Equity

Race, Culture & Ethnicity

For hundreds of years, this nation has been known as the United States of America. But according to author and journalist Colin Woodard, the country is neither united, nor made up of 50 states. Woodward has studied American voting patterns, demographics and public opinion polls going back to the days of the first settlers, and says that his research shows America is really made up of 11 different nations.

Military Women Combat Challenges in Service

Nov 11, 2013

On Veteran's Day, we honor those who have served by talking with five women who have fought for this country. All five are also authors. We hear how they hope to encourage a new generation of women in the military. Join @TellMeMoreNPR for a Live Twitter chat at 11:00am ET. We will talk about women in combat, race in the military, balancing career & motherhood and why women choose to serve.

A few years ago I did an author visit at an overcrowded junior high school in a rougher part of San Antonio. I write young adult novels that feature working-class, "multicultural" characters, so I'm frequently invited to speak at urban schools like this.

As is often the case, the principal and I talked as the kids filed into the auditorium. The student body was mostly Hispanic, he told me, and over 90 percent qualified for free and reduced lunch. It was an underprivileged school, a traditionally low-achieving school, but they were working hard to raise performance.

NPR continues a series of conversations about The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words. Every so often NPR Host/Special Correspondent Michele Norris will dip into those six-word stories to explore issues surrounding race and cultural identity for Morning Edition.

"Where are you from?"

"No, really, where are you from?"

A cast of New York lawyers and a federal judge debuted a new production on Friday off-off Broadway — all the way in Kansas City, Mo.

Attorneys have gathered there for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association's annual convention. For the past seven years, the meeting has featured dramatic re-enactments of historic trials involving Asian-Americans.

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Host Michel Martin continues the conversation surrounding Missouri's controversial school transfer policy with Don Marsh of St. Louis Public Radio; Ty McNichols, who leads the city's Normandy School District; and Eric Knost, Superintendent of Mehlville School District.

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This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. We are in St. Louis, Missouri today for a special broadcast from St. Louis Public Radio. We're going to be giving you a bit of St. Louis flavor. In a few minutes, we will talk about one of the city's biggest bragging rights. Hint, it has nothing to do with swinging a bat or throwing a ball.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers are known worldwide for their flawless voices and stellar performances of Negro spirituals. They're from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., but they travel around the world to perform their music. Negro spirituals were originally sung by slaves and remain tightly linked to African-American culture. Paul Kwami, the choir's musical director, said singing these spirituals was a way for slaves to lament their servitude, along with the hope of being free one day.

Over the last few days, the sports media has been transfixed by the story of Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, two burly offensive lineman who play for the Miami Dolphins. Martin, a 24-year-old, second-year pro, abruptly walked away from the team last week after an incident with Incognito, 30, his frequent tormentor and the offensive line's unofficial leader.

The "school-to-prison pipeline" is what many activists call education policies that push troubled kids out of class, and into the criminal justice system. Broward County has taken steps to address those concerns by moving away from "zero tolerance" rules of discipline. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the new program with Marsha Ellison of the Broward County NAACP, and Michael Krezmien, a professor of student development at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Art Revolution Blooms After Arab Spring

Nov 7, 2013

In the U.S., graffiti is often condemned as vandalism. But during the Arab Spring, artists say city walls were often the only places where they could talk back to tyrants.

Street art can be found across the Middle East and North Africa, and the Arab Spring protests inspired an artistic revolution. The "Creative Dissent" exhibit at the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan is putting that art on display.

Typing Love Letters To St. Louis

Nov 7, 2013

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This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is actually on her way to St. Louis Public Radio. Coming up, we'll take a look at the Arab Spring through street art, paintings and photographs. We'll hear from the curator and a featured artist from a new exhibit at the Arab American National Museum. But first, as I just mentioned, TELL ME MORE is taking the show to St. Louis tomorrow.

The eastern Congo is known to some as the 'rape capital of the world' because nearly 50 women are raped there every hour. Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist, has put his practice, and his life on the line, to help save these women. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with him about his work.

