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Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke and John Hickenlooper. Photos: Getty Images

The 2020 presidential election's Democratic primaries are breaking new ground for how white politicians talk about race in America.

The big picture: Increasingly frank rhetoric around systemic racism and inequity resembles a "woke litmus test," Democratic strategist Joel Payne told the AP.

White politicians commenting on race, as noted by AP:

  • John Hickenlooper described his "shame" that some white people "kind of looked the other way during these lynching incidents."
  • Beto O'Rourke admitted he “clearly had advantages” as a white man.
  • Elizabeth Warren acknowledged black single mothers struggled more than she did.
  • Tim Ryan said he didn't grow up around many black people.
  • Pete Buttigieg said "any white candidate needs to show a level of consciousness around issues like white privilege.”
  • Kirsten Gillibrand: “I guess I don’t see it that way" when asked whether she'd benefited from white privilege.

Between the lines: "Joe Biden’s presidential bid ... could test whether it’s politically wise for candidates to speak so openly about race," the AP reports.

  • "Although he has positioned himself as a champion of racial equality, the former vice president is expected to wage a campaign aimed at winning back the working-class white voters who swung to Trump in 2016."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

53 mins ago - Health

A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months:

Biden's debut nightmare

President-elect Biden speaks in Wilmington on Nov. 24. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

A dim, gloomy scene seems increasingly set for Joe Biden's debut as president.

The state of play: He'll address — virtually — a virus-weary nation, with record-high daily coronavirus deaths, a flu season near its peak, restaurants and small businesses shuttered by wintertime sickness and spread.

Using apps to prevent deadly police encounters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

Why it matters: As states and cities face pressure to reform excessive force policies, apps that monitor police are becoming more interactive, gathering evidence against rogue officers as well as posting social media videos to shame the agencies.

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