WXXI AM News

race

We discuss the life and legacy of award-winning poet Lucille Clifton. Clifton was a Buffalo native whose work celebrated Black womanhood, identity, and resilience. She won the National Book Award for Poetry and was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

BOA Editions is publishing a new collection of her work. Our guests discuss that collection – “How to Carry Water” – and how it intersects with current events. We also discuss BOA's upcoming Dine & Rhyme event honoring Clifton. Our guests:

  • Sidney Clifton, television and film producer, and daughter of Lucille Clifton
  • Cornelius Eady, poet and co-founder of Cave Canem Foundation
  • Peter Connors, publisher for BOA Editions
  • Alison Meyers, executive director of Writers & Books

Former Rochester Mayor Bill Johnson says the newly formed commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE) was not informed of Daniel Prude’s death. Johnson says the commission has important work to do and can help lead the city forward. He joins us to talk about the Prude case and what we should expect of city leaders.

Our guest:

  • Bill Johnson, former Rochester mayor and co-chair of the RASE Commission

Community members in Irondequoit are gearing up for a town-wide discussion about Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynold's book, "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You." It's a remix of Kendi's bestselling book "Stamped" that's written in a conversational way for young readers.

Our guests discuss the upcoming event and what they want readers to learn:

  • Patrina Freeman, Irondequoit Town Councilwoman
  • Brya Potter, 6th grade school counselor at East Irondequoit Middle School
  • Greg Benoit, director of the Irondequoit Public Library
  • Karen Finter, director of instruction for grades 7-12 at West Irondequoit Central School District

21 years ago this month, the NAACP was advocating a boycott of the major television networks. That's because the networks had just released their fall schedules. 26 new shows would be hitting the airwaves that year, and not a single one of them featured a star or prominent character of color. For African American leaders in particular, enough was enough. The networks promised to change. In some ways, they have: there are more African American and Latino leads than ever before. But in many other ways, the industry has not changed much at all. As the LA Times reports, there are very few executives of color at the networks, and while the networks are pledging support of the Black Lives Matter movement, African American actors have their doubts.

This hour, we explore representation in media. Our guests:

  • Calvin Brown, Jr., executive producer of "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder"
  • Tina Chapman, director of diversity theater at RIT
  • Chris Thompson, engineer, writer, comedian, and activist
  • Darnell Hunt, dean of social sciences, and professor of sociology and African American Studies at UCLA

Report: Monroe County awash in racist land deeds

Aug 4, 2020
Jeremy Moule/CITY

Thousands of deeds in Monroe County still bear clauses that restrict properties from being sold to or occupied by people of color, Jews, and other ethnicities, according to a report released Tuesday by the Yale Environmental Protection Clinic and the City Roots Community Land Trust.

We're joined by Bruce Jacobs, author of the book "Race Manners." His work explores how to have civilized, candid, and meaningful dialogues about race.

He'll be giving a presentation for the Harley School this week, but first, he joins us to discuss antiracism in today's political climate and during the coronavirus. Our guest:

  • Bruce Jacobs, author of "Race Manners"

Last week, Mayor Lovely Warren banned public gatherings of five or more people between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the City of Rochester. The move, made in coordination with RPD, is aimed at curbing recent violence. Protesters took to the streets Wednesday night; organizers say the curfew is anti-Black and discriminatory.

This hour, our guests debate the curfew and discuss their ideas for how to address violence in Rochester. Our guests:

Hulu has removed an episode of "The Golden Girls" from its platform over concerns about blackface. In the episode, "Mixed Blessings" from 1988, Dorothy's son announces his engagement to an older African American woman. In a scene where the two families meet, roommates Blanche and Rose enter the room wearing mud masks, prompting Rose to say, "This is mud on our faces. We're not really black." Critics of Hulu's decision called it an over correction.

This hour, we discuss sensitivity and over sensitivity when it comes to entertainment. Our guests:

Long lines and malfunctioning voting machines in Georgia's primary election renewed conversations about voting rights, especially those for disenfranchised voters. The New York Times called the issues a "full-scale meltdown of new voting systems." Those systems were put in place after claims of voter suppression in 2018.

Discussions about voter suppression are happening throughout the country, with concerns about what could happen in November. This hour, we're joined by RIT professor Donathan Brown to discuss voting rights and policies. His research focuses on race and public policy, and he's the co-author of "Voting Rights Under Fire: The Continuing Struggle for People of Color." He helps us understand voting issues throughout the country, both past and present. Our guest:

  • Donathan Brown, assistant provost and assistant vice president for faculty diversity and recruitment, and professor in the School of Communication at RIT

We continue our series of conversations about how to discuss race and racism. Companies across the country are grappling with how to have those conversations internally. Some have coordinated dialogue circles, town halls, and listening sessions, where employees share their experiences with racism, white privilege, and discrimination.

WXXI staff members recently participated in listening sessions. We've invited members from one of the breakout groups on Connections to share what they discussed, their responses to recent events, and their thoughts on the value of having uncomfortable conversations. Our guests:

  • Mona Isler, executive assistant and staff liaison to the board at WXXI
  • Tashanda Thomas, director of human resources for WXXI
  • Laura Garrison, vice president for development at WXXI and the Little Theatre

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