For those interested in racial politics in the US, I highly recommend spending some time browsing Slate spin-off "The Root". I read a bunch of good articles in short order, even though I disagreed with most of them in part. (Which is natural, I'm just being pedantically clear.) But their analyses are, from my point of view, succinct, eloquent, relatively comprehensive in terms of at least touching on the major elements of the story in question, and insightful in a way that makes what may be opaque about African American perspective clear.
So. Read them. Now. Especially D. (Just cuz she's expressed interest in this area and these seem like better than average further primers.)
Addressing and Undressing the Race Problem, Charlayne Hunter-Gaul
A Nash'nul Conversashun 'Bout Race? O-Tay, Jack "Ironically Named" White
The GOP's Next (Black) Idea?, Casey Lartigue
Grand White Party, Dayo Olopade (and the subtitle here bears repeating, perhaps: "Can the Republicans get down with the brown?"
I read these in reverse order that you see here, which I only mention because they seemed especially lucid in that order, but that might be just me.
I recommend browsing around the rest of the Root: I don't like all of their articles, but their average is pretty high quality -- slightly higher than Slate probably. Indeed, "The Root" probably looks something like the print version of what I think NPR's News & Notes should be like (instead of being like a NPR's "All Things Considered" -- or worse yet, like a CNN news/talk show -- with black people. The range of views on N&N is approximately the same as on ATC, and the analyses seem to me to be often be as facile; what's the use of having African American voices if they sound (in types and range of questions) pretty much like Noah Adams and Linda Werthheimer and Tom Ashbrook talking?) I wrote in comments that "mainstream" Slate should have The Root writers and XX Factor Fraysters write the actual articles -- both seem to have better analyses than many of Slate's (and certainly NPR) regulars. (I'm looking at you, David Plotz on the Gabfest.)
"Artist=President Barack Obama"
8 hours ago