Racism

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are frequently seen as opposing forces in the struggle for civil rights and against white supremacy; King is often portrayed as a nonviolent insider, while Malcolm X is characterized as a by-any-means-necessary political renegade. But author and Black Power scholar Peniel Joseph says the truth is more nuanced.

"I've always been fascinated by Malcolm X and Dr. King ... and dissatisfied in how they're usually portrayed — both in books and in popular culture," Joseph says.

Joseph Frilot leads a group of educators marching in Austin demanding racial justice in education.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Joseph Frilot considers himself an introvert. He’s a sixth- and seventh-grade pre-AP social studies teacher in Austin, and he couldn’t imagine himself participating in a march for justice when the idea first came up. Then, he thought of his students and the example he wanted to set for them through his actions.

Texas Asians Seeing More Verbal Harassment

Aug 4, 2020
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Since the new coronavirus first surfaced in China late last year, the number of reports of racist verbal threats and harassment targeting Asians in the United States has been on the rise, and both public health officials and police are starting to track it.

The figure of a young Confederate soldier holding a rifle has gazed out from his pedestal in front of the Harrison County Courthouse in the piney woods of northeast Texas for 114 years.

The 8-foot statue was a gift — like hundreds of others across the South — from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. They are memorials to the war dead and, historians say, monuments to white supremacy and Jim Crow laws.

A sign says alcohol consumption on public streets and sidewalks is forbidden.
Austin Price for KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

No matter what side of the street you’re on, you will soon be on the right side of the law when you walk around East Austin with a beer. Austin City Council on Wednesday approved a resolution to lift a prohibition on public drinking that exists in some parts.

People gather in front of the Austin Police Department on May 30 to protest racism and police brutality.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

As COVID-19 hospitalizes Latino and Black people in Austin at disproportionate rates, the Austin City Council on Wednesday deemed racism a public health crisis.

Vandalization of the Robert E. Lee Road sign in early 2018 sparked a conversation over whether the street should be renamed. The Austin City Council voted to change the name of the street honoring the Confederate general later that year.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

Austin will re-examine – and could ultimately change – the names of its streets, buildings, parks and creeks that venerate historical racism and the Confederacy.

The decision Wednesday from the Austin City Council follows up on a 2018 report from the city's Equity Office, which suggested changing the name of the city itself, as Stephen F. Austin was a staunch defender of slavery.

Talib Abdullahi created a Black history social bike ride through Austin.
Tamir Kalifa

When Talib Abdullahi first shared his idea on Instagram, he wasn’t expecting much.

He wanted to get some friends together for a bike ride to explore Austin’s Black history. He figured maybe 20 or 30 friends would join him.

People gather in Austin on May 30 to protest racism and police brutality. Local leaders want to ensure the movement for racial justice continues for generations to come.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Black leaders in Central Texas are forming a new coalition called the Black Leaders Collective to address systemic racism.

The group has about 40 members, including activists, educators, artists and policymakers, who say they want to create meaningful and transformative change that goes beyond conducting studies and making plans. 

Daniel Kaluuya portrays Chris Washington in Jordan Peele's 2017 film "Get Out." Baylor University English professor and author Greg Garrett calls it one of the most important films ever made about race in America.
via YouTube

Film has always served as a platform for delving into crucial but difficult topics like racism. In his new book, a Baylor University English professor explores Hollywood’s good, bad and ugly moments when it comes to race.

A water tower in Buda
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español.

After decades of representing Hays High School in Buda, the rebel mascot will retire.

The Hays Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to discontinue its use. At a special meeting, many board members said it was "impossible" to separate the mascot from its racist history.

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley
Julia Reihs / KUT

 

Lee esta historia en español.

Before dawn on March 21, 2018, interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley stood on the side of I-35 in Round Rock, flanked by federal officers, and announced that the suspect in a series of bombings was dead.

After calls to address racism, UT Austin announced plans to rename some spaces on campus and improve efforts to recruit Black students, faculty and staff.
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

UT Austin says it plans to rename certain campus spaces, add monuments that honor civil rights advocates and work harder to recruit Black students, faculty and staff.

Signs on Spencer Cronk's lawn call for defunding the Austin Police Department.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

The front lawn of the City of Austin's highest-paid employee got some new lawn ornaments Thursday.

