WUOMFM

race

Davies said the characters in his book all "struggle with the burden of representation. How do these individual Chinese and Chinese-Americans somehow represent or speak for a group, and it’s an impossible burden.”
flickr user futureatlas.com / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

It’s been nearly ten years since Peter Ho Davies came out with his first novel, The Welsh Girl. It was long-listed for the 2007 Man Booker Prize.

Now, Davies is out with his second novel: The Fortunes.

He offers four linked stories that explore what it means to be Chinese in America over the past century and a half. Three of the stories are built around people and events that actually happened.

According to Moran, the statistics prove that African Americans are more likely to be wrongfully convicted than white people.
flickr user Thomas Hawk / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan Radio is involved with several news media partners in a project called the Detroit Journalism Cooperative. One of the issues we're looking at this year is justice, things such as mass incarceration and wrongful conviction. 

There's a nationwide network of legal clinics that are working to litigate claims of actual innocence by prisoners. Many of these clinics base their work on DNA evidence which has led to clearing the names and the release of hundreds of people. 

At the University of Michigan, the Michigan Innocence Clinic operates a little differently. It pursues cases in which DNA evidence is not available. 

woman at podium
Cheyna Roth / Michigan Radio

The Michigan League for Public Policy aimed to have what it called an “honest discussion” about racial inequality in Michigan at its annual forum Monday. 

From the Flint water crisis to the state of Detroit Public Schools, the League wanted Michiganders to take a hard look at how racial inequality impacts their communities and learn about ways to make change. 

university of michigan campus
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan wants to improve diversity and inclusion on its campus.

The university announced today it will spend $85 million over the next five years in an effort to do so.

Scholarships for high-achieving, low-income students are a large part of the university's plan. 

On EMU's campus.
user F Delventhal / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two incidents of racist graffiti found on Eastern Michigan University’s campus in Ypsilanti have sparked protests and dialogue between students and faculty.

The first racial slur was found spray painted on a wall outside King Hall this past Tuesday:

John Auchter / Michigan Radio

Telling the wife of your boss at a dinner party that she is a racist is not a career enhancing move. Turns out, people don't like to be called racist — even if they are.

Let me explain.

Peter Williams

The "N-word" probably gets you thinking about the racial epithet that's been used for centuries like a club against black people. Renowned painter Peter Williams has turned that version upside-down and inside-out.

He's created an African-American superhero: N-Word.

Flickr user TS Elliott/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Race is very difficult for people to talk about.

Many white people want to believe we’re in a post-racial society. After all, we have an African-American president.

Many black people note the inequalities that exist, the segregation that exists.

How can Americans begin to have a real discussion about race when we’ve been comfortable in our own beliefs about that subject for so long?

Shannon Gibney says thanks to adoptee activism, awareness of the challenges of transracial adoptions has changed since she was adopted as a child.
Elizabeth Dahl

Writer Shannon Gibney tackles some very sensitive and emotional subjects in her new young adult novel See No Color.

First, she speaks to us with the voice of a teenage girl, and that alone can present a merry-go-round of turbulent emotions.

Next, that teen, named Alexandra Kirtridge, is an adoptee. And layered over all of that is the fact that Alex is biracial, adopted by white parents as a very young child. 

Morgan Willis

The Next Idea

When Amber Williams and Morgan Willis talk about #ICantBreathe or #BlackLivesMatter, they aren't just talking about Twitter hashtags. For these black activists and many others in Michigan, digital technologies create important spaces of solace, solidarity, struggle, and connection. At a recent conference at University of Michigan called #UMBLACKOUT, Williams, Willis, and an array of local and national black activists discussed the myriad ways that black organizers use technology for both politics and pleasure, online and offline. 

flickr user DryHundredFear / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

How do we break down stereotypes about each other?

That question has driven a Michigan State University journalism class to create a series of guides to help disassemble the myths and stereotypes about different groups in our country.

Bias Busters: Guides to Cultural Competence have been created by students. They're a series of questions and answers about African-Americans, East Asian cultures, Native Americans and more.

Earlier this year I talked about Southfield, which I think is one of the more intriguing communities in Michigan.

Southfield, which has between 70,000 and 75,000 people, basically was born, like so many other places, with the great suburban sprawl that began in the early 1950s, with the coming of the freeways and the malls.

"Words mean things."

Our favorite podcasters, Crissle and Kid Fury of The Read, are fond of saying that.

It's true now more than ever, but particularly when it comes to tough conversations. 

Americans, in person and online, are discussing race and racism.

Benjamin Foote

The debut album by Grand Rapids indie rock and soul band Vox Vidorra explores race, inequality, love and religion.

