatory.

Weed is legal in the nation’s capital.

Marijuana arrests are a major driver in the mass incarceration of black and brown people. Tuesday’s elections mean that weed is now legal in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C, joining Colorado and Washington state. Read the fine print on each state and district amendment before lighting up in public, however. 

Public funds for private preschool fails.  

Hawaii voters rejected the use of public funds for private preschool programs. About half of the state’s school children according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, enter kindergarten without a preschool education.

Abortion and reproductive health battles continue.

Amendments extending rights to the unborn fetus failed in Colorado and North Dakota. But, Tennessee voters passed an amendment explicitly stating that nothing in it, ”secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.” 

Don’t drive while undocumented in Oregon.

Nearly 70 percent of Oregon voters defeated a measure that would have issued “driver’s cards” to people without proof of legal residence in the U.S.

Louisiana says no to 9th Ward redevelopment plan in New Orleans.

Nearly 60 percent of voters rejected a constitutional amendment allowing the governing body of New Orleans to sell Lower 9th Ward properties to private individuals at prices as low as $100 per abandoned parcel. Modeled after similar programs in Harlem, Baltimore and Detroit, according to The Times-Picayune, the defeated amendment aimed to jumpstart the redevelopment process in the Lower 9th Ward.

(h/t Ballotpedia)

G.O.P. Takes the Senate—and a Lot More

G.O.P. Takes the Senate--and a Lot More

Republicans only needed six seats to take control of the Senate, but they garnered many more in Tuesday’s midterm election. This could signal major changes on Capitol Hill in the next two years.

In Senate races in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina, Democratic incumbents were vanquished. In other closely-watched Senate elections—those in Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and South Carolina—Republicans were also elected or re-elected. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat who assumed office nearly two decades ago, will now face a runoff against Republican Bill Cassidy. And it’s too soon to tell who will take Virginia in the contest between Democrat Mark Warner, the sitting senator, and Republican Ed Gillespie. At press time, they are nearly tied at a 0.6 percent margin. Even if Landrieu and Warner hold on to their seats, Republicans will still control the Senate. The G.O.P. also maintains its majority in the House.

Republicans fared well in governor races, too—even in blue states like Obama’s own Illinois, where Republican Bruce Rauner was elected, and in Massachusetts, where voters elected Charlie Baker, their first Republican governor since Mitt Romney declined to run for reelection in 2006. Obama held a press conference today about an Election Day that’s being widely described as a referendum on his presidency.

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) won reelection with a handsome lead over Alison Grimes (D). McConnell will become the Senate majority leader. On Monday, he told TIME that he won’t attempt to shut down the government, as Republicans have done in the recent past, and that he’s not looking to repeal Obamacare—at least not fully. He does prioritize the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and his party now has filibuster-proof way to see it through. Obama—who’s avoided making a clear statement on his position on the pipeline—could, of course, veto such legislation. But that doesn’t mean Congress can’t find a way to include it a bigger energy bill.

And what about immigration? As my colleague Julianne Hing writes, immigration reform advocates and national Latino groups are calling on Obama to use his executive power to protect undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president delayed taking such action until after the election, betraying a promise he’d made earlier this year that he’d do so before the election.

During today’s presser, he made a new promise that he’d take executive action before the end of the year. “There’s a cost to waiting,” said a conciliatory Obama today, citing losses to the economy as well as the separation of families. He added that he still hopes Congress will move forward on a comprehensive immigration bill. 

While undocumented immigrants can’t vote themselves, some raised nearly $2,000 in a grassroots effort in North Carolina to buy billboards criticizing Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat. NC Dream Team placed Spanish-language billboards near popular intersections that read, “She started with licenses. Now she wants to take DACA. What will be next? Sen. Hagan is not a friend of immigrants.” The billboard refers to Hagan’s vote against undocumented immigrants receiving driver’s licenses and her vote against the DREAM Act in 2010, a decision that killed the legislation. On Tuesday Hagan lost her Senate seat to Republican Thom Tillis. 

Latino, Immigration Groups Demand Reform After GOP’s Sweeping Wins

Latino, Immigration Groups Demand Reform After GOP's Sweeping Wins

After a triumphant midterm election for the Republican Party, national Latino and immigration reform advocates got back to the message they’ve been pushing for the last two years: calling on President Obama for immediate immigration reform. 

