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Good morning. Protests continued late into the night, without the destruction of recent days. George W. Bush offered praise for the protesters. Let’s start by looking at how mass incarceration has shaped black Americans’ lives.
For most white Americans, interactions with the police happen rarely, and they’re often respectful or even friendly. Many white people don’t know a single person who’s currently behind bars.
In many black communities — and especially for black men — the situation is entirely different. Some of the statistics can be hard to fathom:
Incarceration rates for black men are about twice as high as those of Hispanic men, five times higher than those of white men and at least 25 times higher than those of black women, Hispanic women or white women.
When the government last counted how many black men had ever spent time in state or federal prison — in 2001 — the share was 17 percent. Today, it’s likely closer to 20 percent (and this number doesn’t include people who’ve spent time in jail without being sentenced to prison). The comparable number for white men is about 3 percent.
The rise of mass incarceration over the last half-century has turned imprisonment into a dominant feature of modern life for black Americans. Large numbers of black men are missing from their communities — unable to marry, care for children or see their aging parents. Many others suffer from permanent economic or psychological damage, struggling to find work after they leave prison.
A recent study by the economists Patrick Bayer and Kerwin Kofi Charles found that 27 percent of black men in the prime working years of their lives — between the ages of 25 and 54 — didn’t report earning a single dollar of income in 2014. “That’s a massive number,” Charles, the dean of the Yale School of Management, told me. Incarceration, including the aftereffects, was a major reason.
The anger coursing through America’s streets over the past week has many causes, starting with a gruesome video showing the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. But that anger has also been building up for a long time. It is, in part, anger about incarceration having become normal.
An explainer podcast: How has mass incarceration happened? “Justice in America” — hosted by Josie Duffy Rice of The Appeal — tries to answer the question. The Times’s Caity Weaver recommends starting with the first episode, about bail. “I learn so much from this freaking podcast,” Caity tweeted yesterday.
FOUR MORE BIG STORIES
1. Less violence on Tuesday night
The amount of violence, fires and looting declined last night, relative to the chaos of previous nights. Instead, peaceful protesters in many cities defied curfews and remained on the streets late into the night to protest police violence.
Other protest developments:
Minneapolis police used force against black people at a rate at least seven times that of white people during the past five years, city data show.
In his first speech outside his home since the coronavirus lockdown, Joe Biden likened President Trump’s language to that of Southern racists of the 1960s. “We cannot let our rage consume us,” Biden said.
Former President George W. Bush praised peaceful protesters. He said that he and his wife, Laura, were “anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country.”
2. Fears of ‘autocracy’
Attorney General William Barr gave the order to clear the square across from the White House on Monday night, The Times explains, in a story reconstructing the incident. The order led law enforcement to use smoke and flash grenades to scatter peaceful protesters so that Trump could appear at a church for a photo opportunity.
Former military leaders and democracy experts condemned the use of force against citizens. Retired Adm. Mike Mullen wrote in The Atlantic that Trump had “laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country.” Kori Schake, a former Pentagon official and Republican policy adviser, said, “If we were seeing this in another country, we would be deeply concerned.” Gail Helt, a former C.I.A. analyst, told The Washington Post: “This is what autocrats do. This is what happens in countries before a collapse. It really does unnerve me.”
3. Voting in a shaken country
People in eight states and Washington, D.C., cast ballots in extraordinary circumstances yesterday, and it seemed to go more smoothly than some people feared. “If Tuesday’s vote-by-mail primaries were a test for November, elections officials have reason to be encouraged: a few bumps but no major disasters,” said Stephanie Saul, a Times reporter.
Among the results:
Steve King, who’s represented an Iowa House district for nine terms and has a history of racist comments, lost his bid for renomination.
Theresa Greenfield, a real estate executive backed by the Democratic Party establishment, won Iowa’s Democratic Senate primary. She will face the Republican incumbent Joni Ernst
Ella Jones became the first African-American and the first woman elected mayor in Ferguson, Mo., where the 2014 killing of Michael Brown helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement.
