Race Relations

The Brian Lehrer Show

Starbucks Takes on Dark, Brewing Racism

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates and Forbes' Barbara Thau discuss Starbucks’ latest campaign to tackle social issues, “Race Together,” an initiative aimed at sparking conversations about race.

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Studio 360

John Ridley’s “American Crime” Breaks the Mold of Crime Shows

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ridley won an Oscar for writing “12 Years a Slave.” Now he’s back with a new series that takes a hard look at race and justice in the present.


The Brian Lehrer Show

Christiane Amanpour; ISIS Supporters in Brookyn; Sylvia's in Harlem

Friday, February 27, 2015

Christiane Amanpour discusses the latest on ISIS, plus Brooklyn men had plans to help the group; Cynthia Nixon's new play; our small biz series continues with Sylvia's; & Confucius 101.


NYC Chancellor Offers Educators Guidance on Garner Case

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Chancellor Carmen Fariña suggested ways to make a "teachable moment" out of the Eric Garner case, and to make a safe space for students to express their feelings.
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The Takeaway

Ferguson & Gov. Jay Nixon's Leadership Crisis

Thursday, November 20, 2014

State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal represents an area that includes Ferguson, Missouri. She says that Gov. Jay Nixon is mishandling the growing crisis at the center of his state.

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The Takeaway

In St. Louis, A Long & Troubled Past with Race

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

As Ferguson, Missouri remains on edge surrounding the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old killed by a police officer over the weekend, one professor provides a look at St. Louis's long dark history with race relations.

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The Takeaway

Racist Comments Reverberate Across NBA

Monday, April 28, 2014

The NBA is dealing with the fallout of some harsh news after audio has revealed Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling reportedly making a myriad of racist remarks to his girlfriend.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Racial Politics of the Pistorius Trial

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Race relations are still fraught in South Africa today, 20 years after apartheid ended. Margie Orford, South African novelist and journalist, and Lisa Bloom, legal analyst for, discuss the Pistorius trial through this lens and explain why the runner is using his fear of the "unknown black intruder" as his defense against the charges that he murdered his girlfriend. Bloom is also the author of Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Learning to be Black in America

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose novel Americanah profiles a young Nigerian immigrant's culture shock in the U.S., talks about being African in America.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

How Hard are Interracial Friendships in 2013?

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

How hard are interracial friendships in 2013? How important is having friends from across the color divide to solving racial issues? Baratunde Thurston, CEO of Cultivated Wit and author of How to Be Black; and Tanner Colby, author of Some of My Best Friends are Black preview their event this week with Soledad O'Brien, discussing race, identity, and the persistent color line.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

"I Have A Dream" 50 Years Later

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (Simon & Schuster), joins us to look back on the 50 years of civil rights history since the March on Washington.

Comments [32]

It's A Free Blog

Opinion: Hey Homophobes, It's Game Over after the NFL Dustup

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Let me preface this by saying that if the Baltimore Ravens stadium were on fire, and I had just finished drinking a six pack of beer, as a Redskins fan I would do nothing to help put the fire out.

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It's A Free Country ®

The 5 Boos Mitt Romney Heard During His NAACP Speech

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mitt Romney told the NAACP Wednesday morning, "If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him." The response was mixed.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Criminal or Victim?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation, explores the question of crime and victimhood for poor black women in abusive relationships.

Comments [7]

Transportation Nation

Will Walker's Wisconsin Win Mean No Milwaukee Streetcar?

Monday, June 11, 2012

A rendering of a Milwaukee streetcar, from

Governor Scott Walker’s triumph in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall election seems to vindicate yet again his anti-rail campaign strategy. Supporters of the Millwaukee streetcar, his latest punching bag, must be worried now that Walker will make their pet project the next piece of trophy taxidermy on his office wall, right beside the high speed “boondoggle train to Madison.”

If we’ve learned anything these last few years it’s that an empowered Governor can do a lot to frustrate local wishes, be they for a commuter rail tunnel, a potentially profitable high speed train line, or a cherished lack of interstate highway.  But there’s reason to think Walker might be powerless to stop the streetcar plan, even if he wanted to do so.

A year ago, before the recall campaigning, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran a thorough piece elucidating one possible reason the Republican Governor wasn’t making a big deal of the streetcar at the time:

A 10-year-old civil rights settlement could explain the governor's reticence.

