WXXI AM News

race

Brighton Town Board member Robin Wilt announced last week that she was dropping out of the race for New York State Assembly due to concerns about alleged racism in Brighton. Wilt says she made the decision to focus her energies on the town after a 14-year-old Brighton High School student posted a video on YouTube that alleged systemic racism in the district. The student, Keniyah Vickers, is the daughter of Wilt’s campaign manager, Wynette Vickers.

Wilt and Vickers join us in studio for the hour.

The ROC2Change Student Summit on Race is among the most recent examples of youth activism in our community. The summit at Churchville-Chili High School brought together hundreds of students from across Monroe County to address racial disparities and racism in schools.

We talk to students who participated in the event about what they learned about implicit bias, and how they plan to address discrimination in their daily lives. We also discuss what it means to be a youth activist in this current political climate. In studio:

  • Jocelyn Hernandez, senior at Churchville-Chili High School
  • Asha Charles, junior at Churchville-Chili High School
  • Amari Conyers, senior at Churchville-Chili High School
  • Jason Cline, assistant principal and facilitator of the ROC2Change Student Summit on Race at Churchville-Chili High School

When police arrested two black men for not ordering a drink at Starbucks, it sparked discussions across the country about bias and discrimination. At Connections, we've heard from many people of color who explain that the Starbucks arrests are not new or unusual.

This hour, we have a discussion about how common this type of incident is, and the damage it does. Our guests:

A recent piece in the Atlantic Monthly explores the efforts parents of color are making to shield their children from negative stereotypes. It highlights how many parents curate books, entertainment, and toys -- either eliminating or adding certain types of media -- with the goal of empowering their children and exposing them to positive images of characters that look like them. Parents say it's a challenge, and the results are mixed.

We hear from local parents who share their experiences and what they hope will change. Our guests: 

  • Leslie C. Youngblood, author of Love Like Sky, and aunt
  • Pastor Darryl E. Carter, senior pastor at JHKM Inc., and parent
  • Rodney Fields, parent
  • Shaun Nelms, associate professor at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester, superintendent of East High School, and parent

A new art series called "At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice" is exploring themes of racial justice. One of the installations is called "Black Magic Slays the Magical Negro." What is the Magical Negro? The concept, largely credited to Spike Lee, describes one black character in art or film that is designed as a savior – saving white people or the white race. The concept shows up in politics too; recent calls for Oprah and Michelle Obama are examples.

This hour, we discuss the concept, and how the art series can spark community conversations. Our guests:

Often when we talk about race, we hear from scholars, professors, people trained to talk about it. And that is certainly helpful.

On Wednesday night, a pair of white Rochesterians will host a discussion that aims to "assist us white folks free ourselves from the awkwardness we often encounter around the topic." The presentation is called "Exploring the Territory: White People Look at Race and Racism." It will be held at Starbridge Inc. at 1650 South Avenue in Rochester from 7-9 p.m. (to register, call 585-224-7238). We discuss what it's all about. Our guests:

We welcome Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program. He's in town to visit the College at Brockport.

On Connections, Parker talks to us about race in the era of video cameras. He addresses how "evidence of discrimination has launched a new form of civil rights movement, including the creation of grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter." In studio:

We'll talk race and American culture with Gerald Early, a scholar, professor, and a cultural critic. Early will come to Rochester on Thursday to help open the new Humanities Center at the University of Rochester. We'll talk with him about his research and writing, and we'll preview his Thursday presentation, which will center on his research on the African-American community in Philadelphia. Also joining us will be Joan Rubin, history professor and the interim director of the new Humanities Center.

David Roediger is considered one of the leading voices in the public discussion of white privilege or, as he prefers to call it, "white advantage." Roediger is a historian who has examined race throughout American history, including in his book, The Wages of Whiteness. Roediger visited Hobart & William Smith to speak to students about race, American history, and the recent events related to police / community relations. 

We open the conversation with Whitney Dow, director of the Whiteness Project, a multimedia documentary created in Buffalo. In the documentary, Dow talked with people about what it means to be white. Then we talk more about the impact of this project with Ann Johnson of ACT Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation

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