Why is massive overrepresentation for white America still acceptable in 2020?

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Photo: Darren Halstead

By Jonathan Chait

In a time when institutions across the country have undergone a searching self-examination, the reckoning has only begun for the most powerful source of institutional racism in American life: the United States Senate. It is not merely a problem of legacy and culture — though the Senate’s traditions are deeply interwoven with white supremacy, as Joe Biden inadvertently confessed when he touted his cooperation with segregationists — but of very-much-ongoing discrimination. Quite simply, achieving anything like functional racial equality without substantially reforming the Senate will be impossible.

The Senate’s pro-white bias is a problem the political system is only beginning to absorb. When Barack Obama urged his party to honor John Lewis’s civil-rights legacy by passing a bill to guarantee democratic reforms like voting rights, statehood for Puerto Rico and D.C., and an end to the filibuster, which he called a “relic of Jim Crow,” the mere suggestion was met with a scorching response from the right. “The door to radicalism is getting busted wide open,” warned a Wall Street Journal editorial. John Podhoretz described Obama’s plan as “a degree of norm-shattering in service of the partisan interests of the Democrats that will, quite simply, tear this country asunder.” …

The real risk factor is different

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Photo: Adi Goldstein

By Justin Davidson

In the early months of the pandemic, it became deceptively obvious that dense cities were dangerous. As COVID-19 stampeded through New York, those who had options dispersed themselves into nature, while the Trump administration wrote off COVID-19 as a strictly urban disease — unfortunate for Democrats, immigrants, and nursing home residents, but irrelevant to the president’s fan base. Pundits fired up their anti–New York prejudices: city folk are constantly exhaling all over each other; suburbanites can relax in their roving decontamination chambers on wheels. …

On one of the last days of normal life, I put my daughter and her classmates at risk

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Photo: Aaron Burden

By Willy Blackmore

I made cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday this year: vanilla cake topped with pale-blue frosting. …


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