“For most immigrant families struggling to make ends meet, who are living in fear of having their family ripped apart…the elections won’t change much,” Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement. “It is time for President Obama to step up to the plate and lead boldly by using his authority to restore some sanity to our dysfunctional immigration system.”

Latino voters polled by Latino Decisions (PDF) put immigration at the top of their personal policy agendas. According to a Pew Research Center poll, Latinos ranked the issue fourth—after education, the economy and healthcare. Latinos backed Democrats by wide but smaller margins than they did in prior elections. For example, according to Latino Decisions, in the closely watched Colorado Senate race, 71 percent of Latinos backed Democratic candidate Mark Udall yesterday. However, 87 percent of Colorado Latinos voted for President Obama in 2012.

“After last night, Democrats should re-learn the lesson that leaning into immigration is a winner - especially in the runup to the 2016 election where the changing American electorate is likely to show up in full force,” Frank Sharry, executive director of immigration reform group America’s Voice, said in a statement. Sharry has partnered with Latino Decisions to release its polling data. “Moreover, executive action is the right thing to do,” Sharry added.

At a press conference in Chicago today, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez was far more pointed when, with an eye toward 2016, he told his party: “They’re going to be a fight for the heart and soul of the Latino community…and if you’re not doing it don’t expect the resounding support you’ve received in the past.”

G.O.P. Takes Senate, Amnesty Accuses Israel of War Crimes, Skin Tone-Changing Emoji

G.O.P. Takes Senate, Amnesty Accuses Israel of War Crimes, Skin Tone-Changing Emoji

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • You know how you can browse the Web in private mode on your smartphone? It turns out it’s actually not so private, thanks to Verizon and AT&T’s “supercookies.”
TAGS: Morning Rush

Facing Race Spotlight: Trans Latina Activist Isa Noyola

Facing Race Spotlight: Trans Latina Activist Isa Noyola

For Isa Noyola, intersectionality isn’t an academic abstraction that she has the luxury to invoke and discard at will. A program manager at the Transgender Law Center and a national advocate with San Francisco-based El/La Para TransLatinas, Noyola works with trans women, women of color and monolingual immigrants. The political outlook is “a matter of life and death,” she says. 

An intersectional approach has also been central to El/La Para Trans Latinas’ success. Last year the grassroots leadership development organization won a $200,000 grant from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission for violence-prevention work. Noyola says it marked the first time that trans Latinas received funding to develop community leaders in this way.

On Friday, November 14, Noyola will return to her native Texas for Facing Race, a national biannual conference hosted by Colorlines’ publisher Race Forward. She spoke with Colorlines about the urgent mandate for racial justice work that also puts gender at the center of the conversation.

Can you give a concrete example of what intersectionality looks like in action?

At El/La [Para TransLatinas], when we opened in 2006, we were primarily funded to do HIV-prevention work. So the city funded the program to pass out condoms in the streets, do outreach and present a handful of workshops about HIV prevention. But from the very beginning we have said that that’s only a part of what the community needs. So even though we’re being funded to do HIV prevention, we need to think about how we do this more holistically and really create an environment where our women and folks feel a sense of dignity and sisterhood.

What are some of the other aspects of your work?

We’ve had to go to City Hall, be part of the budgeting process, engage with partners at the Department on the Status of Women and the Domestic Violence consortium, and all these cis women’s agencies and collective organizing bodies that have existed in San Francisco for many years. For us, it’s been the first time that trans folks and trans Latinas in particular are at the table asking for resources. There’s been a consciousness-raising component to it too … to expand their definition to include more than cis women.

Can you explain how you approach violence-prevention work geared toward trans communities? It’s easy to think that it ought to be directed toward the people who are antagonizing trans Latinas.

For us, violence prevention means community power. As opposed to working with the perpetrator or offender, we’re asking, “How are we building the skills in our community so people who are facing harm can feel empowered to stand up for themselves?”

We understand that most of the violence goes unreported. Most is never unearthed because there’s shame informing the process. Women may feel like they’ve just got to take it in their partnerships and from who they love and who they live next door to. They may feel like it’s OK for people to make transphobic comments and add physical harm to that. 

Part of the program also involves training trans Latinas who will be known as luchadoras in the community and will empower other women. Can you say more about the sort of ambassadors they will be?

