racism

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Five of the six Democrats running for governor met in Springfield for a debate. House Speaker Michael Madigan was once again a hot topic, as the speaker had earlier in the week cut ties with a second aide over allegations of harassment.

Meanwhile, Republicans were distancing themselves from their own problem candidate — one who'd used racial and anti-gay language in a conversation with Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold.

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A former white supremacist is coming to Springfield to talk about his shift from racial hate to "rational love." Joseph Pearce is Tolkien & Lewis Chair in Literary Studies at Holy Apostles College & Seminary and Senior Editor at the Augustine Institute. 

CAROLINA HIDALGO | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Stephen Houldsworth began a life in activism and community organizing decades ago, during the AIDS crisis. He was part of movements in New York and other major cities, and now calls St. Louis home. NPR Illinois previously spoke with him during a visit to Springfield to perform his original one-man show, "Protests & Punk Shows While Making Other Plans: Musings of a Grumpy Old Gay Man."

Rachel Otwell

First thing - the title of this post is not to suggest A.D. Carson won't ever be in Springfield again, but the bulk of this conversation comes from his latest visit, earlier this summer. 

Rachel Otwell

Since last weekend's events in Charlottesville, Virginia – politicians and everyday citizens across Illinois have spoken out against the violence and hateful rhetoric.

What Can I Do To Stop Hate Groups?

Aug 15, 2017

The violent racism we saw in Charlottesville, Virginia is not new.

But after last weekend’s attack, many people are looking for new ideas about how to stop extremists. On Monday’s show, our guest Jameta Barlow said “Everyone needs to do something every day.”

But what? What is the most productive response to a white nationalist rally in your town? Or on your campus? What should you do if a cousin says something racist at Thanksgiving?

Central Illinois residents gather outside Springfield city hall.
Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois 91.9 UIS

About 300 people gathered near the fountains outside city hall in Springfield Sunday night. They were there to hold a vigil for racial unity in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

How should educators confront bigotry, racism and white supremacy? The incidents in Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend pushed that question from history to current events.

From the scene in Charlottesville on Saturday.
A.D. Carson

A.D. Carson says he was asked by counter-protestors to speak out in response to the white-supremacist, "alt-right" and neo-Nazi organizers who had descended on the campus of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.  Carson, who gained international attention for earning a Doctorate with a thesis in the form of a hip hop album, has been settling into his new home there. 

Chicago Police Department

The General Assembly passes legislation aimed at strengthening hate crime laws after a post-presidental-campaign spike in bias incidents.

Rachel Otwell / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week Rachel and Scott ventured out of studio, to Kingsway African & Caribbean Cuisine restaurant in Springfield. The menu offers many dishes unique for the area, including authentic jerk chicken created with a Nigerian recipe, goat curry and many vegan & vegetarian offerings. They sat down to lunch with local poet Johari Osayi Idusuyi who garnered national attention last year for her appearance at a Trump rally in Springfield.

Karen Walrond

Kelly Wickham Hurst spent about 20 years with Springfield School District 186. As guidance dean, she frequently took to social media to share stories of black students being treated unfairly, and her efforts to advocate on their behalf. Sprinkled in among those stories were hints that some colleagues resented her, like the time a teacher inadvertently flashed a text message over the classroom projector and students saw Hurst referenced by a derogatory term. So it was no surprise when she parted ways with the school district and started an initiative called Being Black At School.

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In this critical time it’s necessary to understand both the historical and present analysis of our oppression. It is connected to this country's long history of police brutality, as well as its flawed legal system and the evils of mass incarceration within. There is an overall framework of anti-blackness and white supremacy that has been imbedded in the US since the colonization of African people.

c/o California State University, San Bernardino

Jane Elliott was a teacher in Riceville, Iowa in the late sixties. She says she was disturbed by the way much of white America reacted to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. She had been teaching her third graders about him, presenting him as a hero for his work to end racism. But she didn't think it was enough, and she was afraid of what the parents of her students were saying about race at home.

Amanda Vinicky

The GOP has been talking for years about the need to do more minority outreach: Illinois leaders like former Governor Jim Edgar said at the Republican National Convention in 2008 that it should be a goal,and the Republican National Committee's autopsy of the 2012 election prescribed a dedicated campaign to cultivate black, Hispanics and Asian support. Here's a diversity check, through the prism of Illinois' 2016 delegation to the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland.

BRAD PALMER, WSIU RADIO

Since earlier this year - students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale have been urging administrators to address the racism they say they've run into on campus. In April, one black student in particular alleged that white students used racial slurs when addressing her during an open forum in a dorm.

Nelson Chenault / The Clinton Foundation

The fatal shooting last year of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a Cleveland police officer rocked the celebrated Chicago poet and publisher Haki Madhubuti.

He was so disturbed, he says, that he couldn't sleep and rose at 4:30 a.m. to write. What would become the book Taking Bullets: Black People in the 21st Century America Fighting Terrorism, Fighting Violence and Seeking Healing is now in galley form for final proofing. 

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Sunday marked the anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Recently, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran an extensive story marking the occasion. To learn about that story and get an update on what’s happening in Ferguson, I talked with the story’s author, Kevin McDermott.

Patrick Yeagle

Some people claim we're living in a "post-racial" world. There's a black president, and laws to protect the rights of citizens no matter their skin color. But while it's no longer common place to overtly discriminate against others due to their looks - racism is alive and well in many of the institutions and systems of power in this country, and that includes in Springfield.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

The holidays can bring out the compassionate side of people. Some might be inspired to donate to charities or take on volunteer work. For one local man, helping the less fortunate is something he does on a daily basis. But it wasn't always that way.

Courtesy of The Hoogland Center for the Arts

Putting on older theater productions can be a dilemma for those who want to preserve the art in its original form. Some production groups may decide to reinvent pieces that could be seen as problematic in modern times. An operetta currently being performed in Springfield by local actors has sparked controversy for what many consider to be racist qualities.

As many Illinoisans sing the praises of black men like Barack Obama, it's good to remember the thousands of African-American males whose splintered lives stand in sharp contrast to the high-achieving junior senator from Illinois. Stunted by low school attendance, widespread unemployment and disproportionate rates of incarceration, these men are frequent fixtures on street corners, idle, aimless and as disconnected from mainstream society as a dead cell phone.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

A decade after federal welfare reform began to move women with children from welfare to work, activists and scholars are turning a spotlight on the plight of America's young black men. 

While women have made some social and economic gains under policies designed to promote work and limit public assistance, young men are losing ground. Black men in particular. Studies released this summer show that, more than any other cohort, black males increasingly are disconnected from school and from work.