identity

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and his team are using some polarizing rhetoric as they try to hold on to Hartford city hall. Segarra is casting this as a race between "us" and "them," while others are calling it a fight for Latino pride.

What Makes a Good Flag Design?

Jul 21, 2015
UNIDO / Creative Commons

Think about the Connecticut state flag. Could you draw it from memory? What does it mean? Did you know that the three grapevines in the seal represent the state's three oldest settlements?

What happens in a small, semi-rural community in a southern state when an "out" transgender student decides to speak up for his civil rights?

Here in Gloucester County, Virginia, where I live — not far from the Historic Triangle of Yorktown-Williamsburg-Jamestown — the answer is that all hell breaks loose.

In recent years, social scientists have tried to find out whether important decisions are shaped by subtle biases. They've studied recruiters as they decide whom to hire. They've studied teachers, deciding which students to help at school. And they've studied doctors, figuring out what treatments to give patients. Now, researchers have trained their attention on a new group of influential people — state legislators.

Kristin Wall/flickr creative commons

Extraordinary numbers of people are about to join the ranks of the unemployed—by choice. They're about to retire. (Of course some are forced to give up work because of illness, injury, or a major change in circumstances.)

No matter how it occurs, who are you after you can no longer continue in work that in many ways has given you your sense of identity, what you say you are when you meet someone… a detective, judge, reporter, florist, teacher, bus driver.

Chion Wolff.

Mario Pavone and Jimmy Greene are both veterans of Connecticut's jazz scene -- having grown up here, decades apart -- and both deciding to make the state their home.

Bruce Szalwinski / Creative Commons

Imagine two people. One of them is named Betsy Kaplan, the other, Betsy F.P.R. Academic studies suggest people, on average, would infer a higher intellectual capacity for Betsy F.P.R. Kaplan and be more likely to admire her and think she made more money than plain old Betsy Kaplan. A middle initial, says the scholarly literature, is basically a free ticket to higher status. 

Which makes it odd that each successive generation is less likely, overall, to use them. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Maybe Holden Caulfield was onto something when he ranted about "phoniness." This June, Michael Sharpe  resigned as CEO of FUSE, a Hartford-based charter school management company, when it came to light that he was not, in fact, a doctor, as his biography might have you believe.

That got us thinking about faking it: Why do people commit resume fraud? What is with our obsession with titles? What happens when someone adopts a whole new identity?

One oft-employed generalization about The Kids These Days is that they've grown up free from the legalized discrimination and racial neuroses of older generations, and they will live in a more multicultural world with less racism. But do we even know if that's true?

MTV, that reliable weather vane of popular youth culture, wanted to find out. It polled a nationally representative sample of people ages 14 to 24 about their views on bias and identity.

Ed Wierzbicki / CPBN

It was evident from Saturday’s grand finale of "Hartford Loves Poetry: A Community Celebration" that the city loves the sound and soul of its many voices. It was also proof that people are thirsty for authentic human stories told aloud by their neighbors that creatively reflect ancestry and history.

Carlos Mencia is well-known for his standup humor, which is slyly good-natured and often focuses on race and ethnicity. The 46 year-old Mencia has had a successful series on The Comedy Channel (Mind of Mencia) and draws huge crowds when he tours the country. When he was starting out in the business, he spent a lot of time on college campuses. And he learned pretty quickly that how he talked about the ethnicity he thought he shared with his audience could get him into trouble.

Connecticut State Library

Political campaigns may be going more and more digital, but hopefully that doesn’t mean the end for buttons. Look at how much history you can sum up in these photos of campaign buttons! All of these photos come from the Connecticut State Library’s Flickr page.

Here are a few standout slogans. 

It’s a logo that has become synonymous with the state of Connecticut...or at least it’s athletic teams. Of course, I’m talking about Jonathan the Husky.

But the friendly looking dog, looking off to the side, with his tongue hanging out is being replaced with a fiercer looking dog.

