race

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The president of the Kansas City, Missouri, chapter of the NAACP told reporters and members of the community Tuesday that there was an “ugly urgency" to call on Governor Eric Greitens to veto Senate Bill 43.

The bill weakens protection for minorities and women, Rev. Rodney Williams said, by making it harder to prove discrimination is the cause of an employer’s disciplinary behavior.

Ten years ago this month, a massive tornado nearly wiped Greensburg, Kansas off the map. KCUR's Frank Morris joins us to share how the town's efforts to rebuild became "a laboratory experiment in re-engineering the classic American small town."

Plus, a conference last month brought thousands to Kansas City to talk about "white privilege." We discuss what our local communities are doing to address and respond to the concept. 

Guests:

KCUR 89.3

Suddenly, everyone seems to be using the word "y'all." But what do we mean when we use that word? Is it a bad case of appropriation? Is it racist? One thing's for sure, "y'all" is far more interesting than you think.

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What is the Midwest? In a recent video, comedian Jeff Houghton played a Midwest correspondent out to solve this great mystery. The typical perception? Think Wizard of Oz, and American Gothic ... you know, that old white couple standing in front of a church with a pitchfork, and yellow brick roads.

Really though. What defines the Midwest? What are its borders, and what makes it home? 

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It's been nearly 30 years since six Kansas City firefighters were killed in an explosion after responding to a call about a truck on fire. A few weeks ago, Bryan Sheppard, one of five sentenced to life in prison, was released, because juvenile sentencing laws have changed since the time of the then 17-year-old's conviction. We check-in with Sheppard on life after prison.

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As a kid, Ed Dwight never dreamed he might one day go to the moon, but he did fantasize about escaping life in Kansas. And it was that idea of escape that was so powerful for a young black man in the 50s.

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President Trump has referred to major media outlets such as The New York Times and CNN as "the enemy of the American people." But what does that unwanted title mean for journalists, and journalism itself, moving forward? We bring in the Media Critics to answer that one. Also, should a news outlet assign reporters based on race? Find out what our panel thinks about the recent lawsuit between a local reporter and television news station involving that very issue.

Courtesy of Sherie Randolph / sheriemrandolph.com

One day, about 20 years ago, Sherie Randolph was sitting on her couch, flipping through TV channels, when she saw something unusual.

It was footage from the 1960s or 1970s of a black woman in a cowboy hat chasing Daniel Patrick Moynihan and "calling him a racist sexist bastard," Randolph recalled.

"Of course, I knew who he was, but I didn't know who she was," Randolph told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

Courtesy of Sherie Randolph / sheriemrandolph.com

In the early 1900s, in a home near 18th and Vine, a young black mother made her daughter promise never to have children. That little girl became a radical feminist, who pried her way into Columbia Law School in a time when they weren't even admitting black men. Historian Sherie Randolph unearths the life and times of the late Flo Kennedy. 

Plus, an encore broadcast: One local academic on performing around the world as Zora Neale Hurston. 

Guests:

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

When Kansas City Public Schools hired Mark Bedell to be the district’s next superintendent, one of the board members sent him a book to read, “Complex Justice,” about the Missouri v. Jenkins desegregation case.

In the 1980s, the courts ordered KCPS to pay teachers more and build state-of-the-art schools – at the time, what people thought it would take to bring white, suburban families back to the district.

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When he was 4 years old, Ed Dwight built an airplane out of orange crates from Safeway in the backyard of his house in Kansas City, Kansas.

But while growing up in a segregated Kansas City in the 1930s and 1940s, he never dreamed that he could be an airplane pilot.

And he certainly didn't think he'd be the first African-American to train as an astronaut for NASA.

But then, a local newspaper changed the course of his life.

Kansas Memory

On April 4, 1968, the radio and TV crackled with awful news: Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

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From 60 degrees to a winter weather advisory in just a couple of days: yes, the weather here can be manic. A chat with Mike July, who recently retired from the National Weather Service office in KC, about the art of forecasting ... and about his witty social media posts.

Then, in 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. gave a surprising speech at K-State. We'll hear about the impression it left on Kansans.

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. But the hip-hop culture that gave rise to break-dancing isn't getting any younger.

Now, the original hip-hop generation is bringing kids to the club for events featuring crayons. In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we ask, how is the culture of hip-hop growing up with them? Plus, profiles of three icons in Kansas City's hip-hop scene. 

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

"Growing up, I thought I lived in like a black city," says Nathan Louis Jackson, who spent his childhood and early adulthood in the Quindaro neighborhood in Kansas City, Kansas. "I didn't understand the makeup of this city. And not just that, it wasn't just a racial makeup, it was also economic. All that, I didn't get. I was in a little bubble."

How an Argentinean Catholic boy grew up to be a gay Jewish rabbi, and what brought him to the Midwest. Rabbi Javier Cattapan shares his journey and responds to the recent vandalism at the Kansas City public library, which included a red swastika and racist slur.

Also, in an encore broadcast, KU professor David Roediger, a leading scholar of "white studies," joins us to critically explore what it means to be white.

Guests:

In Kansas City, there is a connection between where people live and the economic realities of their lives. Today, we air a conversation hosted by American Public Square that looks to understand how poverty, race and place interact to affect the people who live in urban neighborhoods. 

Local actor Damron Russell Armstrong recently started a theater company, the Black Repertory Theater of Kansas City. The company made its debut back in August. But that's not the only thing he's been up to – Armstrong is also directing the play "An Octoroon," which opens Nov. 30 at The Unicorn.

Plus, we check in with Missouri's Chess Champion as he gears up to defend his title.

Guests:

Louish Pixel / Flickr - CC

Turkey? Check. Stuffing? Done. Cranberry sauce? Got it. Preparing for a big Thanksgiving feast comes with a long to-do list, but this year, you probably need to add one more big item: a plan for talking about the recent election. How to approach race, religion and politics at your family dinner table this holiday.

Plus, a local opera singer will perform the work of Venetian composer Barbara Strozzi in an upcoming concert. We hear a sample, and a bit of Strozzi's life story.

With the national Republican Party in turmoil, we look at the unexpected politics of African-Americans in the GOP. Then, whether it's dealing with doctors, dating in one's 70s, or new and unexpected bodily changes, growing older can dismay some folks, but William Novak says laughter is often the best medicine.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

Each year in the fall, nearly 1,700 people enjoy Ailey II modern dance performances presented by the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. But besides being the official second home of the famed New York-based Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the local organization has another year-round mission: to create social change by encouraging diversity.

Are conversations about race actually changing things? Many people of color say that talking with white people about race and racism isn't getting anywhere.

Guest:

Donna Ginther / University of Kansas

University of Kansas economist Donna Ginther made waves in 2011 with her studies showing racial disparities in research grant awards, which led the National Institutes of Health to start an initiative to address the issue. She says the problem isn’t necessarily bias on the part of those who award grants but lack of mentors and training for diverse communities.

Ginther recently sat down with KCUR’s Alex Smith to talk about her latest work on the issue, which factors in gender. She and her colleagues looked at NIH R01 grants awarded between 2000 and 2006.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

We explore why the world of science fiction is a battleground for issues of race, gender and identity — and why that field of battle is here in KC over the next few days at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

 

“Because of this game, for the first time in a long time, people weren’t uncomfortable with my presence.”

That's the title of a popular post on the social network news site Reddit that was voted to the top of the page about Pokemon Go, a newly released augmented reality game for mobile phones. It was written by Marcellus King, a 40-year-old black man living in Johnson County, Kansas.

 

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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.’

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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.

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