race

SURJ KC / Facebook

Alice Chamberlain admits it's often uncomfortable for white people to talk about prejudice, white privilege and institutional racism.

That's why she's excited. 

On Monday, more than 300 people — most of them white, like her  — showed up at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church in Kansas City to have a conversation about just those topics. 

What does it mean to be a white person who wants a place in the Black Lives Matter movement? Some say it starts by acknowledging you’re white. We talk about how to be what activists call ‘white allies.’

Guests:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

More than 100 members — about half white, half African-American, mostly middle age or younger — of two Methodist churches came together Thursday night to pray, read and discuss their personal experiences of race relations.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City artist and writer José Faus was getting ready for bed when he first saw the video of Philando Castile's death at the hands of a police officer in Minnesota.

"There's sun coming in the car window," he remembers. "I see the glare, to the left the open window, the sky, the trees, the [gun] ... and then, the wound."

He says he will never forget the crimson of the blood against Castile's white shirt.

Danny Lyon / courtesy of Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The violence and horror of cell phone videos of the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have galvanized many Americans to question race relations and justice.

We take a look back at iconic civil rights era photos, and then invite a psychologist and criminologist to explore the effect of images of violence, past and present, on our minds and our culture.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The shootings of Alton Sterling in Louisiana, Philando Castile in Minnesota, and several police officers in Dallas are still fresh in the minds of many across the country. On this edition of Up To Date, we hear from a diverse panel of community members, activists and police about how these tragedies affect us here in Kansas City.

Guests:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

People in Kansas City are still reeling after a week of violence across the country, and many sought different outlets over the weekend to express their grief and frustration.

Sunday evening, hundreds gathered at the East Patrol Station at 26th and Prospect for a prayer vigil organized by area pastors.

In a crowded gymnasium, Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said that there are changes that need to be made within his own department.

"We've done a lot of things wrong," he said.

Faith Bemiss / The Sedalia Democrat

In Sedalia, Missouri, Marge Harlan spent $25,000 of her own money to build a "slave cabin." While she meant the cabin to honor the courage and resilience of African-Americans, many in the community, especially people of color, have found the gesture problematic and offensive.

We ask, how do we commemorate history? What is the best way to remember a conflicted and painful past? And who gets to decide?

Guests:

As NPR's first African-American female host, Michele Norris is no stranger to having tough, meaningful conversations. As curator of The Race Card Project, Norris asks people to express their thoughts about race and identity in six words, which turn out to be more powerful than she expected.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

When you picture a break-dancer, or "b-boy," you may envision a skinny kid who drops to the ground and pops back up like it's no big deal, like gravity has no say in the matter. But the hip-hop culture that gave rise to break-dancing isn't getting any younger. Now that the original hip-hop generation is bringing kids to the club for events featuring crayons, how is the culture growing up with them? Bonus: profiles of three icons in Kansas City's hip-hop scene.

Guests:

Since becoming a Kansas City, Missouri police officer in the 1950s, Alvin Brooks has spent a lifetime working to reduce crime and injustice in his city. Even as we look back at all he’s already done, we ask the equal rights activist what Kansas City still needs to do.

On Tuesday, Alvin Brooks was awarded at lifetime achievement award from the South Kansas City Alliance. He is also this year's recipient of the Truman Public Service Award.

Curve Ball

May 23, 2016
Greg Echlin / KCUR

A swanky new baseball facility in the 18th and Vine district, sponsored by Major League Baseball, raises big questions: Are black kids still playing baseball? Are sports a "way out" for youth? Will the coaches come from the surrounding neighborhood? And what about the kids?

Guests:

The TV series Star Trek went where no one had gone before, both in its day and in the reality it created. Now, we Earthlings are using instruments and processes originally imagined by the creator and writers of the series, while our struggles with the issues of race and ideology it addressed in the 1960s continue.

Guest:

Brian Rogers

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR's Central Standard, in which local musicians tell the story behind a recent song, and explain how it was constructed musically.

The Musicians: Emcee Morgan Cooper (aka Barrel Maker) and producer Brian Rogers (aka Lion)

KOMU News / Flickr

Why do some graduating high school students, in 2016, consider historically black colleges or universities (HBCUs) over PWI (predominantly white institutions)? Hear how these schools struggle to match the resources of their competitors, and why they continue to have a distinct appeal for many students nonetheless.