Kyle Muncy, the Assistant Director of Athletics for Trademark Licensing at UConn says the old logo didn't connect with some in the community.

quapan

From Frank Abagnale in "Catch Me If You Can" to "The Return of Martin Guerre" to "The Music Man," we are entertained and amused by stories of impostors.

Flickr Creative Commons, Bob Bekian

American identity is pretty fluid. Don't like who you are? Become someone else. 

Chion Wolf

Hartford and New Haven held their St. Patrick’s Day parades last weekend...but the holiday is actually this weekend. It’s a time when we’re supposed to honor and celebrate the rich Irish culture and history.

But - if you look at the way most Americans celebrate - it’s just another excuse to go to the bar.

Adult Ed For Teens

Mar 15, 2012
preetamrai, creative commons

Thousands of teens are leaving traditional high school in Connecticut and opting for adult education programs instead.

These programs have more flexible hours and fewer requirements for graduation, allowing students - in some cases - to finish school more quickly.

But there are complicated reasons why some teens are taking this opportunity.  One is that some low-performing students - or those with troubled pasts - are being “pushed out” of the traditional school system...and there aren’t always spaces in “alternative” schools.

Where We Live Alone

Mar 8, 2012
Chion Wolf

In the 1950s, less than a quarter of American adults were single. Today - that number is up to about half.

But when we say “single” - we mean not part of a couple. A different - and slightly antique-sounding term - “singleton” means people who live by themselves. That number is up to some 31 million Americans.

On The Road

Mar 2, 2012
Michael Krigsman (Flickr Creative Commons)

Roads get you where you need to go...at least some of the time. But roads are more than just well worn paths for busy motorists.

Vince Alongi

Alzheimer’s is predicted to be the defining disease of the baby boom generation.

It’s an incurable brain disorder that destroys memory, as well as the ability to speak and function.  It also slowly eats away at loved ones who serve as caregivers.  

Decisions, Decisions

Nov 17, 2011
Rex Roof, Creative Commons

When you make a decision, do you carefully deliberate? Or do you go with your gut?

It seems as though those are our choices...but as scientists dig deeper into the human mind, they’re discovering that this is not actually how the brain works.

Our best decisions - they find - are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason and the precise mix depends on the situation.

Andre Dubus III

Oct 24, 2011
Jacket design: Evan Gaffney Design (photo by Chion Wolf)

After their parents divorced in the 1970s, Andre Dubus III and his three siblings grew up with their exhausted working mother in a depressed Massachusetts mill town saturated with drugs and crime. On Sundays, Andre spent time with his dad, an author and college professor. Today we have a conversation with Dubus, the House of Sand and Fog author, about his new memoir Townie, about a clash of worlds, physical violence, and the failures and triumphs of love.

Great American Losers

Oct 11, 2011

It’s one of the most famous baseball radio broadcasts ever: Giants broadcaster Russ Hodges yelling, “The Giants win the pennant.”

Those words made Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca want to throw his radio out the window...he was the pitcher that gave up the blast. It’s been 60 years since the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” and Branca still lives with this legacy.

Banning Eyre

Egypt has a deep cultural and musical tradition that goes back thousands of years.

That history is continuing with modern music that provided the soundtrack to this spring’s uprising and overthrow of the government.

Afropop Worldwide - the public radio show dedicated to the music of the African continent - and heard Saturday nights at 11 - premieres its latest “Hip Deep” series this week, and its all about Egypt.

Gregthebusker, creative commons

Young people today have a lot of ways to define themselves – their clothes, their music, their Facebook profiles.  But what about religious and cultural identity?  These things are a bit trickier, especially for young secular Jews.  What does this identity mean today in a world where Israel is a place of pilgrimage, and the center of the thorniest political issues we face today?

Chion Wolf

For me, the champion of the nom de plume game will forever be Brian O'Nolan who wrote great modernist novels under the name Flann O'Brien and an important newspaper column in the Irish times under the pen name Miles nagCopaleen. (Miles of the Little Ponies.)