Organizations urging radical change to how the city spends money erected more than two dozen lawn signs outside Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk’s house. One sign read, “Increase funding for Austin Public Health to survive the pandemic and beyond,” another “Protect and create more low-income housing.”

Protesters march from Huston-Tillotson to the state Capitol, demanding an end to systemic racism and police violence.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The recent police killings of Black people, the subsequent protests and the removal of Confederate statues and other symbols have focused attention this summer on systemic racism. What has received less attention is the deep and ongoing trauma that racism has laid in.

Updated at 7:43 a.m. ET

On the eve of Independence Day, President Trump celebrated at the foot of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, S.D., with a fireworks display and an impassioned speech against what he called a "new far-left fascism."

A sign at a protest reads "End Police Brutality"
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of San Marcos is promising to do more to address calls for an end to police brutality and systemic racism within law enforcement.

At a special meeting Thursday, council members passed a series of resolutions to address reform on a local and national level.

"The Eyes of Texas" is dispayed at the University of Texas football stadium in 2018.
Jimmy Maas / KUT

"The Eyes of Texas" may be closing for good.

The school song of the University of Texas is under scrutiny – and it didn't just begin last week with social media posts by football players or a petition signed by thousands in the community. There have been decades of discomfort over the song, so a discussion about it is long overdue.

UT football stadium
KUT

From Texas Standard:

Student athletes at the University of Texas at Austin are asking the university to change some of its practices and traditions in the wake of national protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

Courtesy Joy Melody Woods

From Texas Standard:

Nationwide protests over police violence have spurred conversations about systemic racism in institutions beyond law enforcement.

University of Texas at Austin Ph.D. student Joy Melody Woods recently began sharing her experiences of racism in academia using #BlackInTheIvory on Twitter. Her comments resonated with many others who have since used the hashtag to describe their own experiences of being black in higher education.

Joseph Frilot, a social studies teacher at IDEA Montopolis College Prep, leads a group of educators marching to demand racial justice in education.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Mackee Mason is the principal at Austin Achieve Public Schools. But at a protest led by teachers Friday, he shared a time when the police made him, a black man, feel like a criminal.

Austin police keep watch on protesters at a demonstration May 31.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council will consider multiple resolutions Thursday to direct money away from the police budget and toward the root causes of issues that lead to police interactions – including domestic violence, homelessness and addiction.

Austin police move to clear protesters from I-35 during protests against systemic racism on Sunday.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Lee esta historia en español. 

A fractured skull. A severe chest wound. A broken jaw from where a lead-pellet bag lodged inside the person's mouth. The injuries to protesters over the weekend could have been fatal, the Austin-Travis County EMS chief told City Council members Friday morning. The physical and psychological recovery could take years.

And all the injuries were caused by police.

Michael Minasi/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The recent nationwide protests against police brutality have renewed focus on the discrimination and racism black Americans have experienced at the hands of law enforcement.

Larry Schooler is a conflict resolution expert and senior fellow at the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin. He says it might be time for a full-throated truth and reconciliation process in the United States.

The Republican Party of Texas office in downtown Austin.
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

*Correction appended

Republican leaders in five Texas counties shared racist Facebook posts, some of which also floated conspiracy theories, leading Gov. Greg Abbott to call for two of them to resign.

Protesters run away from I-35 after Austin police officers fired tear gas Sunday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin City Council members have reconvened Friday morning after hearing from citizens for more than five hours Thursday about police violence during weekend protests.

A protester holds a sign that says "Stop killing us" outside Austin police headquarters.
Michael Minasi / KUT

kYmberly Keeton is tired. 

“I’m one of the go-to people for black history now in Austin. [I] get phone calls all the time: ‘We want you to talk about the history of blackness,'" Keeton says. "But even I get tired of telling the same story over and over and over. Even I get tired.”

Austin police officers block protesters from getting onto the highway during demonstrations against police violence Sunday.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin police will not fire bags filled with lead pellets into crowds going forward, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Thursday.

Demonstrators facing police hold signs saying "Honor your rage" and "End police brutality" at a protest in downtown Austin on Sunday.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council heard from hundreds of people during an emergency meeting Thursday that addressed police violence at weekend protests against the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Austin. 

Sam Biscoe served as Travis County judge for 15 years before returning to the position on an interim basis in May.
Office of County Judge Sam Biscoe

Sam Biscoe is no stranger to racism. He grew up in the shadow of segregation in Tyler, participated in the civil rights movement and started his career as a lawyer with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP. 

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