That deal prohibits the state from blocking the streetcar project, according to a top federal transportation official and an attorney involved in the settlement.

Faced with allegations that it was discriminating against urban minorities by favoring freeways over light rail, the state agreed in November 2000 to cooperate with the Milwaukee Connector study and to incorporate its recommendations into the state's long-term transportation plans. That study eventually spawned the streetcar.

(For more in-depth reporting and context on the historical confluence of race and transit, listen to Transportation Nation’s Back of the Bus documentary)

We reached John Norquist, the President of the Congress for the New Urbanism, who was mayor of Milwaukee at the time of the agreement. He agreed that it wouldn’t be possible for the streetcar funding to be re-purposed without the consent of the mayor, which seems unlikely since Mayor Tom Barrett was Walker’s recall opponent. “Walker can’t take the money. It’s a joint agreement,” Norquist said. “If Barrett doesn’t agree to move the money, then the money stays where it is.”

But keeping the funding safe for one project shouldn’t be the end of the story, Norquist said. “I think the transit advocates in Milwaukee need to attack the wasteful road projects that Walker’s engaged in, the boondoggle of widening Interstate 94 to eight lanes between Milwaukee and the Illinois state boundary. That’s something like 4 billion dollars. Just to go from six to eight lanes.”

(Repeated calls and e-mails to Walker's Office were not returned.)

Agreeing with certain regretful comments made by Wisconsin State Representative Brett Hulsey to Transportation Nation last week, Norquist said that the Democrats and pro-train advocates were too timid and passive in the face of Walker’s barrage of criticism. “They need to have an intellectual theory behind what they’re doing. We did this back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. We threw out a bunch of pro-highway legislators in Milwaukee, and a bunch of us got elected on an anti-freeway campaign. We killed all three pending freeways in Milwaukee.” The streetcar money originally came from funds returned for the unbuilt Stadium North Freeway.  “Originally it was $500 million. And the state DOT has been trying to steal it ever since.”

Since those anti-freeway heyday that brought him into power, the pendulum has swung the other way, he says, largely because of racial fears tied to transit in Wisconsin. “This last election Walker ran against the city, tried to wrap the fear about the big city around Barrett’s neck,” Norquist observed. “It’s all very hardcore. They treat transit like it’s a welfare queen sashaying down a welfare promenade.”

But he also thinks that attitude might soon run its course. “I think Walker’s attitude still works because the a lot of those post-war generation are still voting their fears about the city and there’s still a lot of them around,” he said. “But it’s about to change. Young people—the Millenials—like urban place, and they don’t have a negative attitude toward transit.” In 1970, there were nine cities in the nation with rail transit systems, he pointed out, while today, some forty cities have it, including many in sun belt. “I think Walker will be one of the last of the people that are able to use transit as a wedge issue.”


Matt Dellinger is the author of the book Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway. You can follow him on Twitter.

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The Takeaway

Race Dialogue Should Be Less About Conflict, More About Peace

Friday, May 18, 2012

Celeste Headlee, co-host of The Takeaway, speaks at the National Race Amity Conference in Boston today. Richard Thomas, professor emeritus of history at Michigan State University is also talking at the conference. He’s the creator of the race relations concept, "The Other Tradition," which focuses on the efforts of those who, during times of racial conflict, have worked across racial lines to promote friendship and peace. William Smith is the founding executive director of the National Center for Race Amity, based at Wheelock College in Boston, and is the organizer of the annual National Race Amity Conference.

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The Takeaway

Gated Communities, Civility and Crime

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Among Florida cities, Sanford has a remarkable amount of green space. As WMFE reporter Matthew Peddie noted for WNYC’s Transportation Nation blog, Sanford has spent more than $20 million in the last two decades creating more than 30 parks and green spaces. However, Sanford is also notable for being home to numerous gated communities — like The Retreat at Twin Lakes, the neighborhood where 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked back from 7-Eleven.

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Transportation Nation

Minnesota Light Rail:Politics and Racial Strife

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

(Minnesota Public Radio, Laura Yuen, May 5) The final two installments in Minnesota Public Radio's in-depth look at the new light rail line examine the politics and the racial ramifications of building the new line. View a slide show, and listen here.

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