Molly Bouwsma-Schultz is Vox Vidorra’s lead singer and lyricist. 

The Majestic in Midtown is one of the older, trendier spots in Detroit.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Detroit is seeing more private investment and new businesses in its downtown areas, but some residents in the neighborhoods don’t see how they’re benefiting from that.

On a recent weeknight, I visited ten of Detroit’s popular night spots ranging from the trendy to the tourist spot to the traditional. All but one had something in common, the vast majority of the patrons were white.

Twenty years ago this fall, Curtis Ivery was appointed chancellor of the oddly named Wayne County Community College District. The place was a mess. One of its campuses was closed, funding and facilities were wretched, and many thought it wouldn’t survive. But as Ivery, who had grown up poor and black in Amarillo, Texas, once told me, “whenever anybody told me I couldn’t do it, I did it.”

Photo courtesy of Brit Bennett

More than a million people know how Brit Bennett feels about being black in nice little liberal enclaves of progressive white people.

Basically, confused. And grateful. And more than a little tired.

Paul Engstrom/Skillman Foundation

About 50 civic leaders met today in Detroit to develop a plan to improve life outcomes for young men of color.

The group is taking up the challenge of President Barack Obama's "My Brother's Keeper Initiative," launched early this year to address the growing disparities faced by African American and Latino boys and young men. The group is working to come up with a report and a set of recommendations in 120 days.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said his priority for 2015 is to create opportunities for Detroit youth.

I flew to Florida early last month, and while in the air re-read from cover to cover the one indispensable book that explains as nothing else what really happened to Detroit.

Eighteen years ago, University of Pennsylvania historian Thomas Sugrue published a volume mind-blowing in its brilliance of analysis and depth of research.

The title, “The Origins of the Urban Crisis,” is somewhat misleading.

This really is the book on how Detroit was destroyed - and destroyed itself - over the last 70 years.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

A newly released report is breaking new ground in the study of inequality among our children.

The report is from the Annie E. Casey Foundation for Kids Count. It's titled "Race for Results: building a path to opportunity for all children."

For the first time, it creates an index that looks at conditions for children by race.

Our next guest believes it contains troubling findings for Michigan children and the need for a major call to action.

Jane Zehnder-Merrell is project director of Kids Count in Michigan with the Michigan League for Public Policy, and she joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan has a race problem.

“Open it up! Or we’ll shut it down!” chanted half a dozen black students at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday.

Their frustrations are getting national attention. 

The Black Student union has led protests on campus and online.

Their #BBUM Twitter campaign (Being Black at U of M) has gone viral. 

They’re fed up, they say, by a school that boasts about a diverse community, yet where just roughly 5% of some 28,000 undergraduate students are black.

MESA/Trotter / University of Michigan

Administrators at the University of Michigan are “doubling down” on efforts to improve race relations at the university’s Ann Arbor campus.

Minority enrollment is down at the university: In 2008, black students made up about 6.8% of the university’s freshman class. In 2012, that number dropped to 4.6%.

A recent Twitter campaign caught the attention of administrators, as students took to the Web to express their frustrations with race relations on campus. The #BBUM campaign – Being Black at Michigan – went viral, with more than 10,000 tweets using the hashtag in November.

As MLive’s Kellie Woodhouse reported, the university is now launching a campus-wide effort to increase enrollment of underrepresented students and improve the campus climate.

One plan in the works is to renovate the Trotter Multicultural Center, a hub dedicated to providing a safe working environment for students on campus.

Does diversity make for better schools?

Nov 13, 2013
clipping courtesy of Ray Litt / via Detroit Free Press

In short, the answer is 'we don't really know.'

Stanford University's Sean Reardon studies achievement gaps - the difference between how one group of students performs compared to another group.

When comparing black, white, and Latino students, Reardon says you see the importance not so much of race, but of class.

"Over the last 40 or so years, the black-white achievement gap and the Hispanic-white achievement gap have narrowed a lot," Reardon said. "On the other hand, the gap between high and low income students has increased quite dramatically."

Reardon said that particular gap has grown about 40% since the 1980s. 

But while economic diversity might matter more in ensuring a quality education, that doesn't mean people want to give up on racial and ethnic diversity.

Ray Litt, a community activist involved in Detroit's Milliken v. Bradley case, reflected, "The desegregation action was to provide a quality integrated venue in which students and staff are exposed to and can interact with kids of different races religions and economic status," he said. "We all need to be able to be comfortable, not tolerating, a society that is the melting pot."

Racial diversity is not something you are likely to find in a majority of Detroit's schools, even after a hard fought desegregation plan.