The Congolese rebel group M-23 is has been condemned for its years of brutal violence against civilians. But now, they've vowed to lay down their weapons. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses the issue with NPR's Eastern Africa correspondent Gregory Warner.

Where Do 'Hoodlums' Come From? San Francisco

Nov 6, 2013

Singer Chris Brown was in the news last week after being accused of punching a fan outside a Washington, D.C., hotel. Police later identified the alleged victim as 20-year-old Parker Isaac Adams. Brown maintains it was his bodyguard who threw the punch and only after Adams tried to board the singer's tour bus.

Adams' uncle came to his defense after the incident, insisting to reporters that his nephew wasn't a troublemaker.

"Parker's not some kind of hoodlum," Creighton Adams told the AP.

Texas Tangled In Hair Braiding Controversy

Nov 6, 2013

For women, hair care can be a sensitive issue. But now one woman is picking a fight over hair care with the state of Texas. Host Michel Martin speaks with Isis Brantley who is suing the state for the right to teach hair braiding.

Hazing and bullying are commonly found in schoolyards and fraternities. But pro sports? The NFL is investigating possible harassment within the Miami Dolphins between veteran guard Richie Incognito and offensive tackle Jonathan Martin. Host Michel Martin speaks with sportswriter Kevin Blackistone about the culture of bullying and hazing within the NFL.

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Finally today, not to kick a man when he is already down, but can we take a moment to contemplate yesterday's admission by the mayor of a major North American city that he had in fact used crack cocaine? Citizens of Toronto, welcome to my world. As a longtime resident of Washington, D.C., I have had to endure years of jokes about our former mayor, Marion Barry, now a D.C. council member, who was famously induced to light up in a hotel room by a woman with whom he had been, ahem, involved.

Comediennes Of Color: 'I Am Funny'

Nov 6, 2013

This past weekend's Saturday Night Live was the most-watched episode of the season, but viewers may have been looking for something other than laughs. Saturday's show followed weeks of criticism over SNL's painfully obvious lack of diversity.

In Florida, one of the nation's largest school districts has overhauled its discipline policies with a single purpose in mind — to reduce the number of children going into the juvenile justice system.

It's a move away from so-called "zero tolerance" policies that require schools to refer even minor misdemeanors to the police. Critics call it a "school to prison pipeline."

Civil rights and education activists say the policy can be a model for the nation.

Just months after Wade Ingram became police chief in Gary, Ind., in January 2012, he began an unusual initiative: visiting the family of each of the city's homicide victims.

That's meant many visits for Ingram.

Hundreds of people have been killed in northern Nigeria this year. The violence is blamed on Boko Haram, an extremist group that claims to be fighting against westernization. Host Michel Martin learns more from NPR's Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, who recently visited the town where Boko Haram was born.

Big box retailer Target said it will remove questions about prior arrests on its job applications, but many companies still ask. Host Michel Martin speaks with Madeline Neighly from the National Employment Law Project and Elizabeth Milito from the National Federation of Independent Businesses about the pros and cons of the practice.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Today, we're going to spend some time talking about some important issues in criminal justice, including what happens after people have served their time. Retailer Target recently announced that it would remove questions about an applicant's criminal history from the initial job applications, but many companies still do it. We'll talk about why this has become a growing focus of advocates.

Many couples who struggle with infertility say they would go to the ends of the earth to have a child. Some use surrogate mothers in the United States, but the high cost and legal complications keep that option out of reach for many families. So some Americans are going global --to countries like India– to make it happen.

Aja Brown made history this past summer when she became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton, Calif. There is a lot of buzz there around the charismatic 31-year-old.

The city of about 100,000 people just south of Los Angeles has long struggled with gangs and street violence. But it wasn't always that way. Compton flourished in the '50s and '60s, when its factory jobs were a beacon for African-Americans fleeing the South.

Catherine Chung went from mathematics to writing, though she says words were always her first love. She was named one of Granta's New Voices in 2010, and her first novel, Forgotten Country, received honorable mention for a PEN/Hemingway Award last year.

In Forgotten Country, Chung writes of a family with a curse that stretches back generations — from their time in Korea to their life in America. Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, each generation of the family has lost a daughter.

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