WUOMFM

racism

"Pressure Makes Diamonds: Becoming the Woman I Pretended to Be"
Courtesy of Valerie Graves

 

You may not know her name, but it’s a good bet you know her work.

Valerie Graves has worked in the creative departments at the nation’s leading advertising firms. She’s been creative director for top Fortune 500 accounts like General Motors, Ford, Burger King, AT&T, Pepsi and more. She’s been a top executive for Motown Records, and she was creative consultant to President Bill Clinton.

Advertising Age named her one of the “100 Best and Brightest” in the industry.

“The biggest fear is that we would go backwards into fear rather than forward into hope. That we’d go backwards into polarization, not forward into unity. We’ve made an awful lot of progress in the last 50 years, and that progress is now threatened.”
Laura Weber / MPRN

 

A week ago, we woke up to the news that Donald Trump is our president-elect.

Since that day, we’ve seen a flood of reported hate incidents across the country.

agilitynut.com / File photo

A group of people met in Albion last night in an attempt to unify the community after someone vandalized several buildings downtown.

Graph showing racial attacks and harassment since Election Day.
Souther Poverty Law Center

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights continues to receive increased reports of harassment and bullying directed at students of color and religious minorities following Tuesday's election.

Agustin Arbulu is the director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. He says many of the attacks are related to things President-elect Donald Trump said throughout his campaign.

“I think this election had a very negative climate for people on both sides, so it’s not surprising that there are people struggling with the result,” he says.

Empty classroom
flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Students across the state are seeing racially charged attacks this week.

Most of the verbal harassment in Michigan schools has been targeting students of color and religious minorities.

A video of middle school students in Royal Oak chanting "build the wall" has already gone viral.

Agustin Arbulu is the director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Students holding signs at a protest outside of Ford Hall on Eastern Michigan University's campus.
Bryce Huffman

Eastern Michigan University students and faculty are frustrated with the racist graffiti discovered on campus earlier this week.

Hundreds of them gathered to peacefully protest outside of Ford Hall on EMU's campus, where a racial slur targeting black students was spray-painted.

This is the third separate instance of graffiti with a racist message towards black students within two months.

Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

When racist fliers were found in two buildings on the University of Michigan campus earlier this fall, university officials were quick to respond.

First, President Mark Schlissel called a “community conversation” at which students, faculty, staff, and other community members could express their thoughts and feelings. The following week, the University launched its five-year Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan.

The timing of that launch, however, was largely coincidental: the plan had been under development for more than a year. It quickly received criticism from black student activists for failing to do enough to address specific acts of racism on campus.

Courtesy of Lauren Ward

Earlier this month, racist flyers were found in two buildings on the University of Michigan campus.

One of the flyers called on "Euro-Americans" to "Be White" and "stop living in fear." Another flyer provided racist reasons why white women should not date black men.

University President Mark Schlissel called a "Community Conversation" meeting to let people express their thoughts and feelings. And he unveiled a university-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan.

Some black student activists are skeptical.

Eastern Michigan University
F. Delventhal / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Eastern Michigan University community is once again dealing with racist graffiti on the school's Ypsilanti campus. 

The racial slur targeting black students was found spray-painted on Ford Hall. 

Last month, there were two separate incidents of racist graffiti targeting black students on campus.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Many minority students remain stunned, hurt, and angry, days after racist flyers were found in two buildings on the University of Michigan campus.

One of the flyers called on "Euro-Americans" to "Be White" and "stop living in fear."

Another flyer gave racist reasons why white women should not date black men.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel called a "Community Conversation" meeting on Sunday afternoon to let people express their feelings and thoughts.

The Michigan Union on the U of M's campus.
Andrew Horne / Wikimedia Commons

The University of Michigan removed several racist flyers posted on campus today.

One flier explained “Why White Women Shouldn’t Date Black Men.” Others told white people to stop “apologizing” and “living in fear” and “be white.”

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.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris sits down with Cynthia Canty for an interview on Stateside.
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Whenever there's a story of violence that takes over the news cycle, parents face a challenge: How much do you tell your child? How do you answer your child's questions? Do you wade right into what happened and why? Or do you divert them, and try to give them something different to think about?

For parents of color, these challenges come up with each act of police-related violence on black males, or violence aimed at police officers who are just doing their jobs, such as in Dallas or Baton Rouge.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris is a pediatrician doing research on the impact racism, and these racially-charged news stories, can have on children.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Racial tensions are growing as the perceptions and evidence of racial inequality are growing.

Many of Detroit's residents see billionaires buying up downtown buildings where new retailers open shop, selling items most of Detroit's impoverished citizens cannot afford. There's a marked divide between that prosperity in downtown and the poverty in the neighborhoods.

That divide is stark in the Cass Corridor. New residents, often white, are moving in. Rents are rising. New restaurants and boutique shops are popping up. The old residents, often black, are being pushed out.

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?

Casey Rocheteau
Ian Brown


Poetry can have a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone and into a place that challenges your perceptions and makes you question your beliefs.

