WXXI AM News

race

A new art series called "At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice" is exploring themes of racial justice. One of the installations is called "Black Magic Slays the Magical Negro." What is the Magical Negro? The concept, largely credited to Spike Lee, describes one black character in art or film that is designed as a savior – saving white people or the white race. The concept shows up in politics too; recent calls for Oprah and Michelle Obama are examples.

This hour, we discuss the concept, and how the art series can spark community conversations. Our guests:

Often when we talk about race, we hear from scholars, professors, people trained to talk about it. And that is certainly helpful.

On Wednesday night, a pair of white Rochesterians will host a discussion that aims to "assist us white folks free ourselves from the awkwardness we often encounter around the topic." The presentation is called "Exploring the Territory: White People Look at Race and Racism." It will be held at Starbridge Inc. at 1650 South Avenue in Rochester from 7-9 p.m. (to register, call 585-224-7238). We discuss what it's all about. Our guests:

We welcome Dennis Parker, director of the ACLU Racial Justice Program. He's in town to visit the College at Brockport.

On Connections, Parker talks to us about race in the era of video cameras. He addresses how "evidence of discrimination has launched a new form of civil rights movement, including the creation of grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter." In studio:

We'll talk race and American culture with Gerald Early, a scholar, professor, and a cultural critic. Early will come to Rochester on Thursday to help open the new Humanities Center at the University of Rochester. We'll talk with him about his research and writing, and we'll preview his Thursday presentation, which will center on his research on the African-American community in Philadelphia. Also joining us will be Joan Rubin, history professor and the interim director of the new Humanities Center.

David Roediger is considered one of the leading voices in the public discussion of white privilege or, as he prefers to call it, "white advantage." Roediger is a historian who has examined race throughout American history, including in his book, The Wages of Whiteness. Roediger visited Hobart & William Smith to speak to students about race, American history, and the recent events related to police / community relations. 

We open the conversation with Whitney Dow, director of the Whiteness Project, a multimedia documentary created in Buffalo. In the documentary, Dow talked with people about what it means to be white. Then we talk more about the impact of this project with Ann Johnson of ACT Rochester and the Rochester Area Community Foundation

In this hour, we continue the discussion of the 50th anniversary of the race riots in Rochester. Gap Mangione, whose family owned a business in Rochester at the time, joins our panel, along with RIT professor John Klofas and Darryl Porter, who was involved in the riot. We welcome Tariq Spence of WDKX to help lead the discussion with our guests and listeners.

The JCC is getting ready to launch their performance of "Hairspray" to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the race riots. We'll talk about inclusion on all levels -- and break down why the film became a cult classic despite a modest box office performance -- with Ralp Meranto of the JCC, Norma Holland from 13WHAM, and Andrea Holland from Holland Communications.