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Race And Ethnicity

When police confronted the white man suspected of killing 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket, he was the very poster boy for armed and dangerous. He had an AR-15-style rifle and was cloaked in body armor. Yet officers talked to Payton Gendron, convinced him to put down his weapon and arrested him without firing a single shot. Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia that day cited their training and called it “a tremendous act of bravery.” In a country where Black people have been killed in encounters with police over minor traffic infractions, or no infractions at all, though, it’s raised the question: Where is that training when it comes to them?

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Officials say a group of Florida students posed for a photo outside a middle school while holding large letters that spelled out a racial slur. Martin County School District Superintendent John Millay released a statement Thursday saying the students would be dealt with according to the school's code of conduct. He said state and federal laws prevent him from identifying them or revealing what punishment they might receive. The photo was posted to social media earlier this week. It shows six students standing in a line outside Hidden Oaks Middle School in Palm City. Each of them is holding a large, hand-painted letter and the students are arranged so that the letters spell out the slur.

The head of Myanmar’s military government has held the first in a monthlong series of person-to-person peace talks he has initiated with the country’s historically restive ethnic minority groups. State television reported that Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing held discussions Friday with Yawd Serk, chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State and Shan State Army, the political body and its military wing representing the Shan minority. The Shan, the country’s largest ethnic minority group, and other minorities have been seeking greater autonomy from the central government since the country, then named Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948.

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The first of several funerals for 10 Black people massacred at a Buffalo supermarket was planned for Friday, one day after victims’ families called on the nation to confront the threat of white supremacist violence. A private service was scheduled Friday morning for Heyward Patterson, who was a beloved deacon at a church not far from Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo’s Black community. The family requested that the funeral service be closed to the press. Funerals for five other Buffalo shooting victims were scheduled throughout next week.

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Relatives of the 10 Black people massacred in a Buffalo supermarket are pleading with the nation to confront and stop racist violence. Their agony poured out Thursday in the tears of a 12-year-old child, Jaques “Jake” Patterson, who lost his father. The child covered his face with his hands as his mother said, “His heart is broken.” She spoke at a press conference with civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton. Earlier Thursday, the white man accused in the killings, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, silently faced a murder indictment in court. Authorities are investigating the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges against him.

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Around 1 in 20 residents in Arkansas and Tennessee were missed during the 2020 census, and four other U.S. states had significant undercounts of their populations which could shortchange them of federal funding in the current decade. That's according to figures from a survey the U.S. Census Bureau released Thursday. In Florida, and Texas, undercounts appear to have cost them congressional seats too. In eight states, residents were overcounted. In Minnesota and Rhode Island, overcounts appear to have helped save them from losing congressional seats. In the remaining 36 states, the overcounts and undercounts weren’t statistically significant.

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The nation’s oldest civil rights organization said it will propose a sweeping plan meant to protect Black Americans from white supremacist violence in response to a hate-fueled massacre that killed 10 Black people in Buffalo, New York, last weekend. In a plan first shared with The Associated Press, the NAACP suggests a policy approach to stopping future acts of anti-Black domestic terrorism that involves law enforcement, business regulation and gun control. The plan calls for holding accountable any corporation that is complicit in the spread of bigotry and racism through news media and on social platforms, for enacting gun violence prevention measures that keep mass-casualty weapons out of the hands of would-be assailants and for reforming police practices.

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A new study says cancer deaths rates have steadily declined among Black people but remain higher than in other racial and ethnic groups. Cancer deaths have been dropping for all Americans for the past two decades because of lower smoking rates and advances in early detection and treatment. The rates among Black people fell 2% each year from 1999 to 2019. The highest cancer death rates in 2019 were in Black men, higher than other groups. The U.S. government report was published Thursday in JAMA Oncology.

A federal grand jury in Georgia has brought hate crime charges against a white man accused of shooting into two convenience stores and targeting the people there because of their race. Clayton County Police said Larry Edward Foxsworth of Jonesboro said it himself, telling officers “this is a hate crime and this is a targeted hit.” No one was hurt in the shootings last July. U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan in Atlanta says nobody should have to be afraid to shop or go to work or have to worry about violent attacks because of the color of their skin.

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The national reckoning over racial inequality sparked by George Floyd’s murder two years ago has gone on behind closed doors inside America’s intelligence agencies. Shortly after his death, employees of the National Security Agency had a call to speak to their director about racism and cultural misunderstandings. One by one, officers spoke about examples of racism that they had seen in America's largest intelligence service. Similar calls took place across the intelligence community. Interviews with retired officers and the community's own data show people of color remain underrepresented across the intelligence community and are less likely to be promoted.

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The House has passed legislation that would devote more federal resources to preventing domestic terrorism in response to the racist mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. The vote Wednesday night was along party lines, 222-203, with one Republican, Illinois' Adam Kinzinger, in favor. The House passed a similar measure in 2020 only to have it languish in the Senate. But Democrats are pushing for a broader federal focus on domestic terrorism as they lack support in the Senate to move ahead with gun-control legislation. Numerous Republican lawmakers opposed bolstering the Justice Department's domestic surveillance efforts.