Read more and listen to the whole story at State of Opportunity.

It's been a weary, awful November in metro Detroit so far. 

A week ago Saturday, 19-year-old Renisha McBride was shot dead by a 54-year-old white homeowner in Dearborn Heights.

She was killed on his porch. Her family says she was looking for help after her car crashed, more than 2 hours earlier and about six blocks away in Detroit.

Police haven't released the homeowner's name yet. But his attorney says he thought McBride was an intruder, and that the gun went off accidentally. An autopsy confirms she was shot in the face.

So far, he hasn't been arrested. The Wayne County Prosecutor's office announced Monday that it had "begun the warrant review process," but was awaiting more evidence from Dearborn Heights police before deciding on charges.

screenshot of BBC Magazine page

Update 2:47 p.m.

Many people asked where Keshia Thomas is today after this post.

The BBC reported that Keshia lives in Houston now. Ryan Stanton over at the Ann Arbor News caught up with her. He reports that Thomas moved out of the area in 2002 and is working in a restaurant in Houston:

She said she still has family in the Ann Arbor area and plans to move back to Michigan before long so she can be part of the revitalization of Detroit [Thomas was born in Detroit].

Thomas said she's still trying to make a difference in the world and still trying to break down racial stereotypes through small acts of kindness.

She said disaster relief work has been a passion of hers over the years, whether that's meant going to Ground Zero after the twin towers fell or helping those in need following Hurricane Katrina and wildfires in California.

"This has just always been a passion of mine — even before the incident happened — to want to help people," she said. "And to help people see that there is hope."

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 3:39 p.m.

A BBC article that’s making the rounds today tells the story of one Ann Arbor protest that took an unexpected turn.

Back in 1996, the Ku Klux Klan planned a rally in Ann Arbor. Hundreds showed up to the group’s rally, attempting to show the group that they had no place in the Michigan city.

Police had kept the two groups under control — that is, until an anti-KKK protester pointed to a man in a Confederate flag T-shirt, claiming he was a Klansman.

Suddenly, the atmosphere in the crowd turned, as protesters chased the man down the streets of Ann Arbor, amidst shouts of “Kill the Nazi.”

Dustin Cable / Cooper Center

Dustin Cable is a demographer who mapped race in the U.S.

Every dot on the map is smaller than one pixel and represents one person. 

Yes, there are 308, 745,538 dots on this map. 

Cable used population data from the 2010 Census to create this comprehensive image. Here's the key to different colors he used to represent different races:

  • Blue: White
  • Green: Black
  • Orange: Hispanic
  • Red: Asian
  • Brown: Other/Native American/multi-racial

If you take a look at the whole country, you can see a lot of segregation. But there are also colors that blend together, like the purple area that covers Chicago.

Eighteen years ago, I was teaching a large “survey of the media” class at Wayne State University when word came that there was a verdict in the O.J. Simpson case. I put television on.

This was a Wayne State University class with almost equal numbers of black and white students. When it was announced that OJ had been acquitted of the murders of his wife and her friend, the reaction seemed almost Pavlovian.

The white students were openly disgusted. The black ones, pleased. Times have changed. Today, we have a black President. 

But my guess is that if I had been teaching a similar class when the Trayvon Martin verdict was announced, I would have seen something like a mirror image. Certainly the African-Americans would have been outraged; though I am not sure the white students would have been all that pleased with George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Peter Martorano / Flickr

When it comes to measuring economies, gross domestic product has been the big player for the last century.

But a growing number of economists and political scientists argue that GDP is an incomplete assessment of development. The central complaint: GDP misses the human side of things.

So researchers at the Social Science Research Council in Brooklyn looked at the Human Development Index, a metric developed in the 1990s, and applied it to the U.S. Looking at the health, education, and earnings of people across the country, the researchers were able to get a better understanding of how Americans are doing.

 

The result? The country is making progress in some areas and falling behind in others. No surprise.

 

But across the board, Michigan’s not doing well.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

School is almost out for summer! For some students, that means camp. For others, it means time to get a job. For the three high school sophomores you’re about to meet, it means a break - not just from school, but from riding the bus.

Unemployment line in California
Michael Raphael / Flickr

It’s no secret that Michigan’s been in a bit of an economic rough patch. For black Michiganders, the downturn has hit even harder.

According to recent research by the Economic Policy Institute, nearly one in five African-Americans in Michigan are unemployed.

That’s almost 2.5 times higher than the unemployment rate for white workers in the state.

The discrepancy between white and black unemployment earned Michigan a new title: highest African-American unemployment nationwide.

Pages