Last week, two key events in the arena of civil rights took place within days of each other, though one received much more attention than the other. On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released a stinging report on the practices of the Ferguson, Missouri police department. Three days before, a presidential task force submitted a report offering recommendations for building trust between communities and the police. Here in Michigan, a sustained effort to create that sense of trust has been quietly underway for years.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This interview has been edited from its original airing on 90.5 FM and AM 870 WKAR.
He was born in Harlem, but he had a voice that came straight from Haiti. He’s won three of the entertainment industry’s Big Four: three Grammys, an Emmy and a Tony. A star of the stage and the studio, and a confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He's the legendary Harry Belafonte. Today, he’ll speak at Michigan State University about his passion for civil rights.
The Wharton Center at Michigan State University is preparing to host its next theatrical production this weekend. “Master Harold and the Boys” by Athol Fugard is a story of friendship, racism, and hope. The play will be performed Friday and Saturday at Wharton Center.
To longtime NPR listeners, Michele Norris is a familiar voice. She’s the former co-host of All Things Considered, and is the curator of the Race Card Project. Her memoir, “The Grace of Silence,” is one of the offerings in the most recent “One Book, One Community” program.
It’s back to school week for thousands of students at Michigan State University. In between moving into their dorm rooms and finding their way around campus, freshmen have been reading this year’s “One Book, One Community” selection. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia has written a graphic novel called “March: Book One.”
Lewis was in East Lansing Monday to speak to MSU freshmen and to meet members of the community. Current State's Kevin Lavery spent a few minutes with the civil rights icon.
Michael Brown is being laid to rest today in Ferguson, Missouri, 16 days after the young African-American was killed by a white police officer. Unrest that was the rule in the days following the shooting has abated in the St. Louis suburb, but a host of critical questions remain unanswered.
Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. George Zimmerman shot the unarmed teenager while on a neighborhood watch patrol. Claiming self defense under Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law, Zimmerman was ultimately acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges. Attorney Benjamin Crump has represented the interests of Martin’s family. He has a speaking engagement tonight in Lansing.
Housing discrimination is often difficult to even notice, much less prove. Landlords who don’t want to rent to someone based on their race, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation many times have what seem like legitimate excuses that are often delivered with a “smile and a handshake.”
Mass media is often criticized for its lack of diversity and stereotypical portrayals. Shilpa Davé, Assistant Professor in American Studies and Media Studies at the University of Virginia, says those criticisms often stem from a black and white view of race in America, leaving out important parts of the U.S. cultural landscape such as Asian Americans.
Jalopnik's Aaron Foley singles out this ad for the Toyota Prius as an example of the auto industry's stereotypical marketing to minorities.
Target marketing is nothing new. From their cleaning products to fast food to pick-up trucks, companies have been directing their advertising at certain segments of the population for ages. But when does target marketing cross the line from just good commerce into perpetuating stereotypes about certain groups in our society?
Aaron Foley, a Detroit-based writer for Jalopnik – Gawker Media’s popular blog on cars – had a post on the subject last Friday in which he wrote, “As a minority, it’s borderline insulting that automakers are over-thinking this.” He says that the auto manufacturers are particularly egregious offenders of using stereotypes to market their products to minorities. He joins us to elaborate.
The last few years have brought significant changes to the city of Detroit. A financial emergency was declared, and despite opposition from residents and the city council, a financial manager was appointed. And just this month, Mayor Dave Bing announced he would step down from office at the end of his term—and a crowded field of new candidates announced their intentions.
Organizers in Lansing are counting down to April, when the city will hold its inaugural marathon.
The Lansing Marathon will take place April 22 and cover a standard 26.2 mile course. The race will start outside the Accident Fund Insurance building in downtown Lansing, cross into East Lansing near Michigan State University, turn south to Holt, back into Lansing via Potter Park and end at the Capitol. Race director Owen Anderson says he's studied marathons in similarly sized communities, and finds they bring strong economic benefits.