Scotland’s national poet writes for those who’ve been asked ‘where are you from?’

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2016-09-10 21:46Z by Steven

Scotland’s national poet writes for those who’ve been asked ‘where are you from?’

PBS NewsHour
2016-09-08

Jackie Kay is Scotland’s first black national poet. Adopted as a child, much of her poetry and prose speaks to her own experience of not feeling entirely welcome in her own country. “I wrote the poems that I wanted to read and I wrote about the experiences that I wanted to find,” she says. Jeffrey Brown reports.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now a Scottish literary talent whose work on identity and belonging, among other themes, has helped propel her to a unique role and a popular writer there.

Jeffrey Brown has our profile.

JACKIE KAY, Scottish Poet & Novelist: “And this is my country, says the fisherwoman from Jura. Mine, too, says the child from Canna and Iona. Mine, too, says the Brain family. And mine, says the man from the Polish deli.”

JEFFREY BROWN: Jackie Kay wrote her poem “Threshold” for the Scottish Parliament and a special guest, Queen Elizabeth.

JACKIE KAY: Let’s blether some more about doors, revolving doors and sliding doors.

JEFFREY BROWN: In the wake to of the recent Brexit vote to leave the European Union, it was a plea to keep doors and the country open to the outside world. As Scotland’s new national poet, Kay made it personal.

JACKIE KAY: Scotland’s changing faces — look at me!

I like the idea of trying to change the face of Scotland. But, traditionally, when somebody thinks of somebody Scottish, they see a white man with red hair in a kilt and a — and they don’t see me.

JEFFREY BROWN: Jackie is the adopted daughter of John and Helen Kay. Her birth mother Scottish. Her father was then a Nigerian student studying in Scotland.

JACKIE KAY: I was an illegitimate child. And being picked to be a national poet is probably a pretty legitimate thing.

(LAUGHTER)

JEFFREY BROWN: I will say…

Watch the interview here.

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Is there a racial ‘care gap’ in medical treatment?

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2016-07-12 23:31Z by Steven

Is there a racial ‘care gap’ in medical treatment?

PBS News Hour
2016-04-05

A new survey has found implicit biases in medical students that may explain why black patients are sometimes undertreated for pain, with some students believing that black people feel less pain and have thicker skin than white people. For more on the perplexing discovery, Gwen Ifill talks to Dr. David Satin of the University of Minnesota and Dorothy Roberts of the University of Pennsylvania.

GWEN IFILL: A new study finds African-American patients are often treated differently when it comes to medicine and care. The survey of more than 500 people, 400 of them medical students, found implicit bias exists that may help explain why black people are sometimes undertreated for pain.

Among its findings: Medical students believed that African-Americans felt less pain than white patients, and even thought their skin was thicker.

For more on this perplexing discovery, we turn to Dr. David Satin of the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and Dorothy Roberts of the university of Pennsylvania.

Thank you both for joining us.

Dr. Satin, try to describe this disparity for me. Why does this exist? And is it new?

DR. DAVID SATIN, University of Minnesota Medical Center: So, Gwen, we have known that this has been an issue for at least a couple decades.

And every now and then, a study comes out that underscores the need for the field of medicine, and in particular medical education, to do some work and get it right.

So, this is a problem, and it’s been a problem, and hopefully this study will spur on more activity.

GWEN IFILL: Dorothy Roberts, is this a medical problem or a sociological problem?

DOROTHY ROBERTS, University of Pennsylvania: It’s both.

I think what’s really important and fascinating about the study is that it, for the first time, links what we have long known as undertreatment of pain for black patients with doctors, or at least medical students’ false beliefs about biological differences based on race.

And those beliefs, as the study has shown, are widely held by laypeople as well. They’re deeply embedded, longstanding myths about racial difference, especially biological differences between races, which goes back to the very concept that race is a biological difference that is widespread in U.S. society. So it’s sociological, as well as medical…

Read the entire transcript here. Watch the interview here.

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A Ballerina’s Tale

Posted in Arts, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2016-02-09 01:59Z by Steven

A Ballerina’s Tale

By Nelson George | in Dance
Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service
Premieres 2016-02-08

Few dancers reach the highest levels of classical ballet; of that few only a fraction are black women. Against the odds, Misty Copeland has made history by becoming the first African American principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, considered the pinnacle of ballet in the United States. A Ballerina’s Tale is an intimate look at this groundbreaking artist as she breaks through barriers and transcends her art.

For more information, click here.

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“The Illogic of American Racial Categories”

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-07-26 23:06Z by Steven

“The Illogic of American Racial Categories”

Jefferson’s Blood: Thomas Jefferson, his slave & mistress Sally Hemings, their descendants, and the mysterious power of race.
Frontline
Public Broadcasting Service
2000

Paul R. Spickard, Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Excerpted from the chapter “The Illogic of American Racial Categories” in Racially Mixed People in America, Maria P. P. Root, ed., (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1992), 12-23.

