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Author: YES!

The deep roots of America’s racial wealth divide and why it exists by historical design

In the more than 150 years since the end of the Civil War, Black American wealth remains a fraction of that held by White Americans. Just after emancipation in 1865, African Americans owned 0.5% of national wealth. By 2019, that percentage had not risen above 2%. An analysis by the Brookings Institution found that the median wealth of White families stood at $188,200 while the median wealth of Black families was a mere $24,100. What’s worse is that this chasm has continued to grow. Between 1983 and 2016, adjusting for inflation, median White wealth increased by 33%, according to...

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White America’s misplaced anger: Why rural areas have deteriorated under a party that promotes racism

Decades of political decisions and policies have created a massive and growing chasm between the economic and social disaster unfolding in small-town and rural parts of the United States, and the prosperity and safety of cities and suburbs. Many of those successful urban and suburban areas have reaped the rewards of electing largely moderate, competent Democratic leaders. Meanwhile, rural areas have elected Republicans drawn from a party that is increasingly incompetent, corrupt, and willing to engage in outright racism to win elections. This disparity may affirm progressive ideas about successful and inclusive governance, but it also holds grave implications...

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Beyond the “Magical Negro” trope and the rise of powerful roles for Black women in science fiction

Black women have long been fixtures in science fiction film and television. In the 20th century, they largely appeared in background roles as maids, cooks, sex workers, or dancers. Then, the 21st century ushered in high-profile roles like Halle Berry’s Storm, Danai Gurira’s Michonne, Javicia Leslie’s Batwoman, and so many more. Most recently, Marvel’s Black Panther featured numerous roles for powerful Black women characters and was wildly successful, making a billion dollars in 2018. But Hollywood didn’t decide on its own to portray Black women as heroes and women of power. The roles, their depictions, and even the credit...

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Robin D. G. Kelley: How scholars are countering well-funded attacks on Critical Race Theory

Invoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in mid-December, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced new legislation that allows parents to sue schools for teaching critical race theory. “You think about what MLK stood for. He said he didn’t want people judged on the color of their skin, but on the content of their character,” said DeSantis, a political ringleader in the latest chapter of the United States’ culture war. In using a quote from Dr. King to justify an attack on curricula that uplifts racial justice, the Republican governor inadvertently created a strong case for why critical thinking on the...

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Advocating for Voter Suppression: When politicians don’t care if their constituents want fair elections

Every 10 years, legislators or appointed commissions across the country take the latest U.S. census data and redraw the boundaries of electoral districts to reflect the shifts of population. Too often, those new maps protect incumbents and partisan politics, not the interests of voters. In 2022, however, the redistricting cycle has been marked by a groundswell of citizen engagement to create fair maps that give greater political clout to communities of color. In many states, a history of gerrymandering along political and racial lines has led to a lopsided concentration of power, which activists are looking to correct. Unfair...

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The Gaslighting of America: Why justice for the Day of Sedition remains elusive

A newly released surveillance video of the Capitol tunnel in Washington DC on January 6, 2021, shows a sea of angry rioters pushing against dozens of helmeted police officers jammed inside the tunnel. The footage, which several media outlets, including CNN, sued to obtain from the federal government, shows a microcosm of the violent effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election. In the video, several men who appear to be White — and entirely unafraid of the well-armed militarized police line — can be seen climbing on top of one another, grabbing batons from the officers’ hands, and beating...

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