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Sri Lankan protesters lit flames and offered prayers Wednesday remembering thousands — including ethnic Tamil civilians — killed in the final stages of the country’s decadeslong civil war. It was the first-ever event where mostly majority ethnic Sinhalese openly memorialized the minority group. Since Sri Lankan troops defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, Sri Lankan authorities had widely prohibited Tamils from publicly remembering their family members and have denied allegations that Tamil civilians were killed. Protesters gathered outside the president’s office floated flowers in the nearby sea and prayed for all those who died in the civil war, including Tamil civilians, Tamil rebels and government soldiers. The civil war killed at least 100,000 people.

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The massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, is still under investigation, but here are the basics. A white gunman in body armor killed 10 Black shoppers and workers and wounded another Black person and two white people. Federal officials are investigating the shooting as a hate crime. Police said the 13 victims, including the wounded, ranged in age from 20 to 86. The accused gunman, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, has pleaded not guilty to murder.

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is touting a package of executive orders and gun control bills in the aftermath of a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket. The Democrat's executive orders would require state police to seek court orders to keep guns away from people who might pose a threat to themselves or others. New York is among states that have a so-called “red flag” law. It allows law enforcement officials to petition a court to take away someone’s firearms if they are potentially dangerous because of a mental health problem. Appearing with the governor Wednesday, the Rev. Al Sharpton said racism and violence pose an “existential threat to this country.”

A fraud case against former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown has ended with her guilty plea to a tax charge in a charity fraud case. The 75-year-old Democrat had been convicted in 2017 of 18 counts and served more than two years in prison before her release in 2020 on humanitarian grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic. Her initial conviction was overturned after an appeals court found one juror had been improperly removed. A plea agreement filed Wednesday says that although the charge carries a possible three-year prison sentence, prosecutors recommend that the judge not impose any additional prison time, but order that Brown pay more than $62,000 in restitution.

A judge has sentenced a white Milwaukee man to a decade in prison for throwing acid in a Latino man's face in a 2019 racist attack. A jury convicted Clifton Blackwell last month of first-degree reckless injury with a dangerous weapon as a hate crime. Blackwell was waiting for a bus when he told Mahud Villalaz that his truck was parked illegally in the bus stop zone. The men got into an argument and Blackwell threw sulfuric acid into the face of Villalaz after asking the Latino man, who is a U.S. citizen, why he invaded his country. Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jean Marie Kies sentenced Blackwell on Wednesday to 10 years in prison and five years on extended supervision.

Wyatt Worthington II returns to the PGA Championship and not much has changed in six years. He remains only the second Black club pro to qualify for this major championship. Worthington is a teaching pro from central Ohio. He is competing at Southern Hills after tying for fourth in the PGA Professional Championship. Worthington sees this week as a chance to play well and a chance to inspire. He says access to golf for minorities is improving. The biggest obstacle is for minorities to get funding to play at the highest level. The only other Black club pro at the PGA was in 1991.

The Buffalo store where 10 Black people were killed in a racist shooting rampage was more than a place to buy groceries. As the only supermarket for miles, residents say Tops Friendly Market was a sort of community hub where they chatted with neighbors and caught up on each other’s lives. Now they’re grappling not just with the attack, but also with being targeted in a place that has been so vital to the community. Before Tops opened in 2003, residents had to travel long distances to buy nutritious food or settle for snacks and higher-priced staples from corner stores and gas stations. Residents say the fact that there are no other options lays bare the racial and economic divide that existed in Buffalo long before the shooting. 

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Businessman Craig Greenberg has won the Democratic primary for mayor of Louisville, months after surviving a shooting attempt at a campaign office. Greenberg beat out a crowd of eight candidates Tuesday and will be buoyed in November by the Democrats having a heavy numerical advantage over Republicans in Louisville, Kentucky’s largest city. The Louisville businessman was not harmed in the Feb. 14 shooting, though a bullet grazed his sweater. His opponent will be Bill Dieruf, the mayor of the Louisville suburb of Jeffersontown, who secured the Republican nomination. 

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A lawsuit alleges that administrators at a Missouri school district that is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation failed to protect a Black teen from repeated racial taunts that culminated with him being threatened with a lynching. The suit filed this month in state court described what happened as “outrageous” and sought unspecified damages against the 3,500-student Kearney school district, which is just north of Kansas City. The district said in a statement that it doesn't respond to pending litigation but is committed to “fully to ensuring that every student can learn in an environment free of discrimination in any form.”

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President Joe Biden mourned with Buffalo’s grieving families on Tuesday, then exhorted the nation to reject what he angrily labeled the poison of white supremacy. He said the nation must “reject the lie” of the racist “replacement theory” espoused by the shooter who killed 10 Black people at a supermarket. Biden declared that “evil will not win” in America. “Replacement theory” is the idea that white people are being intentionally replaced by people of color. It's another manifestation of the bigotry Biden vowed to confront while running for president. Biden says it was the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and President Donald Trump's ambivalent reaction that drove him to run. 

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Classmates and neighbors of the Buffalo shooting suspect say they never saw the violent and angry side that allegedly fueled his racist massacre over the weekend that killed 10 Black people. Payton Gendron was described as quiet, socially awkward and isolated in his high school senior year. But there was one troubling sign. Gendron threatened “murder-suicide” in an economics class a year ago, and had a mental health evaluation. He was released after a day and a half and fell off the radar of investigators. He is now jailed on a murder charge under suicide watch.