These luchadoras are going to go into the community and do healing and cultural work. They’re going to facilitate conversations, think about different ways to do outreach, run a support group and think about how to speak at City Hall. All those pieces are behind-the-scenes work to build leadership. We all have to see ourselves as representatives of our community and that takes an incredible amount of capacity to do that.

Can you talk for about the overlapping struggles of those who are undocumented, those who are trans and those, like immigrant rights activist Zoraida Reyes who was murdered this year, who happened to be both?

It means that [undocumented trans people] are facing multiple barriers so that society invisibilizes and deems you unworthy. Trans folks already have high rates of unemployment and already can’t access certain health services. To add another layer of documentation is a harsh reality.

Because people are facing these conditions they’re having to make choices about how to survive in a world that sees them as unworthy. Undocumented youth have energized the immigrant rights movement and said: “We’re not ashamed, and we’re not afraid.” And that’s the same sentiment that trans folks [are expressing]. We deserve dignity.

This work seems urgent.

We have for many years waited for people to get it together and develop a language and consciousness around trans communities, and we no longer can wait. We no longer can wait for other people to get it together. We are demanding an acknowledgement. We want total liberation.

Five States, and a Dozen Counties, Consider Minimum Wage Hikes

Five States, and a Dozen Counties, Consider Minimum Wage Hikes

Should voters in the five states considering minimum wage increases today approve those measures, more than half of U.S. states, along with the District of Columbia, will have minimum wages higher than the federal floor. The proposals range from $8.50 per hour in Arkansas and South Dakota to $10.65 in Illinois’ non-binding ballot initiative. In the middle are Nebraska—where voters could raise the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour—and Alaska, at $9.75.

Those ballot measures can be interpreted as frustration with Congress’w inaction on the issue, especially since four of the five states “lean conservative,” write Emily Graham and Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post

It’s not just statewide ballot initiatives on the line. Nine counties in Wisconsin are considering a boost to $10.10 per hour via non-binding referenda, and three counties in California—Eureka, Oakland, and San Francisco—could raise the minimum wage in those counties all the way to $15 per hour, according to the National Employment Law Project. The national conversation about low-wage work and the minimum wage is moving along, whether Congress can handle it or not.

Special Report: Where Asian-American and Latino Issues Meet

Special Report: Where Asian-American and Latino Issues Meet

What are the “real clear moments of collaboration between Asian-Americans and Latinos” is the question driving journalist Maria Hinojosa’s new hour-long podcast, “Hyphen-Americans.” Abigail Licad, editor in chief of Asian-American life magazine, Hyphen says, “[Collaboration] is exactly what’s being forgotten in all the negative media hype especially when it concerns issues like affirmative action and immigration.” From school desegregation to early 20th century inter-marriage between Sikh men and Mexican women to the farm worker movement, Licad fills in the historical record. 

Next, Hinojosa introduces listeners to a University of California, Davis resource center that welcomes young Asian and Latino students who are undocumented (7:30); examines the effects of California’s affirmative action fight on communities of color (15:00); talks food (like Filipino-Americans’ leche flan) and where saki meets salsa (35:05) and ends with words of wisdom from a Japanese-American woman reflecting on the first years of her life in an internment camp (47:55). Listen, on Latino USA above.

Election Day, Mexican Mayor Arrested, Nasal Spray Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise

Election Day, Mexican Mayor Arrested, Nasal Spray Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise

Here’s what I’m reading up on today:

  • Ukraine separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko is sworn into office as the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mass Incarceration?

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mass Incarceration?

There appears to be a widening consensus among policymakers if not the general public that mass incarceration in the U.S. is a problem. If so, now what? How do you stall or unwind a penal system that imprisons and supervises 7 million people—just a million shy of the population of New York City? Where blacks and Latinos make up 30 percent of the U.S. population but nearly 60 percent of the prison population? Many around the country are watching California’s latest initiative. Tomorrow voters will decide on Proposition 47, which could reduce sentencing for tens of thousands of nonviolent offenders annually and shift savings to schools, victim services and mental health and drug treatment. If Prop 47 passes it could be a signal to other states similarly experimenting with or hesitant to pursue sentencing reduction that they should forge ahead. 

More than 60 percent of California voters favor Prop 47, according to a September poll cited in Governing magazine, but law enforcement and crime victims groups have lined up against it. Once laws are on the books it’s extremely difficult to change them, a former ‘tough on crime’ legislator told Colorlines. And complicating substantive reforms, too, is fear and bias. Read Lauren Kirchner’s overview of the latest research in Pacific Standard for more.