The Dozen is a new book of poems released by Sibling Rivalry Press. The poems in these pages will really make you think.

Guy Williams and Lester Graham
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Correction for the audio interview: 48217 is the most polluted ZIP code in Michigan (as stated), but the Delray neighborhood is in the neighboring ZIP code. It is the second most polluted.

The Flint water crisis has brought attention to a larger issue: why do we see more contamination and pollution issues in areas where poor people and, often, people of color live?

Flint’s water is just the tip of the iceberg. Flint has been an industrial city for generations, and still suffers from the lingering pollution left behind by over a century’s worth of factories. Much of the city’s housing was built using lead-based products like paint.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University will release plans later today to show it is trying to address the needs of African-American students. 

But some black Spartans feel the university is not doing enough.

The statue of Orville Hubbard at Dearborn City Hall was taken down today.
Anne B. Hood

Updated at 5:30 pm The city of Dearborn quietly removed a controversial statue of former mayor Orville Hubbard this morning. 

For years, the 10-foot-tall bronze monument stood outside of the City Hall building. 

Now, it’s on its way to the Dearborn Historical Museum.

Hubbard, who ran the city for more than three decades, from the 1940s through the late 1970s, was an outspoken supporter of segregation. 

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

You may see fewer Confederate flags at next month’s NASCAR race at Michigan International Speedway.

A spokesman for the race track in Brooklyn says they want events at the track to be “the most fan-friendly and welcoming environments”. 

"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.

  

Six years ago, when President Obama first took office, the United States was in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Unemployment was heading towards nine percent.

Barack Obama walked into the Oval Office to find the previous administration had left a budget with a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion. He knew things would get worse.

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.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

What discussions and conversations should we be having around Michigan that we are veering away from?

What's the price we're paying for not opening up and talking about hot-button issues like racism, poverty, food justice, LGBT rights, and so much more?

That's what our next guest asked herself, and that led her to co-found Deep Dive Detroit. Its mission is to "create a safe place for uncomfortable conversations between disparate groups."

Co-founder Lauren Hood joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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.”

user: sbat65 / Flickr

Too many babies are dying in Michigan. 

That’s not speculation – that’s based on some disturbing statistics. And even now, in 2013, those statistics say that a baby’s chance of living past his or her first birthday can largely depend on the color of the baby’s skin. 

In Michigan, the infant mortality rate has been persistently higher than the national average.

More specifically, a baby born to a black mother is almost three times more likely to die before its first birthday than a baby born to a white mother. 

Michigan Radio's Dustin Dwyer reported in August about Michigan's infant mortality disparity for State of Opportunity:

Using a three-year moving average for Michigan’s mortality rate for African-American babies, we would be behind every advanced nation, tucked between countries like Malaysia and Syria. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Update 4:43 p.m.

The CEO of the Hurley Medical Center in Flint denied accusations that it kept black nurses from caring for an infant after a father made a request to do so.

From the Flint Journal:

Hurley CEO Melany Gavulic said the father was informed that his request could not be granted...

Gavulic said the request was not granted and that all nurses remained available to care for his baby.

“We (Hurley) value the support of the patients who entrust us with their care and the dedication of our physicians and staff,” she said. “This includes nurse Battle and her quarter century of professionalism and dedication.”

Gavulic declined to comment or answer questions regarding the lawsuit.

11:24 a.m.

The Flint Journal's Ron Fonger reports that Al Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN) will hold a rally today outside the emergency room of the Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

The  Rev. Charles E. Williams II, president of the Michigan chapter of NAN, said the Hurley story is being watched across the nation.

"There is growing concern around the country about how this could be in 2013," Williams said today. "There will be growing pressure as Hurley continues to be quiet."

The group is protesting the treatment of an African-American nurse who claims she was barred from treating an infant after the father made a request that no black nurses be allowed to treat his child.

The Flint Journal reports the incident occurred last fall. The suit claims the father went to the nurse's supervisor with the request.

The father, who is not named in the suit, told the supervisor that he did not want an African American nurse taking care of his baby, the suit alleges. The father allegedly rolled up his sleeve and showed a tattoo that was believed to be a swastika while talking with the supervisor, the suit says.

According to the lawsuit, the supervisor then reassigned the infant to a different nurse.

On Nov. 1, 2012, a decision was made to grant the father's request that no African American nurses care for his child, the suit alleges.

In a statement, Hurley Medical Center says it "does not comment on past or current litigation."

Robin Erb of the Detroit Free Press spoke with legal scholars about the case.

Requesting care based on religious principles or sex appears to be requests hospitals try to accommodate, but others draw the line on requests based on race.

Stateside: The question of a post-racial presidency

Nov 7, 2012
lsa.umich.edu

When Barack Obama was elected to the White House four years ago, there was talk of a "post-racial era." With an African-American as president, some thought the racist notions of the past would be eliminated.

But, as found by an Associated Press poll, racial attitudes have not completely improved.

Pages