2019年12月28日 星期六

Race/Related: From Affirmative Action to Farmers’ Markets

Times Staffers Pick 11 Gripping Reads on Race
Greg Bridgeforth tending to an irrigation water pump in Tanner, Ala., by the Tennessee River. His farm has been in family hands for 150 years, defying forces that drove most black farmers off their land.James Estrin/The New York Times

Happy holidays from our Race/Related family to yours. This year, we published hundreds of articles on race, identity and discrimination, including stories on the history of lynching Latinos, what it’s like to be the only African-American mathematician at a university and the novelty of Asian actors playing Asian characters.

We also published the 1619 Project, which aimed to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the center of our national narrative. It was perhaps the most ambitious endeavor on race that The Times released this year, and it is among many other fine contributions.

To give you a fuller picture of the work we’ve done, I asked my colleagues to share their picks to highlight some of the most powerful stories on race that we published this year.

Many Asian-Americans are aware of the “model minority” stereotype that has been forced upon them, and how that same stereotype has been used to perpetuate anti-black policies and attitudes, particularly in education. This uncomfortable dynamic, in which two minorities are pitted against each other, was particularly on display during the Harvard affirmative action lawsuit this year. This article, written by Jay Caspian Kang, is an exploration of the complex experiences, feelings and motivations that Asian-American students have on this issue.

— Kathy Zhang, senior manager, Newsroom and Product Analytics

Geneva Abdul’s article on the runner Annet Negesa broke my heart. Intersex athletes are rarely written about, and this article presented Ms. Negesa’s situation with real empathy. Whether it was Serena Williams’s post-birth matches or Caster Semenya’s strength on the track, black women’s bodies were picked apart over and over again in 2019. This time, though, the athletes were speaking up and finally being heard.

— Kathleen Massara, senior staff editor, Arts and Leisure

This is the tale of a banker and a customer, a former N.F.L. player, who documented the racism they encountered at a couple of Chase branches in Arizona. They recorded their conversations, and this article provided an unusual glimpse of ingrained discrimination in banking. This article, written by Emily Flitter, resonated with many, many readers and prompted a memo to JPMorgan Chase staffers by the company’s chairman and chief executive, Jamie Dimon.

— Ellen Pollock, editor, Business

John Eligon tracked down a black graduate of Eastern Virginia Medical School, alma mater of Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia, and learned that the white students lived such separate lives from their black classmates that they really may not have known, or considered, that they would find blackface photos offensive. This testimony to a more insidious form of racism has stayed with me all year.

— Amy Harmon, correspondent, National

This article, written by Noam Scheiber and John Eligon, is a deep dive into the underrepresentation of people of color at the partner level of the most prestigious law firms, as brought to light by the all-white partner class at Paul, Weiss.

— Kevin McKenna, deputy editor, Business

Claire Smith, an African-American sportswriter who has written about baseball for decades, writes insightfully about what Robinson did, what he stood for and what he conveyed not only to black America, but to all of America.

Randy Archibold, editor, Sports

The issue of compensation for black Americans related to slavery and other injustices stormed back into public consciousness this year. A lot of attention was paid to the moral, political and social dimensions, but there were few attempts to do an economic analysis that tried to assess what a reparations program would actually cost. This article tried to pull together decades of work by economists and take an honest assessment of the costs.

— Patricia Cohen, correspondent, Business

In 1910, black farmers made up 14 percent of American farmers. In 2012, about 1.5 percent of American farmers were black. The percentage of black-owned farms has declined about 90 percent, mostly because of systematic racism. The Bridgeforth family of Limestone County, Ala., has held on to its land since the 1870s, and even prospered in the face of the forces that caused most black farm families to lose their land.

— James Estrin, staff photographer

“The Camp of the Saints” was published in 1973 and almost immediately panned as a racist screed (the Times’s review said reading it was “like being trapped at a cocktail party with a normal‐looking fellow who suddenly starts a perfervid racist diatribe”). In this article, Elian Peltier and Nicholas Kulish explain why the book has become a must-read within white supremacist circles and how it helped inspire the idea that white populations of Western countries could soon be supplanted by newer arrivals.

— Andrew LaVallee, deputy editor, Books

What do you do when you find out that the longtime purveyors of organic tomatoes and kale at your local farmers’ market may also be trafficking in white nationalism? That’s what happened in a crunchy college town in Indiana, and this article, written by Jack Healy, tells of how the community responded. Anti-fascist protesters showed up, the farmers denied being white supremacists, residents argued about the limits of free expression and intolerance. The story reveals so much about the America that we live in today.

— Lauretta Charlton, editor, Race/Related

In a round table about black film in the 1990s, six black directors discuss their experiences. They share memories of barely disguised prejudice, of being marginalized by executives who feigned interest in their work, of lacking the safety net that seemed to buoy their white peers. They describe a system that failed to sustain a generation of minority talent, and continues to challenge those who seek to reform it.

— Reggie Ugwu, reporter, Culture

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