 

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I Used to Push Back on Being Identified as Black

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I Used to Push Back on Being Identified as Black

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie describes a common experience for many immigrants: pushing back against “black identity” in the U.S. “I found myself taking on a new identity, oh, no rather I found a new identity thrust upon me,” Adichie tells journalist Michele Norris who founded The Race Card Project to foster candid conversations about race. Adichie, of course, obliges in a substantive 15-minute interview. “It always makes me happy making people uncomfortable,” she says of reaction to her novel, “Americanah.” “Discomfort is a necessary condition for a certain kind of justice, a certain kind of progress.” For more Adichie, including her reaction to American coverage of Ebola and Africa, check out the interview, part of this weekend’s Washington Ideas Forum:

I like to say I’m happily black. So I don’t have a problem at all sort of having skin the color of chocolate. But in this country I came to realize…that meant something, that it came with baggage and with all of these assumptions. And that the idea of black achievement was a remarkable thing. Whereas for me in Nigeria, it wasn’t. It was not. And I think that’s when I started to internalize what it meant and that’s when I started to push back. So for a long time I didn’t want to identify as black. …

It’s very easy when you’re an immigrant and you come to this country it’s very easy to internalize the mainstream ideas. It’s easy for example to think, “Oh, the ghettos are full of black people because they’re just lazy and they like to live in the ghettos,” because that’s sort of what mainstream thinking is. And then when you read about the American housing policies for the past 100 years it starts to make sense. And it forces you to let go of these simple stereotypes.

(h/t The Atlantic)

Ferguson’s No-Fly Zone Created to Keep Media Out, Prince on SNL, Baby Robot Penguin

Ferguson's No-Fly Zone Created to Keep Media Out, Prince on SNL, Baby Robot Penguin

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill woman who advocated for death with dignity, takes her own life
  • Ever feel like playing Super PacMan or 900 other retro arcade games? Now you can

  • Nik Wallenda walks a tightrope between two Chicago skyscrapers. Blindfolded
  • Baby robot penguin is about the cutest and perhaps most innovative development in behavioral ecology. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

How Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Defines Today’s ‘Race Beat’

How Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Defines Today's 'Race Beat'

The leading writer on racism in America today is the subject of a cerebral profile in the new issue of Columbia Journalism Review. Ta-Nehisi Coates, who this year resurfaced reparations for African-Americans as a relevant topic in the mainstream, sees himself not as a writer about race but about racism and white supremacy. The interview unpacks some of how Coates came to see and appreciate that difference, which determines how he covers what journalists in the 1960s termed, ‘the race beat.’ Some highlights:

Eventually, [Coates] came to see black respectability—the idea that, to succeed, African-Americans must stoically prevail against the odds and be “twice as good” as white people to get the same rights—as deeply immoral. It’s an idea that has permeated his work ever since: the absurdity that having a black president somehow indicates that the country has transcended race, when African-Americans get longer prison sentences than whites for committing the same crimes. For Coates, true equality means “black people in this country have the right to be as mediocre as white people,” he says.

And:

[White supremacy] refers not so much to hate groups, but, as Coates defines it, a system of policies and beliefs that aims to keep African-Americans as “a peon class.” To be “white” in this sense does not refer merely to skin color but to the degree that someone qualifies as “normal,” and thus worthy of the same rights as all Americans. Reading Coates’ work you feel that his ideas—about blacks needing to be “twice as good,” about the force of history, about white supremacy—all cascade, one into another, permeating both his tweets and his cover stories, whether he is discussing the presidency or housing policy. The pool where all these ideas eventually arrive is a question: “How big-hearted can democracy be?” 

Chris Ip’s profile reveals a man who’s had the time and space to develop his thinking over a long period of time. It’s worth the read.

Read more at CJR.

 

Peshmerga Fighters in Syria, Zuckerberg Answers Your Questions, Dead Galaxies’ Ghost Light

Peshmerga Fighters in Syria, Zuckerberg Answers Your Questions, Dead Galaxies' Ghost Light

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • A Pennsylvania man who shot two state troopers, killing one, is captured after 48 days on the lam. 
  • WaPo breaks down why Republicans will likely take Tuesday’s election. 

TAGS: Morning Rush
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