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Vox: The filibuster’s racist history, explained

Vox, March 25, 2021, The filibuster’s racist history, explained

The question of what to do about the filibuster — the once-arcane Senate rule that creates a de facto 60-vote threshold for major legislation — is arguably the most important topic in Washington, DC, right now. It is the main thing blocking Senate Democrats from approving President Joe Biden’s sweeping policy agenda on party lines; as such, it has become a subject of fierce partisan (and intraparty) dispute.

Most recently, this debate has centered on racism in the filibuster’s history.

Prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have argued that the filibuster has been a tool used by racists to protect white supremacy. In a Tuesday floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell denied this entirely — accusing Democrats of lying about history for political purposes.

“These talking points are an effort to use the terrible history of racism to justify a partisan power grab in the present,” McConnell said.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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