Guests:

Men In Uniform

Mar 28, 2016

According to Pellom McDaniels, when African-Americans served in World War I donning uniforms, the experience empowered them, not just as Americans but as men. On the homefront, they relived that dignity in their baseball careers. 

Guest:

Hidden Roots

Feb 23, 2016
Library of Congress

Tracing your family's roots becomes a complicated prospect once the legacy of slavery enters the picture. Records relating to a little-known chapter of the Civil War might help. 

Guest:

A superintendent on the other side of the state has earned the national spotlight for figuring out "how to make school work for poor kids" (as The Washington Post puts it). What's the secret, and could it translate to Kansas City?

Guest:

In sports, everyone is equal: Train hard and the strongest will win. But are sports really played on an equal playing field? A local thinker says they aren't — and you can see it from Pop Warner to the Super Bowl.

We explore the intersection of race, sports and business.

Guest:

Wikipedia, Creative Commons

Photographer Gordon Parks was one of the first African Americans to show white America what discrimination looked like to people of color. But his story begins in poverty and obscurity, in Fort Scott, Kansas. A window into his life, his beliefs and his work, based on conversations with those who knew him.

Guests:

On a day set aside for commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., we revisit a conversation with a local civil rights activist: Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson, who died on January 11, 2014. Along with the Mutual Musicians Foundation's Anita Dixon, he discusses the fight for racial equality here in Kansas City.

Guests:

  • Reverend Nelson "Fuzzy" Thompson, The Southern Christian Leadership Conference
  • Anita Dixon, The Mutual Musicians Foundation

We take a look back at desegregation efforts through school busing in Kansas City. Two Southwest High School graduates share their memories of being bused.

Guests:

  • Eric Wesson, Editor, The Call
  • Monroe Dodd, KCUR's resident historian
  • Susi Cohen

How does a classical art adapt to a changing world? Exploring race in what began as a 17th-century European artform, through the lens of dancers of color.

Guests:

  • Tyrone Aiken, artistic director, KC Friends of Alvin Ailey
  • Sabrina Madison-Cannon, associate dean of undergraduate affairs, UMKC Conservatory
  • Courtney Garrett, dance student, UMKC Conservatory
  • Miyesha McGriff, New York City dancer and Kansas City native
David DeHetre / Flickr

What is the Plaza worth to you? To the city on the whole? A conversation inspired by the retail district being up for sale.

Guests:

  • Monroe Dodd, local historian, KCUR's Central Standard
  • Susie Haake, lifelong Plaza resident
  • Celia Ruiz, activist, Una Lucha KC, lifelong Kansas Citian
Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas City artist Shane Evans was raised by a mother and father whose racial and cultural backgrounds were different from one another. But to Evans they were just mom and dad. He’s also raising a mixed-race daughter.

That’s why Evans was eager to collaborate with his friend, actor Taye Diggs, on a children’s book that takes on the complex issues of growing up in a mixed-race household. Diggs has a six-year-old son with actress and singer Idina Menzel, who is white.

Shane Evans

 

Actor Taye Diggs, who wrote the book Mixed Me!, caused a stir when he said that he wanted his son to identify as mixed rather than black. But does acknowledging one heritage deny the other?

The local artist who illustrated Mixed Me! discusses the question of identifying as mixed or bi-racial — and the nuances of his illustrations for the book.

Guest:

  • Shane Evans, local artist
Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

The University of Missouri-Columbia made national headlines over the past few weeks amidst rising racial tensions and resulting protests on campus.

As the conversation unfolded, a handful of terms have taken the spotlight online and in the media. Like safe space, systematic oppression and the First Amendment, to name a few.

Paul Sableman / Flickr

Demographic shifts in the Kansas City metropolitan area tell us the suburbs are becoming more diverse, while downtown has seen an influx of white people. But it doesn't necessarily feel more integrated.

Shambresha Roland, a native Texan who has lived in Overland Park, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, has found being an African American woman in those majority white communities awkward.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

Leaders of the Student Senate at the University of Kansas made the case to keep their jobs Wednesday night, but the impeachment process is now underway.

The turmoil is in response to claims of racism and discrimination at KU. The Executive Committee of the Senate called for the president, vice president and chief of staff to resign or face possible impeachment.

Student Body President Jessie Pringle told the Senate that she would stay in her post.

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