race

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 20, 2013.

Discovery Channel

"Reality TV" is perhaps the biggest misnomer in the entertainment industry today. A better name would probably be "scripted unscripted television." It's not catchy, but at least it's accurate.

Remembering Mandela: "The People's Choice"

Dec 6, 2013
Megan Torrey

When I was a young teen in the '80s, I remember watching the news and learning about apartheid in South Africa. I remember learning about a powerful man who had been jailed simply for believing in equality and freedom, all watching the evening news, and seeing protests at Yale against apartheid. 

There are many examples of triumphant liberation leaders and successful political leaders, but it's rare to find someone who has managed the transition from one to the other.

George Washington did it in the 18th century. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey did it after World War I. And Nelson Mandela also belongs to this exclusive club.

"It is hard enough to find someone courageous enough to lead a revolution, rarer still for them to have remarkable leadership skills," says Jack Goldstone, director of the Center for Global Policy at George Mason University.

Nelson Mandela, who became an icon of the struggle for racial equality during a decades-long struggle against South Africa's apartheid system, is being remembered across the globe on Thursday following his death at age 95.

Mandela died after a prolonged lung infection, which had been a recurring problem for him since his days as a prisoner of conscience on South Africa's Robben Island. He served 27 years at the notorious jail.

"He is now resting. He is now at peace," South African President Jacob Zuma said in an address to the nation.

All this month, our friends at Tell Me More are digging into the role of blacks in technology. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #NPRBlacksInTech.

Software development is a huge and growing industry, and there are likely to be far more jobs in the future than there are folks to do them. But today, there's a paucity of blacks and Latinos in software development positions.

There is no question that Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, Silicon Beach and all of the other places we associate with tech entrepreneurism face diversity problems.

African-American innovators represent just 5 percent of America's scientists and engineers, according to a 2010 study by the National Science Foundation.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, two stories, and a story about stories. Toni Harp talked about breaking a glass ceiling when she was elected mayor of New Haven earlier this month. The veteran state legislator fought back a tough challenge from Justin Elicker to become the first female mayor of the Elm City. We talk about her personal voyage to city hall, and her vision for New Haven. 

There's a state law that's supposed to deter racial profiling: the Alvin Penn Law of 1999. It was never really implemented until a recent revision by the General Assembly that states exactly how police officers should collect and maintain data on traffic stops. 

Chion Wolf

Here's the plan for The Nose today. We'll begin with a widely discussed column by Richard Cohen of The Washington Post who took an odd detour from a discussion of Chris Christie's national electoral profile and suggested that conventionally-minded people have to repress a gag reflex when confronted with the sight of an inter-racial couple, specifically the new first family of New York City. 

Planeta on Flickr Creative Commons

Once again we start the week with a show that we planned on the fly based on stories that grabbed us over the weekend. 

In his first interview since the Miami Dolphins suspended him, Richie Incognito says his words to Jonathan Martin sound harsh, but that's not the way he meant them.

"My actions were coming from a place of love," he told Fox NFL Sunday. "No matter how bad and how vulgar it sounds, that's how we communicate, that's how our friendship was, and those are the facts and that's what I'm accountable for."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As my friend Alex Beam said today, 12 Years a Slave has a way of taking things that were abstractions and making them real. It's one thing to talk about abolition, another to see the essential need for it. Even a figure like John Brown, says Alex, looks different when you see the true carnage of slavery.

We're talking about this astonishing new Steve McQueen movie today on The Nose and we'll find it pretty easy I predict.

Opponents of Alabama's strict immigration law are declaring victory Tuesday, as the state agreed not to pursue key provisions of a measure critics had called an endorsement of racial profiling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a federal court's ruling that gutted the law.

Dok1 / Creative Commons

On The Nose this week, a viral video musical tribute to Chinese food triggers cries of racism, a father welcoming his fourth daughter into the world, and opens up a can of complicated thoughts about that. And we talk about the time we walked in the shoes of the opposite sex. Listen to our weekly culture panel live from New Haven on WNPR.

Call it a linguistic identity crisis.