In most people’s minds … race is a fundamental organizing principle of human affairs. Everyone has a race, and only one. The races are biologically and characterologically separate one from another, and they are at least potentially in conflict with one another. Race has something to do with blood (today we might say genes), and something to do with skin color, and something to do with the geographical origins of one’s ancestors. According to this way of thinking, people with more than one racial ancestry have a problem, one that can be resolved only by choosing a single racial identity.

It is my contention in this essay, however, that race, while it has some relationship to biology, is not mainly a biological matter. Race is primarily a sociopolitical construct. The sorting of people into this race or that in the modern era has generally been done by powerful groups for the purposes of maintaining and extending their own power. Not only is race something different from what many people have believed it to be, but people of mixed race are not what many people have assumed them to be…

Most systems of categorization divided humankind up into at least red, yellow, black, and white: Native Americans, Asians, Africans, and Europeans. Whether Australian aborigines, Bushmen, and various brown-skinned peoples—Polynesians and Malays, for example—constituted separate races depended on who was doing the categorizing…

Read the entire article here.

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Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2015-06-07 19:00Z by Steven

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)
2002

Richard Wormser, Series producer, Co-writer

Jim Crow was not a person, yet affected the lives of millions of people. Named after a popular 19th-century minstrel song that stereotyped African Americans, “Jim Crow” came to personify the system of government-sanctioned racial oppression and segregation in the United States.

In June 7, 1892, 30-year-old Homer Plessy was jailed for sitting in the “White” car of the East Louisiana Railroad. Plessy could easily pass for white but under Louisiana law, he was considered black despite his light complexion and therefore required to sit in the “Colored” car. He was a Creole of Color, a term used to refer to black persons in New Orleans who traced some of their ancestors to the French, Spanish, and Caribbean settlers of Louisiana before it became part of the United States. When Louisiana passed the Separate Car Act, legally segregating common carriers in 1892, a black civil rights organization decided to challenge the law in the courts. Plessy deliberately sat in the white section and identified himself as black. He was arrested and the case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Plessy’s lawyer argued that the Separate Car Act violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. In 1896, the Supreme Court of the United States heard the case and held the Louisiana segregation statute…

Read the entire article here.

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Lacey Schwartz Unearths Family Secrets in ‘Little White Lie’

Posted in Audio, Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Interviews, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States on 2015-04-14 16:52Z by Steven

Lacey Schwartz Unearths Family Secrets in ‘Little White Lie’

KCRW 89.9 MHz FM
Santa Monica, California
2015-04-13

Kim Masters, Host

Kaitlin Parker, Producer

Lacey Schwartz grew up thinking she was white. When her college labeled her a black student based on a photograph, she knew she had to get some explanations from her family. Those conversations formed the foundation of her new PBS documentary Little White Lie. She shares how she convinced her parents to talk about tough topics on camera and why documentaries like hers are in danger of being pushed out of primetime on some PBS stations.

Listen to the episode (00:29:07) here. Download the episode here.

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Little White Lie

Posted in Autobiography, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Passing, Religion, United States, Videos on 2015-03-24 00:08Z by Steven

Little White Lie

Independent Lens
Public Broadcasting Service
Monday, 2015-03-23, 22:00 EDT (21:00 CDT) (check schedule here)

Little White Lie tells Lacey Schwartz’s story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family’s explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather. But when her parents abruptly split, her gut starts to tell her something different.

At age 18, she finally confronts her mother and learns the truth: her biological father was not the man who raised her, but an African American man named Rodney with whom her mother had had an affair. Afraid of losing her relationship with her parents, Lacey doesn’t openly acknowledge her newly discovered black identity with her white family. When her biological father dies shortly before Lacey’s 30th birthday, the family secret can stay hidden no longer. Following the funeral, Lacey begins a quest to reconcile the hidden pieces of her life and heal her relationship with the only father she ever knew.

Schwartz pieces together her family history and the story of her dual identity using home videos, archival footage, interviews, and episodes from her own life. Little White Lie is a personal documentary about the legacy of family secrets, denial, and redemption.

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Episode Six: A More Perfect Union

Posted in Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Videos on 2014-11-09 17:53Z by Steven

Episode Six: A More Perfect Union

The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.)
Public Broadcasting Service
Tuesdays, 2013-10-22 through 2013-11-26, 20:00-21:00 ET

From Black Power to Black President

By 1968, the Civil Rights movement had achieved stunning victories, in the courts and in the Congress. But would African Americans finally be allowed to achieve genuine racial equality? Episode Six, A More Perfect Union (1968-2013), looks at the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the rise of the Black Panthers and Black Power movement.  The decline of cities that African Americans had settled in since the Great Migration, the growth of a black middle class, the vicious beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles and the ascent of Barack Obama from Illinois senator to the presidency of the United States are all addressed in the final episode of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. Revisit images of the Black is Beautiful movement and hear commentary from former Black Panther Party member Kathleen Cleaver, former Secretary of State Colin H. Powell, musician Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and many more…

For more information, click here.

