What Race/Related Loved in 2017

What Race/Related Loved in 2017

— Fahima Haque, social media editor


Director Travis Wilkerson during the photo call for his film “Did you wonder who fired the gun,” at the 70th Locarno International Film Festival in Locarno, Switzerland. Credit Urs Flueeler/Keystone, via Associated Press

In his documentary “Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?,” Travis Wilkerson returns to Dothan, Ala., his hometown, to investigate whether his great-grandfather shot and killed a black man in 1946 and never stood trial for the crime. The journey by Wilkerson, a white man in his 40s, becomes “a travelogue of the history of racism,” the New Yorker critic Richard Brody says, and an account of the toxic complicity and cover-ups that have buried racist crimes in the South. That was hinted at, but not fully addressed, by S-Town, the hit documentary podcast also based in Alabama; this striking documentary faces it head-on. [Learn more]

— Annie Correal, reporter, Metropolitan


Credit Netflix

As an Indian immigrant, Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix special, “Homecoming King,” resonated with me because it really hits a lot of issues that straddle the line between two cultures: family and societal pressure, race, dating, secrecy and more. [Watch]

— Shreeya Sinha, operations editor, National Desk


Credit Patrick Wymore/ABC, via Associated Press

I admit that I find humor in race relations, but that’s only because the cast and crew of the ABC hit comedy “black-ish” deliver the topic in such a delicious package for 22 minutes a week. Watching three generations of Johnsons, an affluent black family, navigate daily microaggressions in their mostly white world of suburban Los Angeles leaves ample opportunity to explore what it means to be black across the decades, and enriches the awareness of modern class and racial dynamics. The conceit is all in the title: What does it mean to be black today? You may be surprised by the answers and by how much you laugh. [Watch]

— Adeel Hassan, Race/Related editor


Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

There is perhaps nothing more sad, enraging or violent than the theft of a human life. “My Family’s Slave” by Alex Tizon tells the tale of Eudocia Tomas Pulido, whom the writer’s family enslaved in the Philippines and eventually ferried around the world when the Tizons emigrated to the United States and settled near Seattle. Every word in The Atlantic magazine article is thick with the tension of Tizon trying — but never quite succeeding — to come to terms with the atrocities his family committed against a woman he was so reliant upon and close to that he called her “Lola,” Tagalog for grandmother. It’s an account of modern human bondage so intimate and harrowing that I still have yet to shake it, and I doubt I ever will. [Read]

— Greg Howard, reporter, Metropolitan


Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

We can’t talk about race without talking about whiteness. This hourlong conversation from the public radio program “On Being” is a powerful example of white people talking about race with intention and compassion, challenging the idea that only those who are racially “other” can, or should, engage in this topic. [Listen]

— Audrey Carlsen, graphics editor


Credit Sam Flak/The New York Times

“I am keenly aware that I’ve entered a world that I had dreamed of all my life, and that it is a perfect world,” the jazz singer and pianist Nina Simone said. America, she went on, had become “a dream that I had and had worked myself out of because I toiled for so long in that place, in that prison. And now I’m home, now I’m free.” She was speaking from Liberia, where she had moved in 1974, in a pique over race relations in the United States and a bad turn in her personal life. Liberia, however, did not turn out to be an idyll, as this piece in Guernica magazine makes clear in a fascinating rumination on race, music, culture and forging a relationship with Africa. [Read]

— Randy Archibold, deputy sports editor


I think of it every time I buy a coffee, every time I buy a beer. I think of it when I pull out my wallet at lunchtime. A remarkable Boston Globe series on race in that city contained this jaw-dropping statistic: The household median net worth for whites was $247,500 and just $8 for African-Americans. This huge disparity is explained by the fact that black residents are more likely to earn less and more likely to rent instead of own their own homes. Read the series and be prepared to shake your head like I’m shaking mine. [Read]

— Marc Lacey, national editor

Share Your Thoughts

What did you find especially enlightening on race this year? Tell us at racerelated@nytimes.com, and we’ll feature a few reader recommendations in our next newsletter.

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