Find the latest election results here.
4. Zuckerberg defends his approach
In a tense company meeting, the Facebook C.E.O. Mark Zuckerberg stood by his decision not to remove or flag Trump’s inflammatory posts.
Some Facebook employees have been in open revolt over the policy. “Mark always told us that he would draw the line at speech that calls for violence,” said one engineer in a resignation note this week. “He showed us on Friday that this was a lie.”
Here’s what else is happening
A Times’s investigation explains how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fumbled its response to the coronavirus, leaving the country without adequate testing early in the crisis. Here are five takeaways from the reporting.
Republicans said they were moving Trump’s convention speech out of Charlotte, after a stalemate with Democratic officials in North Carolina about virus restrictions.
The College Board is postponing plans for an online version of the SAT because of technological challenges, further complicating the college-application process for students stuck at home.
Lives lived: Elsa Dorfman used a 200-pound Polaroid camera to create a brand of photographic art all her own, making instantaneous giant, natural-looking portraits of celebrities and everyday people — even while Polaroid, outpaced by technology, was fast going out of business. She died on May 30 at 83.
BACK STORY: WHAT SCIENTISTS REALLY THINK
“A lot of people are reading scientific papers for the first time these days, hoping to make sense of the coronavirus pandemic,” Carl Zimmer writes in his latest Matter column. Unfortunately, many scientific papers are hard to read. They’re full of jargon and aren’t intended for a general audience.
But when Carl speaks to scientists on the phone, he often finds that they can tell a riveting, clear story about their research. Of course, most people aren’t going to cold-call scientists — but there is still a good alternative to trying to muddle through academic research papers: Follow the scientists on social media.
“Leading epidemiologists and virologists have been posting thoughtful threads on Twitter,” Carl writes, “laying out why they think new papers are good or bad.” I asked Carl for a list of scientists that people should follow, and he sent me 19 names. They include the virologists Florian Krammer and Angela Rasmussen, the epidemiologists Marc Lipsitch and Caitlin Rivers and the immunologist Akiko Iwasaki.
I’ve created a list of all 19 on Twitter. And if you have ideas for other scientists to follow on social media, send an email to [email protected], with “virus scientists” in the subject field.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT, ROAST
Kitchen nightmares: Home edition
Not everyone is using extra time at home to cultivate a sourdough starter. The food writer Priya Krishna has documented how necessity has forced fledgling home cooks to confront their biggest fear: using their kitchens. The result is a lot of blackened pots, smoke-filled apartments and frozen pizza disasters — but also some victories, like fried eggs and a decent carbonara.
For even the most hapless cooks: Make this roast chicken. It requires salt, pepper, olive oil and a whole bird.
N.B.A. takes Disney World
The N.B.A. is in talks to resume its pandemic-shortened season by hosting the league at Walt Disney World in Florida. Players would live in Disney hotels, and all games would be held at the nearby ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
Why Disney World? Well, it doesn’t hurt that the ESPN facility is already wired to broadcast games on its network — and that Disney, its parent company, pays the N.B.A. more than $1 billion a year for the right to air them.
Brush up on some history
Three years ago, Ibram X. Kendi, a National Book Award-winning-author and professor, compiled a history of race and racism in America through 24 books for The Times Book Review. He highlighted influential works about the black experience for each decade of the nation’s existence, including the poems of Phillis Wheatley and Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer-winning novel “Beloved.”
Together, he writes, the books “tell the history of anti-black racism in the United States as painfully, as eloquently, as disturbingly as words can. In many ways, they also tell its present.” You can revisit the list here.
You can find all of our puzzles here.
Thanks for spending part of your morning with The Times. See you tomorrow. — David
P.S. The word “coronavirologists” appeared for the first time in The Times yesterday, as noted by the Twitter bot @NYT_first_said.
You can see today’s print front page here.
Today’s episode of “The Daily” includes an interview with Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis
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Ian Prasad Philbrick and Sanam Yar contributed to The Morning. You can reach the team at [email protected].