race

Graphic of woman on crutches overlooking treacherous landscpe
Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

There are a few things we know about health care that are true for everyone. For one thing, it's expensive. It's a nearly $3 trillion industry in the U.S.  Also, it's not easy to do well.

Charleston SC shooting suspect
Charleston Police Department/NPR

Earl Holt III, a former member of the St. Louis School Board who figured in a controversy 25 years ago over his ties to a white-rights group, is in the spotlight again over accusations that his writings influenced the actions of Dylann Roof, the suspect in last week’s murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church.

Jacob Lawrence. The Migration Series. 1940-41. Panel 22.
Courtesy of Museum of Modern Art

Harlem Renaissance painter Jacob Lawrence created his Great Migration Series 74 years ago, but his frank depiction of those events and the African-American experience of the time could be about current events in St. Louis and the United States. And as artists look to conceptualize what happened in Ferguson, they would do well to study Lawrence.

(From Left) Seckman Senior High School Kyle Edwards, Hazelwood East seniors Justin Mason and Teanna Bass pushed their tables together and created the winning idea for bridging racial divides in St. Louis.
Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

 

Many schools in the St. Louis Region are wrapping  up their last few weeks of class. For some  the school year was shaped by the August shooting death of Michael Brown, an incident which left many students and adults wondering how they could bridge the racial divide in the region. One solution a group of students came up with: a school exchange program.

From bottom left: St. Louis area residents Bala Anant, Will Johnson, Derrick Hopgood and his daughter Skylyn. Anne Cody, Lisa Heimberger and Brandy Bold.
Photo of Gateway Arch from Francisco Diez | Flickr, additional photos from Joseph Leahy and Kaitlyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

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Let’s be honest, talking about race can be tough — even nerve-racking for some.  

Often the conversation comes with trap doors leading to potentially awkward moments. It’s that fear of a misstep, perhaps, that nudges people into sidestepping clear language about race.

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area is filled with open wounds. That’s how Affton resident Peggy Keilholz put it when she stepped to the microphone during public comment at Wednesday’s Ferguson Commission meeting.

“Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown Jr. That is a fact which no one disputes,” Keilholz said. “No matter what the criminal justice or civil justice system does or does not do, the death of Michael Brown Jr. is a wound which needs to be healed. Some people who were not peaceful protestors hurled insults, spit and other objects at law enforcement personnel. This is a wound which needs to be healed.”

Will Rivers and Brandon King on the scene at the race summit
Courtesy Jane Bannester / Ritneour High School.

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Now that we've looked at the jigsaw puzzle of St. Louis County, we consider the children. In a place where people from different backgrounds — and especially different races — seldom live next to each other, we ask the question: What does that mean for kids?

Race is a social concept, not a scientific one.

“Biology shows us there are no real races in the world,” Washington University physical anthropology professor Robert Wald Sussman told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. “Humans are just humans, basically.”

Sussman explores how religion, pseudo-science and prejudice have been used since the Spanish Inquisition to promote racism, eugenics and anti-immigration policies in his book “The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea.”

Police supporters Cindy and Jeff Robinson listen as a group of Ferguson protesters talk about what it's like to be black in America. Cindy Robinson said they wanted to talk because everyone was yelling and communication has to start somewhere.
Camille Phillips | St.Louis Public Radio

Conversations about race shouldn’t be uncomfortable. It should be like falling in love, said Amy Hunter, director of racial justice at the YWCA of Metro St. Louis.

Fox Smith and Ben Nordstrom star in White to Gray.
John Lamb

Forty-eight hours after the ocean liner S.S. Lurline left Honolulu for San Francisco, the sun rose on “a day that will live in infamy.” In a new drama based on this real-life voyage that began two days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a young couple is caught in the crossfire.

David Price outsmarted those who tried to derail his career at Monsanto.
Wendy Todd | St. Louis Public Radio

This is the third of a three-part series of essays that explore the experiences of three African Americans in corporate America.

“If you are a black person, and you chose to be great at something, choosing to pursue a leadership career in business is the hardest thing you can choose to do,”

Those are the words of David Price, who faced significant racial challenges in his career as an engineer turned corporate executive.

Michael Castro
Ros Crenshaw

This Saturday, St. Louis’ first Poet Laureate Michael Castro will publicly read his first official poem, commemorating the city’s 250th birthday.The reading will take place at a coronation ceremony from 3-5 p.m. at the Regional Arts Commission, 6128 Delmar Blvd.

Laurna Godwin says education has been key to her success.
St. Louis Public Radio | Wendy Todd

This is the second of a three-part series of essays that explore the experiences of three African Americans in corporate America.

Laurna Godwin is the co-founder and co-owner of Vector Communications, a public engagement, communications agency. She wasn’t always a business owner. She transitioned into that role after spending nearly 20 years in broadcast journalism. 

Instead of focusing on race in the workplace, Gene R. Todd believes one’s energy is better spent on being better than the competition.
St. Louis Public Radio | Wendy Todd

This is the first of a three-part series of personal essays exploring the experiences of three African Americans in corporate America.

For many, being black in corporate America is akin to playing professional football in the mud ... with no helmet ... wearing Keds.

It can be a head-spinning experience, rife with racial and political pitfalls that center around one thing that cannot be changed: race. These racial issues can impact a person’s career trajectory, earning potential and overall security of one’s life.

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Martin Luther King once said that "it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is 11 o'clock on Sunday morning."

Rev. Dietra Wise Baker says it still is, which is why Baker and more than 100 people from churches across St. Louis gathered to talk about race on Sunday. The event was the first in a series of Sacred Conversation About Race.

“The church has work to do on itself as it tries to call moral and ethical standards to the community and point the finger ...” she said. “We have to be on the road before we can invite people along for the journey.”

Sam Durant's “Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington, D.C.,” 2005  Kemper
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Kemper Museum is hoping an exhibit of sculptures calling for more monuments dedicated to Native Americans at The National Mall in Washington, D.C., will build community engagement over the issue of Native American representation in American culture.

“We really hope to begin a dialogue, taking this work as a point of departure, with the Native American community,” said Kemper director Sabine Eckman.

The YWCA has been involved in social justice issues for about 150 years, but many people still don’t know the organization’s mission, CEO Dara Richardson-Heron said.

“At the YWCA, we know that we cannot rest until racial, social and gender justice become a reality,” she told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

St. Louis lawyer Marie Kenyon discusses her new role leading the Archdiocese of St. Louis' Peace and Justice Commission with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Last week, St. Louis attorney Marie Kenyon was named the director of the Archdiocese of St. Louis’ new Peace and Justice Commission.

The issues Kenyon expects to take on with that commission, including poverty, race and education, are the same issues she has dealt with as a lawyer.

Reena Hajat Carroll, executive director of the Diversity Awareness Partnership, says the number of diversity training requests have "been crazy."
Provided by the Diversity Awareness Partnership

Many older Americans were introduced to their first interracial couple in 1967 by the Sidney Poitier classic featuring what was then a shocking pairing, on-screen or off. 

But today, especially when even same-sex interracial couples can marry in St. Louis, we don’t care who’s coming to dinner — right?

Yemi Akande-Bartsch
Provided by FOCUS

In the aftermath of Ferguson, voices in our region have called for many things – for peace, for justice, for dialogue, for answers, for change, for healing. The issues at hand are complex, which makes the call for leadership all that much greater.

Our frustration and sadness over what is still lacking or broken should not overshadow our gratitude for what we do have, or our motivation to make things better for our neighbor and region. One of the ways in which we can begin to do that is to build community and trust, one conversation at a time.

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