Equity & Justice

Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Culture, Income, and Justice

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. Americans are talking a lot about race these days and whether immigrants from certain regions should be welcomed into the country. Our guest, Charles King, writes about a time a little more than 100 years ago when he says educated people in the U.S. believed it was established science that there is a natural hierarchy of cultures, with Western civilization at the top, and that people's abilities and potential were defined by their race and gender.

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Updated at 9:13 p.m. ET

When Sgt. Alan Van't Land of the Colorado Springs Police Department approaches two young black men in the 2100 block of Preuss Road in Colorado Springs, he tells them he is responding to a call about a possible assault.

He says the men match suspect descriptions and he has been informed one of them may have a gun.

You're at brunch with your friends on Sunday morning and after stuffing yourself with pancakes and mimosas, your server comes up to you and says, "Is this going to be on one check or — "

"Separate!" you all proclaim, barely taking a breath to pause from your conversation.

And why would you? It's pretty customary to pay for your own meal, or to go Dutch.

But it wasn't always the norm to split the check when going out with friends. In fact, in early English society, it was seen as selfish to invite someone out to eat and not pay for their meal.

Say the word "exosuit" and superheroes come to mind — somebody like Tony Stark from Marvel Comics, whose fancy suit enables him to become Iron Man.

On one hand, the release of Ibram X. Kendi's new book, How To Be An Antiracist, couldn't come at a better time.

The book hits bookstores this week amid an ongoing national debate about what qualifies as racist — and who gets to decide. Its August arrival also coincides with the 400th anniversary of the first Africans documented to reach the colony of Virginia, entering involuntary bondage in what would become the United States.

After back-to-back mass shootings, residents in one Houston suburb are demanding members of Congress finally take action to stop a deadly trend in America.

Fort Bend County is home to Sugar Land and other cities where demographics and political stripes are dramatically changing. And voters in the 22nd congressional district who have elected Republicans opposed to major gun restrictions in recent years may be considering giving a Democrat the job in 2020.

Benjy Jeffords / WSIU/NPR Illinois

One southern Illinois community gathers forces together to prepare for the count.

A few days ago, my dad gave me a call. "When we land in D.C., it's going to be Eid al-Adha," he said. "You know, the one where we eat kharouf."

No, I did not know. I had never observed the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Although my father is a Muslim, my mother is Filipino and a strict Catholic. My parents divorced when I was a child. For most of my life, my dad lived in Cairo while I grew up in Southern California. I'd visit him in the summertime. But the trips never intersected with an Eid celebration.

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Until she came to the U.S. this summer, Wendy Beatriz Caishpal Jaco had never been able to board a bus.

Jaco, 29, uses a wheelchair, which buses aren't able to accommodate in her hometown of Ahuachapán in El Salvador. She finally got on a bus that could handle a wheelchair while attending a program called WILD — the Women's Institute on Leadership and Disability, held this summer in Eugene, Ore.

Sarah M. Broom's gorgeous debut, The Yellow House, reads as elegy and prayer.

The titular house is the fulcrum for Broom's memoir about her large and complex family. Perhaps more important, it stands in for the countless ways America has failed and continues to fail African Americans.

Dora The Explorer's Lasting Impact

Aug 12, 2019

Dora the Explorer is one of the most recognized Latinx characters on TV. She debuted on Nickelodeon almost 20 years ago. This past weekend, Dora moved to the big screen, in Dora and the Lost City of Gold.

But before she was an explorer who traversed the world with her backpack and map, she was Stinky.

Sister Helen Prejean is best known for her 1993 memoir, Dead Man Walking, about her role as a spiritual adviser to a convicted killer on death row. The story was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. Prejean has accompanied six prisoners to their executions and has been at the forefront of activism against the death penalty.

This is a story about two small-town Virginia churches with the same name, but two very different congregations. They've each found themselves caught up in controversy tied to President Trump's racist rhetoric. NPR's Sarah McCammon recently visited both congregations.

A century ago, a new world order began.

The Treaty of Versailles concluded the war to end all wars. Constructed through diplomacy, a fragile peace replaced global bloodshed.

The treaty's proclamations are now iconic: that nations should have the right to self-determine, that a war's victors should negotiate how to move forward, that the defeated powers should be held responsible for the damage.

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In September of 1885, a mob of about 150 white men, armed with rifles, descended upon the Chinatown in Rock Springs, Wyo. They issued an ultimatum to the people who lived there: you have an hour to leave town.

The assembled horde was angry at Chinese laborers in the region, who they blamed for keeping the choicest mining areas and depressing their wages. They felt that the Chinese were working the choicest areas of the coal mines, the part that would yield the most coal and thus the most compensation. The Chinese, they felt, were taking what was rightfully theirs.

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There's a summer camp for kids with disabilities in Nashville that does things a little differently. Instead of accommodating the campers' physical challenges, therapists make life a bit tougher, in hopes of ultimately strengthening the kids' ability to navigate the world.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed a sweeping anti-sexual harassment law. But one woman who accused a lawmaker of harassment is disappointed with an aspect of the new rules.

Denise Rotheimer says she objects to part of the new law that levies a fine of $5,000 on accusers for leaking information from an inspector general  report's release.

The Racial Roots Behind The Term 'Nappy'

Aug 9, 2019

A black man walks into my barber shop on Manhattan's Lower East Side and removes his hat, revealing hair that is thick and tightly coiled. There's usually a hum of hair clippers buzzing through the loud bachata music in the shop, but the moment the man walks through the heavy glass door, a silence seems to befall the place.

"Este muchacho tiene pelo malo," one of the barbers says to the others, shaking his head. But in English, the barber doesn't tell the man his hair is bad (malo).

Instead, he says, "Your hair ... it's ... ehm ... nappy, yes?"

When one thinks of American blackness, there is the unsaid ugly truth that nearly all American blacks who have descended from the historical African diaspora in America have one (or several) rapacious white slave owners in their family tree at some point.

Pittsburgh International Airport recently opened a suite of "sensory rooms" inside its airside terminal to help travelers on the autism spectrum decompress from the stress of flying. It's one of a handful of airports internationally that have made changes to be more accommodating to people with special needs.

Keith Cooper / Flickr (BY-CC 2.0)

A Chicago-based think tank on Tuesday called for a federal investigation into racial disparity in small-business lending.

Banks in Illinois, and the nation as a whole, are more likely to lend to white-owned small businesses as opposed to their minority counterparts to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

If Jess Row, born in 1974, received a legacy from the white writers of the 20th century, it was one of "silences, defensive postures, lacunae, conscious and unconscious self-limitations" on the subject of race.

But that doesn't mean race is absent from their work, as he notes in his new book White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination: "even writers who would seem to have almost nothing to say about race...are saying a great deal."

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

When Toni Morrison received her Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, her remarks began with a reflection on the phrase once upon a time. In her signature, measured cadence, Morrison told the Swedish Academy she believed these were some of the first words we remember from our childhoods.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Studies tell us that young Latinos exhibit higher rates of depression when compared to their black and white peers. And the shooting here in El Paso over the weekend has deepened that anxiety for many Latinos. Here's NPR's Leila Fadel.

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