In 2018, the N.Y. Times launched a newsletter called “Race/Related” with issues and stories about that subject. Here is a year-end roundup of the writing staff’s thinking that were the most “powerful.”
Remember, these are the opinions of the youthful members of the N.Y. Times newsletter staff. About half of the staff of 15 appear to be people of minority descent.
The deafening silence of Colin Kaepernick
This year, hardly a week passed when Colin Kaepernick’s name did not come up. The kneeling protests against racism and social injustice he ignited at the beginning of the 2016 football season continued to resonate on and off the field, even as he says very little himself. It’s easy to conclude he is being shammed; but, regardless, the debate and dialogue over race and sports carries on.
–Randy Archibold, Deputy Editor
How gardening while black almost landed this Detroit man in jail
For me, the biggest story this year was the numerous accounts of random 911 calls reporting black Americans doing everyday things, like barbecuing, swimming, sitting at Starbucks, golfing, eating at Subway, gardening, leaving a corner store or cashing a paycheck at a bank. The list goes on. Doing any of these things while black made several Americans feel threatened, so much so that they were willing to dial 911. I hope we don’t bring this habit into the new year.
–Pierre-Antoine Louis, News Assistant
Louisiana school made headlines for sending their kids to elite colleges
It’s the education beat that I can’t stop thinking about this year. In story after story—from a school desegregation debate forever unfolding in New York City to Charlottesville, Va., where the N.Y. Times and ProPublica reporters found that zoning policies led to clear racial divides; from the shattering investigation into college prep school T.M. Landry to a Harvard lawsuit about affirmative action—I continue to see systemic racism embedded deeply in the architecture of our schools.
–Sara Simon, Associate Software Engineer
Why America’s black mothers and babies are in a life-or-death crisis
I’m not pregnant, black, a mother or a doctor and went into this story thinking I was a person very much removed from the situation. By the time I finished reading it I was shaking, invested and in mourning because of the meticulous research on the effects of race and class in a for-profit medical system, and how small and irrelevant a person can be made to feel. Reproduction is one of the most primal indicators of a species, and you see here how unhealed our nation’s wounds are from deeply systemic racism.
–Tammy Tarng, News Assistant
Problems immigrants face living here
There are many important immigration stories this year, all highlighting the difficult journeys immigrants have to endure to get into the United States, but we rarely focus on the policies immigrants face once they’re here. Black and brown naturalized American citizens—those who have an accent, those from impoverished countries—still have to deal with the consequences of racist policy decisions every day, and how these decisions create an unrelenting structure of racial hierarchy.
–Isabella Grullón Paz, News Assistant
17 black women sweep to Judgeships in Texas county
The elections of progressive district attorneys, judges, and sheriffs will reverberate for years, and help reshape our criminal justice system. These progressives—many of whom are people of color—are intent on making the courts more equitable and less damaging to the people who come in contact with them. They have pledged to: focus on reducing incarceration (especially for nonviolent offenses); crack down on police misconduct; revamp a cash bail system that unfairly imprisons poor people; and to use more alternatives to prison.
–Adeel Hassan, Senior Staff Editor
For many Americans, abolishing birthright citizenship is unthinkable
This year we saw the escalation of restrictive immigration policies and dehumanizing rhetoric about immigrants. As an American-born child of immigrants, it was additionally difficult to see this exacerbated by the debate over the right to birthright citizenship. Despite legal scholarship reiterating the meaning of the 14th amendment, it added to the growing anxiety over the potential erosion of civil rights. Race has been at the center of who belongs in America since the nation’s inception, but 2018 reflected how some communities continue to struggle to be considered truly American.
–Veda Shastri, Video Journalist
You can take issue (as I do) with some of their opinions but it’s interesting to hear the position of young reporters.