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Born Champions [Full Episode]

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Videos on 2014-10-02 01:45Z by Steven

Born Champions [Full Episode]

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
2014-09-30

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Host and Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

Three of America’s greatest athletes, whose determination and love of sports were deeply shaped by their families, were all cut off from their true origins. Billie Jean King learns the story of her grandmother. Derek Jeter confronts his ancestors’ lives as slaves. Rebecca Lobo finds out that her Spanish ancestor fought side by side with a famous revolutionary.

Watch the full episode here.

Partial Transcript below:

GATES: I’M HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. WELCOME TO FINDING YOUR ROOTS.

TONIGHT, WE REVEAL THE ANCESTRY OF THREE OF AMERICA’S GREATEST ATHLETES: TENNIS LEGEND BILLIE JEAN KING, YANKEES ALL-STAR DEREK JETER, AND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PIONEER REBECCA LOBO… ATHLETES WHOSE PURPOSE AND DRIVE WERE PROFOUNDLY SHAPED BY THEIR FAMILIES.

TO DISCOVER THEIR ANCESTORS, WE’VE USED EVERY TOOL AVAILABLE…

GENEALOGISTS HELPED STITCH TOGETHER THE PAST USING THE PAPER TRAIL THEIR FAMILIES LEFT BEHIND, WHILE GENETICISTS UTILIZED THE LATEST ADVANCES IN DNA ANALYSIS TO REVEAL SECRETS HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD.

GATES: The answers are in this book…

GATES VO: AND WE’VE COMPILED EVERYTHING INTO A BOOK OF LIFE, A RECORD OF ALL OF OUR DISCOVERIES…

LOBO: I mean it’s just amazing to see her handwriting!

JETER: That’s unbelievable… all the way back to 1605!

BILLIE JEAN KING: This is from a bible?  Family…we have a family bible?

GATES: Mhm.

BILLIE JEAN KING: This (audio cuts off 1:01:04:12) is fantastic!

GATES: AS WE TRACE BILLIE JEAN, DEREK, AND REBECCA’S ROOTS, WE’LL EXPLORE HOW THEY BECAME CHAMPIONS, DID THEY COME TO GREATNESS THROUGH HARD WORK AND INDIVIDUAL EFFORT? IS THEIR TALENT SIMPLY ENCODED IN THEIR GENES? COULD IT BE, THESE THREE ATHLETES WERE MODELED IN WAYS THEY NEVER COULD HAVE IMAGINED? BY THE LIVES OF THEIR ANCESTORS.

ROOTS TITLE SEQUENCE…

…GATES VO: DEREK’S FATHER, CHARLES JETER, IS AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND HIS MOTHER, DOROTHY CONNORS, IS OF IRISH DESCENT. IT WASN’T EASY BEING THE CHILD OF A MIXED MARRIAGE. WHEN DEREK WAS YOUNG, HE OFTEN HAD TO FACE UNWANTED ATTENTION.

JETER: You know back in the day, yeah you’d get some second glances, people trying to figure out what the dynamic is there. And if you go somewhere with both of them, obviously you get some stares.

GATES: Mhm.

JETER: My parents tried to explain to us that it’s just people’s ignorance they’re not used to seeing it.

GATES: Did your parents take any flack?

JETER: I think when you’re a young child, I think your parents don’t necessarily tell you how difficult it was…

GATES: Yeah.

JETER: …on them. So, you know, a lot of their troubles that they went through, I’m sure they sheltered us from it.

GATES:  So when people come up to you and say, you know, “What are you?” what do you say?

JETER:  Black and Irish…

GATES: Black and Irish, that’s what you say?

JETER: Yeah, that’s, that’s what I believe I am but I don’t know much about my history…

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Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2014-10-01 14:51Z by Steven

Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series

University of North Carolina Press
September 2014
352 pages
6.125 x 9.25, index
Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4696-1800-5

Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research
Harvard University

Who are we, and where do we come from? The fundamental drive to answer these questions is at the heart of Finding Your Roots, the companion book to the PBS documentary series seen by 30 million people. As Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. shows us, the tools of cutting-edge genomics and deep genealogical research now allow us to learn more about our roots, looking further back in time than ever before. Gates’s investigations take on the personal and genealogical histories of more than twenty luminaries, including United States Congressman John Lewis, actor Robert Downey Jr., CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, President of the “Becoming American Institute” Linda Chavez, and comedian Margaret Cho. Interwoven with their moving stories of immigration, assimilation, strife, and success, Gates provides practical information for amateur genealogists just beginning archival research on their own families’ roots, and he details the advances in genetic research now available to the public. The result is an illuminating exploration of who we are, how we lost track of our roots, and how we can find them again.

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