[This radio broadcast of This American Life last weekend made me angry. And sad. And frustrated. And agitated. At one point I was literally yelling at it. By the end I was left wondering how to move forward in our nation. Given the givens (I don’t have a magic wand to erase history and build a world free from racism), how to we create a country that sees integration as a worthy goal, diversity as valuable, and education not as a zero-sum game but as a means of lifting all boats? How do we convince scared white parents that integration is better for everyone? How to we project and empower the student voices? How do we discuss this and project this message beyond the bubble of agreement? How do we elect officials who will champion this project? Do we need Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (a là South Africa)? Particularly in light of the most recent events in Ferguson, MO, where on the anniversary of unspeakable violence against Mike Brown there was MORE violence, just down the road from where this radio story takes place, I am looking for answers. Shout-out to Autumn for recommending this to me and to both her and my mom for providing some much needed follow up conversation. There is a sequel to this episode that I have not had time to listen to yet but have also attached below.]
July 31, 2015
Ira Glass: Nikole Hannah-Jones is an investigative reporter these days at The NewYork Times. We’ve had her here on This American Life before, too. But her first real reporting job was back in 2003.
She was reporting on the schools in Durham, North Carolina. And like most places, there were good schools, and there were bad schools. And at the time, it was the heyday of No Child Left Behind. Durham was working really hard to improve the bad schools…
[But this is radio so you should listen!]