Gene Demby

In 1996, the New Republic ran a bright, red cover that perfectly captured the tenor of the contemporary debate over welfare. "DAY OF RECKONING," a cover line read, above a photograph of an unidentified black woman. She was smoking a cigarette in one hand and holding a baby with a bottle in the other. The text beneath that image read "Sign the Welfare Bill Now." The racial optics were not subtle.

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In Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's press conference this weekend, he said he hoped the uproar over his yearbook photo would present an opportunity.

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In 1964, the New Yorker dispatched the writer Richard Rovere to follow Barry Goldwater, the senator from Arizona, as he crisscrossed the country in his ultimately doomed bid for the presidency. A central plank of Goldwater's campaign was that federal involvement in state and local affairs had gone dangerously too far.

Jazmine Barnes, a 7-year-old black girl, was buried this week in Harris County, Texas. She was fatally shot while sitting in the car with her mother and siblings on the morning of Dec. 30.

Initial reports stated that the shooter was a white man. Those reports led to a national outcry that this was a racially motivated attack. Activists and politicians demanded that the shooting be investigated as a hate crime. But in the days since the shooting, deputies in Harris County have charged two black men in relation to the shooting.

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President Trump's feud with the media seemed to take some ominous turns this week. There was that testy exchange with CNN's Jim Acosta.

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JIM ACOSTA: Are you worried...

When Boys Can't Be Boys

Nov 2, 2018

Editor's note: This column contains a racial epithet.

One day in the 1930s, a very young Martin Luther King Jr. was sitting in the passenger seat of his father's car when his dad accidentally ran a stop sign on a Georgia street.

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For the past two seasons, NFL players have been kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequalities in the criminal justice system. And President Trump has used some harsh language against those players.

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