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This Week In Race: Guess Who's Not Coming To The White House

Apr 21, 2017
Originally published on April 21, 2017 2:24 pm

The New England Patriots returned to the White House for the now-traditional visit to the president and presentation of a game helmet, jersey and other team-related swag. Correction, some of the Patriots visited the White House. Several, including most famously tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive back Devin McCourty and running back LeGarrette Blount, bowed out early on. (Blount was blunt: "I will NOT be going to the White House. I don't feel welcome in that house. I'll leave it at that," he told the Rich Eisen Show on Feb. 9.) A New York Times photo shows a much smaller number of players this year than last. Oddly, QB Tom Brady, a vocal Trump supporter, stayed away, citing family obligations. And we'll leave it at that.

In happy news, a new mosque was inaugurated that is run and led by women but open to all. The women who founded it said Rosa Parks was an inspiration: "It's like when Rosa Parks got tired of sitting in the back of the bus. Women are getting tired of sitting in the back of the Mosque." The Qul'bu Maryam Women's Mosque in Berkeley, Calif., is open to all Muslims and to anyone who wants to know more about Islam. And it will grow and flourish, inshallah.

Princeton University's Board of Trustees has decided to honor Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison by naming a campus building after her. Morrison, author of Beloved, Sula, Song of Solomon and several nonfiction works, including Playing In The Dark, is the university's Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita. The former West College building is one of the oldest buildings on campus. The name change is effective on July 1. The Council of the Princeton University Committee on Naming (yes, it's actually called that) also decided to name the major auditorium in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Affairs for another black Nobel Laureate: Sir Arthur Lewis, an economist and native of St. Lucia. That name change also occurs on July 1.

Rachel Dolezal is trying, again, to explain herself. It won't be the last analysis of the self-described transracialist, but it might be one of the best. If you care. (A lot of people don't.)

Remember when your mother told you to be nice, you never know who you're going to run into again? The Honorable Gonzalo Curiel last year presided over a case involving former students of Trump University who sued then-candidate Trump for overcharging them for real estate classes that were worthless. (The case was settled for $25 million; Trump admitted no wrongdoing.) At the time, Trump called Curiel a "so-called judge," and implied that the Indiana-born jurist was prejudiced against him because of Trump's immigration statements. Well, Juan Manuel Montes, an approved DACA student who recently was deported to Mexico, has brought a lawsuit against the government that was supposed to honor his DACA status; it doesn't expire until 2018. In the most ironic twist of 2017 so far, Judge Curiel will decide whether Montes' deportation was legal. Always fun to get an extra swing at the piñata ...

Archaeology often claims it's helping to save cultures and people who are in danger of disappearing, but sometimes — wittingly or not — it does the exact opposite. In this piece, Reveal explains that when archaeologists overlook or misinterpret what's written or carved on indigenous sites, entire cultures can be erased.

Still puzzling over the difference between Persian and Iranian? Trying to figure out if you're a racial impostor? Shereen and Gene dip into our mail bag on the latest Code Switch podcast.

Sad that it has come to this, but the Sikh community decided to launch a public relations offensive explaining who they are and how Sikh values closely align to many values Americans profess to have. "We Are Sikhs" launched last week in a dozen cities. The purpose: to explain not just their religion, but the outward manifestations of it, such as the beards and turbans that often inspire hate from people who assume the wearers are Muslim. The Sikhs are being lauded for not allowing hate to be a wedge among religions. "Years ago, they could have said 'Hey, we're not Muslims,'" Corey Saylor, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations told NBC News. "But they've always taken what to me was a very honorable stand that nobody should be targeted, period."

Practice acting honorably this weekend. We'll be back next week, inshallah.

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