If you want to reach people, sing to them, and make them sing. Experience tells us that singing changes people's relationships to reality, maybe even getting them ready to experience pain in a protest march.
Here's a term that was new to me anyway: "Collective Effervescence". It was coined by the sociologist Emile Durkheim to describe a lot of things, including the state we might achieve if we all got together and sang a song about our political aims. You see this in times of protest, from the streets of Ferguson to the streets around Tahrir Square. When people sing, or hear someone else sing, it activates them.
Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 12:07 pm
It's morning meeting time. "When Dr. King was little, he learned a golden rule," sings a class of 4- and 5-year-olds with their teacher, Carolyn Barnhardt.
John Eaton Elementary School, a public school in Washington, D.C., is unusual. It sits in one of the District's wealthiest neighborhoods, but the majority of students hail from different parts of the city, making it one of the most racially and economically diverse elementary schools in the nation's capital.
Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 3:36 pm
Sometime in March, Barack Obama is expected to announce his choice of the institution that will hold his presidential archive. Vying for the honor (and the money that comes with it) are the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Hawaiʻi (the Hawaiian language spelling of the state's name).
Dorceta Taylor’s most recent book, Toxic Communities, takes a magnifying glass to the modern environmental justice movement. In it, she provides an in-depth analysis of some of the biggest environmental issues facing low-income and minority communities across the U.S.
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 3:50 pm
The Great Recession has widened the wealth gap among white, black and Hispanic Americans, with median net worth in white households increasing to 13 times that for African-Americans, a new Pew Research Center study shows.
The study also shows that from 2007 to 2013, the wealth of white households has grown to 10 times that of Hispanic households.
Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:16 pm
Since the Ferguson, Mo., shooting, there have been renewed calls for police departments to hire more minority officers, but it turns out it's not that simple.
Police in the U.S. are more diverse than they were a generation ago. In the 1980s, 1 in 6 officers belonged to an ethnic or racial minority. Now it's about 1 in 4. The challenge these days is finding enough recruits to keep that trend going.
Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 5:44 pm
The Obama administration released new guidelines today to ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement officers. The guidelines replace ones adopted by the Bush administration in 2003.
The new rules prohibit profiling based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion or sexual orientation and apply to federal officers, such as the FBI and Secret Service and any local law enforcement that work with them on task forces.
On Sunday, five St. Louis Rams players jogged onto the field with their arms raised by their heads, a stream of fog behind them: hands up, don't shoot.
The players — Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Stedman Bailey — were invoking the gesture that's been widely used in protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. This followed the announcement that a grand jury would not indict Wilson in Brown's death, and the release of a hefty batch of evidence shown to the jury by St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCullough.
First and foremost, we're really sorry about the Wally Lamb cell phone connection. Do not adjust your radio (or streaming device).
It's the usual three-ring circus on the Scramble today starting with the five players for the St. Louis Rams who put their hands up in a "Don't Shoot" gesture during their introductions for Sunday's game. That gesture, of course, has become part of the iconography of the Ferguson Missouri story, and we talk to ESPN the Magazine's Howard Bryant about the role athletes play in raising consciousness and defying conventional news narratives.
As the nation tries to better understand the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse will discuss what comes next. With widespread calls for change in the judicial system, how does that happen?
Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 10:59 am
The news of attorney John Doar's death at 92 on Tuesday sent a wave of solemnity through the country, prompting multiple obituaries detailing his extensive work fighting discrimination and working for racial equality during the 1960s and '70s.
Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 10:38 am
The worst fate of all may be to make a terrible mistake and then learn the wrong lessons from the experience.
That's the thought I had reading a heartfelt column about the Boston Herald's unfortunate decision to publish a cartoon featuring a White House gate-crasher asking the nation's first black president if he had "tried the new watermelon flavored toothpaste."
Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 9:42 am
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.
One way to think of this is, a middle school principal should not be making blood-spattered slasher films. Another way is, it's kind of amazing that every middle school principal doesn't go home and make blood-spattered slasher films.
Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 2:02 pm
I saw Shonda Rhimes at a panel presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer where she helped introduce How to Get Away with Murder, the new ABC drama she helps produce but did not create. I found her pleasantly (and a little amusingly) transparent in not loving some of the questions she was asked (including one about whether she was worried that #HTGAWM, which was printed on the promotional cookies ABC handed out, was an unwieldy hashtag), and I thought, "She is an interview for which you would want to be on your toes."
All week, the University of Hartford hosted events marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The programs were designed to encourage reflection on what was accomplished back then, as a way to ask ourselves, “What can we do now?”
Originally published on Sat September 20, 2014 1:10 pm
Over the past week, Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings' all-world running back and one of the NFL's biggest stars, has become the face of corporal punishment in America. Peterson turned himself in to police over the weekend on charges of child abuse after he allegedly hit his son with a switch that left welts on his body.
A new report from the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University takes a closer look at racial profiling in Connecticut. This hour, we hear from one of the authors of that report.
Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 1:27 pm
It seems some TV networks have gotten the message on late-night diversity and others have not.
Friday's news — that Saturday Night Live hired comic Michael Che to join Colin Jost behind the anchor desk on its popular "Weekend Update" segment — shows NBC's venerated late night comedy franchise may, finally, stand among those in the first group.
Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 6:16 pm
The family of Michael Brown issued a new call for the police officer who shot and killed the 18-year-old to be arrested Tuesday. Supporters of the family held a news conference in Ferguson, Mo., where Officer Darren Wilson had a fatal confrontation with the unarmed Brown one month ago today.
Originally published on Mon September 8, 2014 3:44 pm
The co-owner and CEO of the Atlanta Hawks says multiple people have reached out to him to buy the NBA franchise following the announcement by controlling owner Bruce Levenson that he would sell his stake in the team because of a racially charged email he sent two years ago.
Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 12:13 pm
Listen to NPR's Michel Martin recap the event on Morning Edition
(Editor's Note: NPR's Michel Martin was invited by St. Louis Public Radio to moderate a community conversation on Thursday around race, police tactics and leadership following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The following story is based on what happened at the event.)
Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 11:57 pm
The protests that followed the shooting death this month of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have rekindled long-standing complaints about racist policing, especially in the St Louis area.
Many male African-American residents there say police scrutinize them unfairly. "Every time you see a cop, it's like, 'OK, am I going to get messed with?' " says Anthony Ross. "You feel that every single time you get behind your car. Every time."
Now, police officers in and around St. Louis are becoming more vocal about defending themselves against the charges of bias.