Growing up in Westchester, N.Y., 25-year-old Danielle Alvarez says, she and her two siblings didn't have much need for Spanish. With few other Hispanic families around, she got by with the few phrases she had picked up from her Mexican-born father: good night, put a coat on, be careful.

rinkusen.com

Rinku Sen is an author, speaker and activist. She'll be in Connecticut next week to keynote a conference, talking about "The Structure of Race and Poverty: Implications for the Future of Young Children." She appeared on WNPR's Where We Live and spoke about institutional racism, and about her website Colorlines

Chion Wolf

If you listen to public radio, you know Frank Tavares. Colin McEnroe called him NPR’s Yoda, but you probably best know him as the voice of NPR.  He’s wrapping up his tenure as the voice that says, “This is NPR” after funding credits.  

Connecticut Department of Correction

Bonnie Jean Foreshaw, a woman believed to be Connecticut’s longest-serving female prison inmate, will have the rare chance for early release Wednesday. The clemency hearing is to be held at Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic.

Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

Two police officers from East Haven are facing charges that they harassed Latinos and violated their civil rights. Prosecutors are making their cases against David Cari and Dennis Spaulding in Hartford federal court. As they do, they're calling members of East Haven's largely Ecuadoran community to testify.

Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

WNPR News talked with Evan Lips, a reporter for The New Haven Register who has been covering the trial in East Haven of two police officers accused of violating the civil rights of several Latinos during arrests. The officers are David Cari and Dennis Spaulding, who were charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights. Spaulding was also charged with excessive force. Lips shared his observations about the early stages of the trial.

Wikipedia

"Saturday Night Live" returned for a new season on last weekend. There are six new "featured players," the biggest cast turnover in recent memory. Five white men and one white woman. 

I brought up SNL with Eric Deggans on a recent show, and before the question was all the way out of my mouth he was planting his palm on his face and moaning, "I know what you're going to say."

Chion Wolf

In the 2012 election, Latino voters accounted for ten percent of all voters nationwide - a large margin, which will only increase as the Latino population does. Between now and 2030, 40 million Hispanics will be eligible to vote.

Slavery is an accepted part of the history of the American South. But it was also practiced throughout the North.

Around the time of the American Revolution, Connecticut had more than 6,000 slaves, the most in New England.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Diane Orson of WNPR brings us the story of an 18th century Connecticut slave whose remains were recently laid to rest, more than 200 years after his death.

Earlier this week, a school in Hartford, Conn., made headlines after parents complained about its, uh, novel approach at making America's racial history resonate with seventh graders.

Chion Wolf

You can read a lot into media depictions of minorities.

Richard Pryor was  hilarious at it. One time he said he had just seen a movie called "Logan's Run." It was set in the future, and there were no black characters in it. "That means white folks ain't planning for us to be there," he said.

Media critic Eric Deggans joins us today, and one of his major theses is that extremism and division make for a bad public discourse and great television. Big media, says Deggans, thrive on division and tension, whether it's on cable news shows or reality TV.

Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement

A new report from the Connecticut Council for Education Reform praises Connecticut's efforts to overhaul its public education system, but warns more needs to be done to close the state's achievement gap between low-income students and wealthier students. The statewide nonprofit organization, made up of business and civic leaders, released the report Tuesday.

Columbia Law School

Constance Baker Motley, a New Haven native, has been nominated for a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal. Motley was born in 1921 to a family that emigrated to New Haven from the West Indies. She was a pioneer as a civil rights lawyer, lawmaker and judge.

Fifty years ago Sunday, a Ku Klux Klan bomb at a Baptist church in Birmingham, Ala., killed four black girls and sent shock waves throughout the country.

In Birmingham, the tragedy laid bare a deep rift.

Carolyn McKinstry, standing on the sidewalk outside 16th Street Baptist Church, remembers arriving for worship 50 years ago.

"It was Youth Day," she says. "We were excited because that meant we got to do everything. We sang, we ushered, we did everything."

Some of her Sunday school classmates had gone to the ladies' room to freshen up.

After getting heckled at a disastrous performance in Hartford, comedian Dave Chappelle walked off stage, and later joked about “nuking” the city. But he also raised a lot of questions about race and racism in Hartford and Connecticut - a “liberal” state that in many ways considers itself “post-racial.”

Today's Where We Live conversation on race prompted a huge response from our listeners. (Some listeners may find the audio in the excerpt below offensive.)

Pages